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Nov 14 2012

JohnLeek.com: Differing Decline Rates Among Jurisdictional Conferences

Original post at http://www.johnleek.com/2012/11/differing-decline-rates-among.html


Yesterday I shared a chart showing where the United Methodist Church is growing or shrinking globally. The question was raised asking if similar data was available on the jurisdictional level.

This represents my best attempt at that:

image from gbhem.org

This table shows membership loss (and growth!) between 1999 and 2004 in American United Methodist Jurisdictions. It's from a report for the GBHEM primarily on changes in clergy.

image from methodistthinker.com
This table shows membership loss between 2005 and 2009 in American United Methodist Jurisdictions. It's from a spreadsheet prepared by Joe Whittemore analyzing changes in representation for General Conference. 

Thankfully there isn't only bad news. For example: there have been clear signs of growth in the Greater New Jersey, Kentucky and North Georgia Conferences. 

This summer I sought to find data on each annual and jurisdictional conference to create an updated chart or spreadsheet, but couldn't find a complete data set. Most of that data is available in the 2012 Annual Conference Reports. Unfortunately some conferences didn't include their membership in these reports and others still haven't been uploaded.


About the author

John Wesley Leek

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2012/11/differing-decline-rates-among-jurisdictional-conferences/

1 comment

  1. Creed Pogue

    There are membership figures available to show that in 1990 the North Central Jurisdiction had 1,819,617 members and that in 2010 it had declined to 1,325,891–a loss of 493,726 or 27%.

    In 1990, the Northeastern Jurisdiction had 1,732,858 members and in 2010 had declined to 1,302,921–a loss of 429,937 or 25%.

    In 1990, the South Central Jurisdiction had 1,869,688 members and in 2010 had declined to 1,725,081–a loss of 144,607 or 8%.

    In 1990, the Southeastern Jurisdiction had 2,894,515 members and in 2010 had declined to 2,857,839–a loss of only 36,676 or 1.3%.

    In 1990, the Western Jurisdiction had 494,329 members and in 2010 had declined to 358,809–a loss of 135,520 or 27%.

    In the USA, the total membership in 1990 was 8,811,007 but by 2010 it had declined to 7,570,541–a loss of 1,240,466 or 14%.

    In 1990, the North Central, Northeastern and Western Jurisdictions combined for a total of 4,046,804. This was 46% of the total membership in the USA. In 2010, those jurisdictions combined for only 2,987,621 members–a loss of 1,059,183 or 26%. They only account for 39% of the total membership in the USA.

    As another comparison, in 1990 the states comprising the North Central, Northeastern and Western Jurisdictions contained 160 million of the 249 million in the USA. The 4 million UMC members in those states represented 2.52% of that population. In 2010 those states contained 191 million people. The less than 3 million members only represented 1.57% of that population.

    However, in 1990, the states comprising the South Central and Southeastern Jurisdictions had a population of 88 million. The 4.76 million UMC members in those states represented 5.4% of the population. In 2010 those states contained 118 million people. The 4.6 million UMC members in those states represented 3.8% of that population.

    Across the USA, UMC members were 3.5% of the population in 1990 but less than 2.5% of the population in 2010.

    In 1990, the North Georgia Annual Conference in the Southeastern Jurisdiction had 273,559 members while the Western Jurisdiction as a whole had 494,329 members. In 2010, the North Georgia Annual Conference had 357,741 members–an INCREASE of 84,182 members or 31%. In 2010, the Western Jurisdiction as a whole had 358,809 members–a decline of 135,520 members or 27%. With the 2012 annual conference report that North Georgia had 358,800 and the annual conferences in the Western Jurisdiction all reporting declines, then the North Georgia Annual Conference is larger than the whole Western Jurisdiction.

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