The Theosophical Society (Adyar)

Membership Trend

Comparison of the TS membership numbers
in the USA, India and Worldwide in 1960 and 2007
(Summarized from the theos_talk messages - Contributions by M. K. Ramadoss and Larry)

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In a published report the TS membership in:

USA:
1960 = 4,400
2007 = 4,072

After 47 years, with all the dynamic visionary leaders, one would expect a significant growth in membership. However, there is a loss of 10%. We have not seen anyone mentioning this fact. This trend does not bode well for the TS in the USA . May be it is time that we all need to look into the trend and explore to find out the underlying causes that may be contributing to this downward trend. Since the growth of membership has a lot to do with what the lodges and sections do, it is definitely a local and national issue. May be it is time to concentrate to
find out and fix the root causes, ASAP.

Worldwide:
1960 = 33,875
2007 = 29,014

India:
1960 = 7,000
2007 = 12,444

So, apart from India, it’s 1960 = 26,875 and 2007 = 16,570. Making it 62% of what it was. The decline is worse than that if it’s looked at as relative to the increasing population of the world. Wikipedia gives 2.98 billion of us on earth in 1960, 6.45 billion in 2005, so adjusting that 62% figure to 29% gives a more accurate picture of how it is. (Allowing for increased population also affects the apparent 7.5% decline in the U.S., and the apparent 78% increase in India. Makes the first one a 45% decline, based on U.S. population going from 179.3 to 303.1 (millions). And in India the population went from 443 million to 1130 million. 7,000 out of 443 is the equivalent of 17,856 out of 1,130, from 17,856 to 12,444 means a 30% decline in India too.

The main ones are the 71% (worldwide outside India), 45% (U.S.), 30% (India) declines in T.S. membership relative to population. This is more than mere stagnation (which is the usual characterization of the T.S.’s condition.) And then there’s the interesting fact that this has happened as India ’s share of total world membership has risen from 21% to 43%. Maybe Iceland should take over.

Last update: January 2009
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