The official APS membership count set a new all-time record again in2007. The count, taken on January 8, 2007, blasted through the 46,000 barrier, reaching a total of 46,293 for an increase of 774 over 2006. Analysts said that the declining price of oil, coupled with a modest inflation rate, had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Rather, according to Director of Membership Trish Lettieri, continued growth in the student member category was the leading factor. “Although every member category had fluctuations throughout the year, the overall growth correlates to the increase in student members,” she said. “Students are up 793 from last year, for a total of 10,838 student members.”
Students in North America receive one year free as a trial membership, and their dues after that are currently $28 per year. Lettieri says it’s encouraging that the student category is so strong, because it augurs well for the future of the Society.
One area in which membership totals play an important role is with respect to lobbying activities. As a registered lobbyist in Washington, APS seeks to promote the health of the profession by arguing for science funding, and to bring science into the policy arena by advocating on issues mandated by Council. The impact that APS can have is related to the size of the Society. By law, APS lobbying is limited by the amount of membership dues. In addition, the more members who engage in grass-roots activities such as letter-writing and personal visits to Congress, the more effective APS can be.
APS membership also has a significant international component. There are over 9500 members from outside the US, representing 21% of the total. The countries with the largest representation are Japan (1805) and Canada (1198).
While the student members continue to increase, at the other end of the demographic spectrum, retired members also show modest growth. Their number went up from 5534 in 2006 to 5598 in 2007.