The official APS membership count has set a new all-time record, reaching a total of 47,189 as of January 2009. This is an increase of 920 over 2008.
Much of the recent increase can be attributed to growth in the student member category. The total number of student members increased from 10,986 in 2008 to 12,143 in 2009, the highest number ever.
Many of the new students are taking advantage of the one-year free trial membership available to new student members from North America.
“The goal is to get students in, get them active in the Society, and see them continue into the Junior membership category,” said APS Director of Membership Trish Lettieri. “Reaching that goal will help maintain the health of the Society membership by offsetting the number of retiring members expected over the next ten years.” In line with demographic trends, the number of “regular” members has declined slightly over the past year, while the number of senior (retired) members has grown.
APS membership also has a significant international component. There are now roughly 10,000 members from outside the US, representing 21% of the total, approximately the same percentage as in recent years.
One area in which membership totals can 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 funding for science, research and education and to bring science into the policy arena by advocating on issues mandated by Council. The impact that APS can have depends on having a large, active membership.