Membership statistics and trend

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Simon Christiansen, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. Simon Christiansen

    Simon Christiansen Registered User


    The new membership stats from the Masonic Service Association of North America are out, so I couldn't resist the temptation to make a graph:


    Masonic membership in North America has declined 46.8% over the last 20 years, from 2,021,909 in 1997 to 1,076,626 in 2017. The rate of decline seemed to be slowly levelling off during most of the 2000's, but around 2012 it settles into a linear trend.


    If the current trend continues, North American freemasonry will cease to exist in 2040.

    Sorry not to have better news. I was planning to fit the points to a curve, and predict when freemasonry would start growing again, but the data doesn't really support it.

    Some individual Grand Lodges do seem to have stabilised, so the current trend probably won't continue forever, but it seems like it will be a while before things improve. The numbers also do not include Prince Hall lodges.
  2. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

    Possibly this year Kentucky Freemasonry will show more members joining than demitting or dying for the first time in decades.
    LK600, Symthrell and CLewey44 like this.
  3. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

    >North American freemasonry will cease to exist in 2040.

    A very similar situation in Australia but I do not expect the trend to continue unchanged. There will be a critical mass issue that will crash the membership or force a reinvention.

    Ultimately the problem is the product being sold is not what is being delivered. I see so many EAs that do not make it to FC and so many new MMs that disappear permanently. They do not find in the lodge whatever it was that attracted them to Freemasonry.
    CLewey44 likes this.
  4. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

    Where Masonry fails, medicine succeeds...
    Warrior1256 likes this.
  5. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

    I really can't believe that with so many of us, that we can't figure out a way to re jump start masonry , school of instruction is ok, degree work is somewhat enjoyable, and business meetings, well you know. My lodge does one cool thing that we all get behind twice a year, we take $500.00 and buy school supplies for a couple of the not well off schools in the county. But besides the old pancake breakfast and spaghetti dinners, you really don't see nothing exciting happening. But there has to be something to keep things interesting to have people coming back.
  6. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

    I have been surveying elderly brethren for some time. Without exception they agree that the craft ritual is less powerful than when they first joined.

    The cosmic tide is going out on many social institutions and Freemasonry is no exception.

    We can fight the outgoing tide but I suggest we are better identifying the next incoming tide.
  7. Trufflehound

    Trufflehound Registered User

    Many Lodges have a couple of common issues.

    The first is that we don’t always do a good job establishing Brotherly Love. If you can’t do that — if you can’t foster an environment where friendships can grow and civility reigns — your Lodge will suffer. It’s one of the few things that universally contributes to the health of all Lodges. It’s one of the sure-fire ways to get a Brother to come to Lodge. He may not leave the comfort of his home for education or ritual, but he will for his friends.

    The other thing I’ve noticed is, younger Masons often feel unneeded. The older Brethren occupy a lot of the chairs or give lectures during the Degrees. The older Brethren don’t “box the younger Masons out” deliberately. This is our generational issue manifesting itself.

    Consider this: many of those born in the 1950s and 1960s didn’t join the fraternity. We’re missing the bulk of an entire generation. Traditionally, responsibility would have passed hands already. Because of the generational gap, the older generation has had to hold the reins longer. Maybe they’re a bit hesitant to turn things over to the younger guys, because they’re so used to running things.

    Our job as younger Masons is to step up and show that they leave the work in capable hands. If we don’t do that, we’re going to damage the Craft when the older Brethren pass on.
  8. LK600

    LK600 Premium Member

    I am heavily considering moving to northwestern Kentucky in the next two years, so I may be able to provide a point to the positive if and when that happens! ;)
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  9. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    I expected to join for the service. I ended up staying for the fellowship. Plenty of guys have enough fellowship in their lives already but I work a desk job and that was a whole in my life that masonry filled.

    I see the opposite. You need to finish your proficiency by Installation because we need you in line right away. The old guys cycling through are experiencing burn out. There's pressure rather than resistance in my lodges.

    Except in a few lodges. A small number of lodges are doing a large number of degrees. They thrive and sure enough they have neither pressure nor resistance to new guys joining the line because they have plenty of new guys.

    Something I have pondered recently. We are THE source of positive masculinity in my world. Part of positive masculinity is taking initiative. We aren't a school where the teachers deliver lessons then the kids play. We're a team where everyone works and the fellowship makes the work into play.
    Matt L and CLewey44 like this.
  10. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

    True. Also true is the older Masons pooh poohing any new ideas of younger Masons with "We don't do it that way here" or "We didn't do it that way in my day".
    Would love to have you Brother!
    LK600 likes this.
  11. LK600

    LK600 Premium Member

    Another Brother and myself have been told things similar to this multiple times.
    dfreybur likes this.
  12. Plustax

    Plustax Registered User

    Or ...."it's been our local tradition here". Or...."we tried that before and it didn't work".

    Sent from my LG-H910 using My Freemasonry mobile app
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  13. Zack

    Zack Registered User

    I wish I had a dollar for every "young Mason" who said he wanted to learn the lectures started, fell by the wayside after finding out how much time and commitment it takes. If nothing else works blame the Old Mason.
    Glen Cook and Warrior1256 like this.

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