Monday, September 2, 2013

A Comparison of Activity Rates

This morning I posted Seminary Activity rates by country for over 70 countries.  I was straining to find other estimates of activity rates.  After posting my article, I went to one of my favorite websites, “LDS Church Growth” and learned that they had published  the August news letter, in which they link to an article, “Census Data” by Matt Martinich.  The article reports data on religious affiliation according to the national censuses of nine countries and Martinich’s estimates of activity rates for those countries.  He divided the number of people who list LDS affiliation by membership for that country as an estimate of activity;  he does not describe how the estimates were made.  I produced seminary activity rates for eight of the nine countries and they seem to be in the ballpark.  Well, maybe Fiji is a foul ball but it didn’t leave the stands. 

A Comparison of Activity Rates by Country



Cumorah Estimated

Seminary Activity

Australia 2006 46% 25-30% 42.4%
Brazil 2000 26% 25% 24.5%
Chile 2002 20% 12% 18.6%
Fiji 1996 32% 20-30% 42.7%
Ireland 2006 46% 35% 40.0%
Mexico 2000 23% 20-25% 25.8%
New Zealand 2006 45% 35-45% 37.3%
Samoa 36.7% 35-40% 31.4%
Tonga 2006 38% 30-35% 40.4%

Martinich describes the weaknesses of reported census affiliation.

Although census data number among one of the most objective and reliable methods for ascertaining member activity rates, there are several limitations to these data.  First, individual countries vary in who they count as religious affiliates depending on age and family status.  Religious status is identified by the head of the household for the entire family in some censuses.  Children under a certain age are also not reported as religious adherents in some nations, such as children under five in the 2000 Mexican census, whereas children of member families are included in nominal and active membership statistics.  Consequently many active youth may not be counted as Latter-day Saints on the census.  Second, self-affiliation does not ensure active participation in church.  Some inactive or less-active members continue to identify as Latter-day Saints but do not live church teachings and participate in services.  Furthermore, not all active members are self affiliated on the census as is the case with many youth from part-member families.

One other reason for lapsed members not to affiliate with the Church might be added,  In much of Europe, the Church has only obtained the “lower tier” of legal recognition and members might be at a disadvantage in divorce, adoption and even employment.  (Armand L. Mauss, “Can There Be A “Second Harvest”? : Controlling the Costs of Latter-day Saint Membership in Europe”).  Similar de facto and de jure restrictions may exist in Latin and South America.  Unless you are an active member of the Church, there isn’t much of a reason to affiliate with it, driving down the affiliation rate towards the activity rate. 

No comments:

Post a Comment