The official count of APS members for 2012 has been tabulated and the Society has reached a new record enrollment of 50,055 members. This surpassed last year’s record of 48,263 by 1,792 new members, an increase of about 3.7 percent. This is also the first time the membership has passed the 50,000 milestone.
Membership increased in nearly all areas that APS tracked. Categories that showed the biggest growth are student and junior memberships. In addition, the number of regular members grew for the first time in a decade. The number of members from outside of the United States also continued to show steady growth.
“I’m really excited that all the membership categories are growing. It shows the organization is doing a great job reaching out to its members,” said Trish Lettieri, APS’s Director of Membership.
Student and junior membership both grew about 10 percent over last year, accelerating a trend that started in 2006. Lettieri credits this increase in part to a refocused emphasis on promoting APS benefits to physicists at all stages of their careers as well as to retention efforts by APS staff. The increase in regular members partially stems from that trend, as existing junior members stayed on and became full members.
“APS has done a better job promoting our career activities and we’ve added business cards as a benefit for junior members at our meetings,” Lettieri said. “It’s starting to pay off in growth of both junior membership and the regular members.”
The number of international members showed healthy growth as well. All together 10,989 members live abroad, up 640 from last year or about 6 percent. In total, international members make up about 22 percent of APS membership. Amy Flatten, APS Director of International Affairs, credited the increase to more efforts to reach out to physicists internationally.
“We’ve been trying to expand our international engagement, and through our International Friends network, we’ve provided activity grants to encourage APS activities in the local communities of our APS members,” Flatten said. She noted that the Society has also recently added more international members to its Council and has been developing more programs and other ways to serve international members.
Other demographics of the membership held constant or showed very slight growth. Senior members also posted an increase of just less than 1 percent, while lifetime members all posted increases of 1.6 percent over last year.
These membership counts are held every year to assess the health of the Society. The membership numbers are important also in enhancing the Society’s grass-roots lobbying efforts when advocating for improvements in science policy and increased research funding.