Year Zero Numbers

After last week’s blog I’ve had several requests for the numbers the data is based on, so here is membership of the British Methodist Church since the end of the War. Some of the figures are simply straight line interpolated from the 5 year official numbers. I do have figures for all the different branches of Methodism going back to their origins, and for Wesleyan Methodism going back to 1770. If you would like the full raw Excel file then you can download it.

One correction is that I said that Methodism had more than halved since 1984. This is true, but I was just using a rounding for the last 30 years. It’s even worse than that – membership has actually more than halved since just 1990. Hope you stats folks find the numbers useful.

1945 752659
1946 746757
1947 743003
1948 740872
1949 743474
1950 744815
1951 741596
1952 743590
1953 743983
1954 744659
1955 744321
1956 742444
1957 739680
1958 736781
1959 733658
1960 728589
1961 723529
1962 719286
1963 710774
1964 701306
1965 690347
1966 678766
1967 666713
1968 651139
1969 634712
1970 617018
1971 602014
1972 587010
1973 572007
1974 557003
1975 542000
1976 531194
1977 520388
1978 509583
1979 498777
1980 487972
1981 481777
1982 475583
1983 469388
1984 463194
1985 457000
1986 450508
1987 444016
1988 437524
1989 431032
1990 424540
1991 416131
1992 408107
1993 399322
1994 389818
1995 380269
1996 371430
1997 362584
1998 353332
1999 344849
2000 331560
2001 325130
2002 318550
2003 306308
2004 293661
2005 283333
2006 273000
2007 263500
2008 252000
2009 243000
2010 231372
2011 221879
2012 219359
2013 208679

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3 thoughts on “Year Zero Numbers

  1. Many thanks for these stats David, they do make for interesting things to reflect upon. However one question I’d put along side the Membership figures would be the attendance figures, and how do they match up in terms of both the change in those attending, and also the ratio of members to attendance?

    • I’m not sure how helpful attendance figures are – they can always be swayed by a baptism or bad weather. Steve Bruce (the sociologist not the footballer) did a study of miners in Allendale, West Auckland and Easington in the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s respectively. He reckoned that in lead mining Allendale in the 1700s there was a lot more attendance than membership. By 1900s Easington, there was a higher membership than attendance. That would fit in with my anecdotal experience that in growing churches membership lags attendance, and in declining churches attendance falls before membership does.

  2. So by these statistics the Methodist Church UK will half its size in the next 10 years and the remaining members will have an even higher average age. One has to ask ‘Who will run the structure?’. Surely the church will collapse well before 2033 through an inability to manage itself effectively. What year will that be in – just so I can prepare.

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