Is the church growing or shrinking?
Overall, it's growing. However, in some places, the growth rate is flat. In others, it is relatively high.
But isn't the rate of growth declining?
Yes. The Church's growth rate has been declining for the past couple of decades, from a growth rate of 5%–10% in the late twentieth century down to a stable growth rate of about 1%–2% in the twenty-first century.
Why has the Church's growth rate been declining?
Religious affiliation has been generally declining in the United States and elsewhere. Nearly all major religious organizations have declined in numbers in the U.S.
Isn't most of the Church growth from children being born into the Church as opposed to converts?
No. For the past decade, the Church has had about a quarter-million convert baptisms each year, with the children of record reported by the Church in the low hundred thousand each year.
Has the Church ever been the "fastest-growing religion"?
Possibly. The U.S. Census Bureau does not collect information on religion, so it's difficult to make comparisons with other religions. The Church says it "makes no statistical comparisons with other churches" and "makes no claim to be the fastest-growing Christian denomination."
What percentage of Church members are "active"?
The best current data from the U.S. General Social Survey indicates about 65% of U.S. members attend church once a week. Worldwide membership activity is estimated to be around 30% from Reaching the Nations: International Church Growth Almanac, an unofficial Church almanac.
How many new converts remain active?
Possibly 20%–50%, according to various third-party studies. However, convert retention rates vary widely by geography and by time measured.
“I am a convert myself and a child of apostates far from the pioneer belt. I have been a member for a year and baptized a friend of mine. As I see it, in a world where activity rates among all faiths decline so steadily, any kind of growth, no matter how small, is impressive.”
- Vincent R.
“I am a convert myself, converting from believing in nothing. I find the way this was presented to be a very fair and objective view. I love the church and it has helped keep me on a productive and healthy path in life. It’s saved my life and blessed my young family”
- Rain G
“As an exmormon, it’s refreshing to see a pro-lds article that doesn’t try to spin the numbers. Thank you.”
- Jack N.
“Just because something is true doesn't equate that the growth rate should follow. My opinion is that we, as people have the choice to follow or not follow true principles. The same is true of persons who pursue education. They believe it is the best course of action for them.”
- Dave B
“Looking at growth in terms of percentages can be misleading. A church with 10 members only needs one new member to show 10% growth while a 16 million member church needs 1.6 million new members to show the same 10% growth.”
- Rusty S
“From a statistical standpoint, the growth rate of most anything will tend to go down the larger the size of the group gets. It goes down in percentages even though the raw numbers may continue increasing. Growth rates are a naturally declining slope by definition.”
- Brad J
“The Bible says: few be there that find it.”
- Nate W
“I love your fair and factual approach to showing this information. The difficulty that a lot of members have is the emphasis of prophets in the past on the correlation between growth and the truth of the church referencing prophecy from Daniel of the stone cut out of the mountain”
- Brian H
“Great article Thanks. I do wish I could feel that affirmation of others accepting what I believe. But my testimony rests on the Savior Jesus Christ and the testimony of Him in the Book of Mormon. The BoM is true, the Savior is real and living. Nothing else really matters.”
- Christopher F
“It actually bothers me that more people don't join the Church. I realize that being true and being popular aren't the same thing, but I also think that all (most?) people are good and rational and since the Gospel is universal, I really wish it was more universally accepted.”