A look at our national membership statistics

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by cemab4y, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member



    Here are the membership statistics, broken down by state. The latest data available is from 2009. The Grand Lodges around the state, provide the membership statistics.

    U.S. Grand Lodges Membership


    ALABAMA 28,386 30,122 -1,736
    ALASKA 1,935 1,982 -47
    ARIZONA 9,023 9,315 -292
    ARKANSAS 15,027 16,094 -1,067
    CALIFORNIA 58,889 63,497 -4,608
    COLORADO 10,742 11,421 -679
    CONNECTICUT 13,432 13,926 -494
    DELAWARE 5,150 5,260 -110
    DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 4,312 4,434 -122
    FLORIDA 47,471 48,658 -1,187
    GEORGIA 44,523 45,736 -1,213
    HAWAII 1,643 1,733 -90
    IDAHO 4,191 4,225 -34
    ILLINOIS 68,308 68,562 -254
    INDIANA 66,006 67,777 -1,771
    IOWA 22,466 23,140 -674
    KANSAS 24,091 25,115 -1,024
    KENTUCKY 47,747 48,408 -661
    LOUISIANA 20,070 22,006 -1,936
    MAINE 19,968 20,363 -395
    MARYLAND 16,477 17,054 -577
    MASSACHUSETTS 36,518 36,848 -330
    MICHIGAN 39,189 41,185 -1,996
    MINNESOTA 15,182 15,782 -600
    MISSISSIPPI 19,774 20,493 -719
    MISSOURI 51,000 51,500 -500
    MONTANA 6,342 6,605 -263
    NEBRASKA 13,038 13,498 -460
    NEVADA 4,316 4,390 -74
    NEW HAMPSHIRE 6,928 7,156 -228
    NEW JERSEY 26,073 27,297 -1,224
    NEW MEXICO * 5,227 5,211 16
    NEW YORK 48,051 49,082 -1,031
    NORTH CAROLINA 45,685 46,300 -615
    NORTH DAKOTA 3,151 3,269 -118
    OHIO 108,332 110,250 -1,918
    OKLAHOMA 26,572 27,723 -1,151
    OREGON 9,970 10,330 -360
    PENNSYLVANIA 114,447 117,584 -3,137
    RHODE ISLAND * 4,326 4,183 143
    SOUTH CAROLINA 40,798 41,597 -799
    SOUTH DAKOTA 6,262 6,372 -110
    TENNESSEE 46,156 46,828 -672
    TEXAS 92,656 95,289 -2,633
    UTAH 1,920 1,963 -43
    VERMONT 6,466 6,823 -357
    VIRGINIA 39,238 39,839 -601
    WASHINGTON 17,109 17,682 -573
    WEST VIRGINIA 22,078 22,557 -479
    WISCONSIN 13,328 14,134 -806
    WYOMING 4,070 4,225 -155

    Totals 1,404,059 1,444,823 -40,764

    * Increase over 2008


    Should we be concerned about this trend? Should Lodges and Grand Lodges, make changes in their programs and policies, to reverse this trend?
  2. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

    Should we be concerned, no. A lot of this has to do exclusively with death and the poor economic situation in the U.S.

    Quality, not Quantity.
  3. Beathard

    Beathard Premium Member

    Texas had about a 2% drop. Considering the economy and the pre-Vietnam membership starting to expire, I think we are doing ok. California is approaching 10%. That seems like an issue.
  4. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

    I wonder what contributed to the increase in Rhode Island and New Mexico. Although a small increase, it was decent for their already low membership numbers. It would be interesting to see what the statistics are for the PH grand lodges.
  5. Traveling Man

    Traveling Man Premium Member

    Should we be concerned; only if we are concerned about quantity and not quality. It appears that any actions taken by the cgmna hasn't seemed to have stemmed this tide.

    Yes I’m concerned, some jurisdictions are completely eliminating the memory work, while others are implementing ODCs, while others are actually making requirements more stringent.

    Also please note the greatest losses by percentage are attributed to dropout; not mortality rates alone.
    (Dropout) = snpd + demit > mortality rate…
    As indicated by data collected elsewhere, not the msana site. The greatest decline has been in the last 20 years.
  6. THemenway

    THemenway Registered User

    I'd be interested to see the numbers for only new members from each year. Can you acees them?
    I guess it might not give an accurate number representation for that exact year, depending on if they count you at initiation or at actually becoming a MM.
  7. Bro. Stewart P.M.

    Bro. Stewart P.M. Lead Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

    I am almost certain that only Master Masons would be counted in the population since they are Full Members.
  8. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    For a more detailed statistical profile, you should contact the Masonic Service Association of North America. http://www.msana.org

    You can also contact the Grand Lodge office in any of the states you are interested in. Masonic membership is not secret.

    I personally, find these statistics frightening. The fact is, we are losing more Masons to suspensions (for non-payment of dues)/demits/resignations, than we are to deaths. This says a lot. We are more interested in getting men to join, than we are in giving our membership a quality Masonic experience, that will keep them active and on the rolls.

    All indications are that the membership numbers are bound to get worse. When the WW2 and early 1950's generation leaves the active craft, to attend the Celestial Lodge, we will be in real trouble.

    What is the death rate for Masons? Same as for every one else. 100%
  9. Jacob Johnson

    Jacob Johnson Registered User

    I'm not so sure that we'll be in all that much trouble when the Greatest Generation are gone. We're still making masons. And YOUNG ones, too, who are very involved.
  10. Zack

    Zack Registered User

    "The sky is falling, the sky is falling...."
  11. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    Masonry hit its peak, in the late 1940's and early 1950's. We will never hit those numbers again. When the WW2 generation is gone, the numbers of Masons will decrease, and the average age of Masons will decrease. This is why the Masonic Renewal Task Force, studied the membership situation, and made certain recommendations to the various Grand Lodges around the USA.

    I am not saying that Masonry is "doomed", but we should be prepared for the decline. Grand Lodges need to have procedures in place, to enable lodges that cannot sustain themselves, to consolidate or fold. Masonic charities need to prepare for the subsequent drop in contributions. Appendant/Concordant bodies will feel the drop as well.

    When I joined the Shrine in 1989, there were 990,000 Nobles. Today, there are about 400,000 Nobles. Many Shrine centers are shrinking, and being forced to sell off their assets. (Afifi Shrine, Tacoma Wash, is having to sell some of their real estate).

    Some Grand Lodges (Maryland and Mass) are taking charge of the situation, and holding open houses, and taking steps to increase the visibility of Freemasonry, and explaining to men , the value of our Craft. Masonry is experiencing some growth in Southern California.
  12. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

  13. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

  14. Joseph_OConnor

    Joseph_OConnor Registered User

    Great post and follow up articles. Thanks for the info
  15. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

    In my opinion, this will cause issues but it's nothing near as catastrophic as it's often made out to be. The membership was really booming during the WW2 generation and because of this we experienced growth in lodges that hasn't really been experienced before. When these brothers are no longer with us I think we'll be looking at numbers that will start looking more stable. They might not be as large as we're used to but masonry wasn't ever intended to be as big as it is anyhow IMO.

    I think the real problem will come from all of these lodges, both grand and regular, that became dependent over time on the income from these large numbers. This, when coupled with the economy, could cause many lodges to have to close their doors and it might also create tension between the brethren and their respective Grand Lodges as they demand more money to keep themselves running.
  16. choppersteve03

    choppersteve03 Premium Member

    Man thats kind of troubling,there is only 22,000 dues paying brothers in Iowa.
  17. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    A steep decline in our membership numbers, is cause for concern. Two (2) lodges that I belonged to in the past, have had to consolidate. These lodges (Glebe 181, Arlington VA, and Master Builder 911,Tonawanda NY) are "gone with the wind". I feel sad, whenever any lodge has to close up. With the decline in numbers, more and more lodges will cease to exist. Some lodges are surviving, only because their Grand Lodges permit plural memberships. When the plural members, that are supporting multiple lodges, pass on to the Celestial Lodge, all of their lodges will close up.

    I believe sincerely, that we can reverse this trend ,and keep true to our ancient landmarks. Bringing in ODC's and eliminating memory work, are only 'band-aids', and will not get Masonry growing again.

    We need to look back at our past, and see what brought men into Masonry in the 20th century. We can glean ideas, and modernize them, into the 21st century experience.

    We need to drop this silly prohibition against inviting men into Masonry. There are many good men out there, who would make fine Masons, but they are unaware about the procedure for applying. The internet is making learning about Masonry, and the application procedures much easier, but we still have a long way to go.

    100 years ago, most men spent their entire lives within 75 miles of their birthplace. Now we are scattered all over the map. The practices and customs of Freemasonry, which were perfectly fine in 1911, do not cut any ice in 2011.
  18. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

    While I agree with your sentiment, I'm very hesitant about that one. While I was president of my college fraternity, we had three 'rush classes.' (For those unfamiliar, think York Rite Festival, but more involved and drawn out over an entire semester.) We learned the hard way that if someone wanted to join, but ever expressed even a hint of doubt, they would most likely go inactive immediately after finishing the process, if they finished the process at all. It was only those who came 'of their own free will and accord' who stuck around and truly dedicated themselves to our fraternity. And for four years, that truth panned out.

    We already (in Texas, at least) have the ability to extend a 'neutrally worded invitation' to men we believe might be a good fit for the fraternity. Invite them to check things out, visit the lodge during an open meal, etc, and decide on their own. Personally, I think that's more than enough, and already perfectly within (Texas) Masonic Law. Obviously, this may not be the case for other jurisdictions.

    But anyway, to address the point, in Texas we do, to an extent, have the ability to invite men to the fraternity, short of solicitation. Even so, I don't think that's really an issue. The issue, to me, it seems, is more one of retention than initiation. Probably beating a dead horse, as it's been discussed to death on these boards. But, it absolutely needs discussing.
  19. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

    I do not agree that the problem of retention has been over-discussed. We need to examine this phenomenon carefully. If we cannot appeal to our own membership base, how can we attract and retain new members? Masonry is losing more members to suspensions (non-payment of dues), resignations, and demits, than we are to deaths. Therefore, we cannot just state that the loss of membership is due to the departure of the WW2 generation.

    Mass. and Maryland have state-wide open houses, where every lodge in the entire state is open on a Saturday morning. Mass. has two of these events annually (April and October). There is absolutely nothing in our ancient landmarks that is prohibitive of placing Masonry in the public eye.
  20. LukeD

    LukeD Registered User

    Well said Bro Benton. I know it's beating a dead horse, but how do you retain members? Some say quality over quantity, and they are not concerned about dwindling numbers. For the small town Lodges, filling chairs is becoming more difficult, and positions are just being recycled. Being fairly new, it's sad to sit in one of these struggling Lodges. I'm sure it's even harder for the brothers who remembers the Lodge being more full and active.

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