How, where, and why LDS membership is booming in some places and shrinking in others

Church growth is soaring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other parts of Africa, but numbers are declining in 21 US states.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Latter-day Saint believers stand as Church leaders exit the Conference Center following the morning session of General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022. The church reported that it now has more than 16.8 million members worldwide.

Growth in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rebounded somewhat last year after suffering a pandemic slump in 2020. Total membership of the worldwide faith increased by 0.8% to over 16.8 million in 2021.

Africa has been the leader, accounting for 10 of the 14 fastest growing nations in terms of Latter-day Saint growth over the past two years.

In the United States, membership increased by 0.6% to over 6.7 million from early 2020 to late 2021. South Dakota, Arkansas, and Tennessee grew the fastest, while California, North Dakota, and Washington were the biggest percentage losers. In fact, 21 states plus the District of Columbia saw their membership decline.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

On this week’s show, Matt Martinich, an independent researcher who dutifully tracks these statistics and more for the websites and, discusses the ups and downs and ins and outs of church growth and how membership is booming in some places and dwindles at others.


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Joel McCord

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