2010 Clergy Age Trends

Phil Schroeder


Have you checked out the Lewis Center's special report on clergy age trends? The report, prepared with assistance from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, shows increases in both older and younger clergy. It also shows a historic high median age of elders and a marked decrease in middle age elders. 

Highlights of  the 2010 Report

Average Age of United Methodist Clergy Reaches a Historic High   

  • For the first time ever, just over half of active elders are between age 55 and 72.
  • The median age of elders is 55, the highest in history, up from 50 in 2000 and 45 in 1973.  
  • As expected, the total number of clergy retirements went down dramatically in 2009 because of the economic downturn (811 compared to 1,113 in 2008).
  • Even with fewer retirements in 2009, the average retirement age still went down by half a year to 64 in 2009. 

The Percentage of Middle Age Elders Shrank Dramatically Since 2000   

  • The percentage of elders aged 35 to 54 continues to shrink, from 65 percent of all active elders in 2000 to 45 percent in 2010. 
The Number of Young United Methodist Clergy Grew in the Past Decade 
  • There are more young elders, deacons, and local pastors than ten years ago.
  • While fewer in number than young elders, young deacons and local pastors are growing in number faster than young elders.
  • In 1985 there were 24 young elders for every one young local pastor.  In 2010 there are just two young elders for every young local pastor.

Click here to download the full report.

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