Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Convert Baptisms per Mission in the United States

Converts Baptisms per Mission by State: 2012

Convert Baptisms by mission us

Using my data on convert baptisms per state presented in “Convert, Child of Record Baptisms and Deaths for the Unites States in 2012“ and data on missions per state presented in the Mormon Newsroom, I calculated the number of convert baptisms per mission for each state.  The map “Converts Baptisms per Mission per State: 2012” visually presents the data shown in the table that follows the descriptive portion of the post.  The color code configuration rescaled data on estimated convert baptisms from zero to one and assigned colors from yellow to dark red. 

I encountered only one problem in organizing and estimating the data.  Some states did not have any missions and yet they have missionaries assigned from other states.  I used maps states from showing the missions that were active in each state.  My strategy was simple.  If a mission from one state provided missionaries to another, I subtracted out .2 missions (or .1)  from the mission state and added .2 missions (or .1) to the dependent state.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Convert, Child of Record Baptisms and Deaths for the Unites States in 2012

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides changes in membership in various locations on an annual basis.  The net change in membership is calculated subtracting last year’s membership from this year’s.  Given the change in membership, I used state level demographic data on the percentage of eight year olds and death rates for 2012 to estimate child of record baptisms, convert baptisms and deaths by state for the same year.  My method is mechanical rather that statistical so I cannot include statistical tests for the accuracy of my estimates.  In short, they are an educated guess.

Convert Baptisms by State. 

Convert Baptisms US

For those who continue reading after my disclosure, the table “Net Members by Child Baptisms, Convert Baptisms and Deaths” that follows the narrative section of the post contains my estimates.  The color code configuration rescaled data on estimated convert baptisms from zero to one and assigned colors from yellow to dark red.  Covert baptisms seem to depend on the number of members and the population of a state.  The five states with the most convert baptisms in 2012 were California, Texas, Arizona, Utah and Washington all have large number of members and or large populations.    

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Growth in Latter-day Saints per 100 in the USA: 1977-2012

Since its forced exodus from Nauvoo, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been associated Utah.  From Utah, the Church sent missionaries throughout the world to preach the restored gospel with considerable success but Utah remains the crown jewel.  It has more members than any country excluding the United States and more than twice as many members than any other state.  Stakes cover the state and temples dot the land.  As acceptance of the Church increased and economic opportunities opened, members left their refuge in Utah for other new homes, mixing with converts to bring growth in the Church in areas previously designated as the mission field.  In this post, I will describe dramatic growth in the Church outside of Utah and the Intermountain West by examining the growth in members per 100 between 1977 and 2012, repeat my hypothesis of member osmosis, and discuss areas of future research.

Members per 100: 2012                        Members per 100: 1977

Us density 2012US Saints per hundred

The map “Members per 100: 2012 uses the usual color code configuration with member per 100 rescaled from zero to one and colors from yellow to dark red.  The map confirms what we know, that Utah and the intermountain states are more densely populated with members of the Church.  Juxtaposed to the map, “Members per 100: 1977,” little seems to have changed but the map hides more than it reveals due to high concentration of members in Utah and the low concentration in the east.  A doubling or even tripling of the members per 100 in states east of the Rocky Mountains does not cause a color variation large enough to be easily seen. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mormon and Catholic Finances: An Introduction

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is often referred to as America’s most prosperous religion, a term that is often left undefined and almost impossible to measure.  As a first effort to quantify the Mormon Church finances, I compare a statement from “Time Magazine” (“Mormons Inc.: The Secret of America's Most Prosperous Religion”), as quoted by the AP and posted to “Catholic Answers Forums.”

Time lists the church's assets as $12 billion in U.S. meeting houses and temples; $5 billion in meeting houses and temples in foreign countries; $6 billion in unspecified investments; $5 billion in ranch and farm real estate and $1 billion in "schools, etc."

Of its annual income of $5.9 billion, the vast majority -- $5.3 billion -- comes from tithing. Of that, $4.9 billion comes from church members living in the United States.

“The Economist” describes the financial position of the Catholic Church (“The Catholic church in America: Earthly concerns,” The Economist, Aug 18th 2012.)

The Economist estimates that annual spending by the church and entities owned by the church was around $170 billion in 2010 (the church does not release such figures). We think 57% of this goes on health-care networks, followed by 28% on colleges, with parish and diocesan day-to-day operations accounting for just 6% and national charitable activities just 2.7% (see chart). In total, Catholic institutions employ over 1m people, reckons Fred Gluck, a former McKinsey managing partner and co-founder of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, a lay organisation seeking to improve the way the church is run. For purposes of secular comparison, in 2010 General Electric’s revenue was $150 billion and Walmart employed roughly 2m people.

Growth in Membership by State: 1977-2012

Membership in 20012                              Membership in 1977
US Membership 2012US membership 1977
The two color coded maps show membership by state in 2012 and 1977.  The color coding was set to show the state with the greatest membership, regardless of the year, as a deep red bordering on black and the state with the smallest membership as bright yellow.  The map for 2012 is clearly darker than the map for 1977 implying a large increase in membership.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reports that membership increased from 2,487,980 to 6,319,031 or 155% for the period. 

Growth bridges the gap between membership in 1977 and membership today.  What state has shown the highest rate of percentage growth since 1977?  It’s Texas followed by Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee, Rhode Island and New York.  The states that have shown the slowest rate of growth are Wyoming, West Virginia, Idaho, Montana, California, Utah and Oregon.   Click on the “Read More” button to view a complete list of growth and rank by state.

One observation that can be made from the maps and the table is that states that experienced high growth tended to have low initial memberships and states with low growth tend to be in traditionally Mormon states like Utah, California, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming, In “Church Growth by State,” I proposed a hypothesis that states that membership moves from states densely populated with Church members to states less densely populated.  A future post will explore the change in the Church membership as a percent of state population.  Another with attempt to breakdown growth between convert and child of record baptisms.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Convert and Member of Record Baptisms, and Deaths

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reports convert baptism for the world (April Conference Statistical Reports), but does not break down the numbers by smaller geographic units like countries, states, missions or stakes.  The researcher in me recoils at this lack of data but the member in me rejoices at the frugality in the expenditure of tithes.  Building on prior work, I use demographic data by country to break down the increase in membership by country into convert baptisms, member of record baptisms and deaths. 
The Church also reports membership by country on an annual basis at the Church Newsroom.  I used that data to calculate the change in membership from 2011 to 2013.  This is the second piece of the puzzle.  The change in membership is equal to child of record baptisms plus convert baptisms less deaths and excommunications.  I used demographic data from the CountryData function of Wolfram’s Mathematica program to estimate proxies for child or record baptisms and deaths.  Excommunications are reported to be a small percentage of the change in membership and, because I could not devise a proxy, I assumed them to be zero.  This will create a slight downward bias in my estimate of child or record births and convert baptisms.
I estimated child baptisms by multiplying the birth rate by the church membership for each country.  Not all children born into the Church will be baptized.  I multiplied the Seminary enrollment rates reported in “Seminary Activity Rates by Country,” to reduce the births to Church members to an estimate of the number of births that were baptized as members.  This number is likely to be a lower bound as death and inactivity grow as members age; initial estimates of child or record baptisms will be too low and convert baptisms, too high.  To summarize, child of record baptisms are estimated multiplying membership by both the birth rate and the Seminary enrollment rate.  Deaths were easier to estimate.  I multiplied church membership by the death rate. 
With the change in membership, child of record baptisms and deaths in hand, I estimated convert baptisms by country.  I then summed my estimate of convert baptisms and found that they exceeded actual convert baptisms.  I then multiplied convert baptisms for each country by a factor of .79114 to produce an estimate of convert baptisms by country that summed to the correct number.  This implies that the number of child of record baptisms or deaths by country was too low.  Using my estimates of convert baptisms, I made a second estimate of child of record baptism by country by multiplying the original estimate until the new estimate plus the estimate of convert baptisms less deaths summed to the correct worldwide total.  The estimates are presented in the table in the second portion of the post.   

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Convert Baptisms and Missionaries

converts to baptisms

Having identified variables that influence the supply for missionaries, and estimated the enrollment rate for seminary, I am ready to move in a new direction, identifying variables that influence the demand for the gospel as measured by the number of convert baptisms.  The data used was provided by “Statistical Reports” given in each April General Conference.  The graph, “Missionaries Serving and Convert Baptisms: 1977-2012” displays the data.  There is a statistically significant relationship between the number of missionaries and the number of convert baptisms.  For those interested in the statistical details, I regressed the number of convert baptisms on the number of missionaries for the entire time period.  Both the intercept term and the slope are statistically significant (2.49162, 3.50198), and the slope has the correct sign; it is positive.  Convert baptisms increases as more missionaries preach the gospel. 

converts to baptisms ratio

The graph, “Convert Baptisms to Missionaries: 1977-2012,” shows the ratio of convert baptisms divided by then number of missionaries. The ratio has declined over the time period for which I have data.  Baptisms are harder to come by but why? 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Good News for Future Missionaries in Need of a Passport

According to abcNEWS, “Good News for Travelers: You Can Still Get a Passport, Contact Embassies Despite Government Shutdown.”

The U.S. will continue to issue passports, even after the federal government has shut down, the State Department said Monday. Passports are funded by the fees paid by applicants, making them immune to budget politics, State Dept. officials said. It doesn’t matter whether Congress funds the government, because passports pay for themselves.