| Having just returned home from the international meeting
in Barcelona, I want to share the AAPG membership trends that illustrate
a shift toward more international. International development is an
important component of AAPG's future.
In addition, I want to review the age distribution
of our membership that illustrates the importance of further developing
our student programs.
Simply put, the average age of an AAPG member has
been increasing over the last decade.
Among the most frequently asked questions is about
membership trends and numbers. Membership at the end of 2002 was
30,942 (figure 1) -- a decrease from
a membership high of 43,803 in 1985.
The total membership has been relatively stable the
past few years. The largest part of membership comes from the international
regions and Gulf Coast Section. The Gulf Coast membership is currently
9,405, which is 30 percent of the total. International membership
is 9,413, also 30 percent of the total.
Figure 2 illustrates
the trends for the Sections and the international area; the trend
for international membership is increasing, whereas most of the
U.S. Sections show a declining membership. International membership
in 1980, 1990 and 2000 was 13 percent, 18 percent and 27 percent
of the total, respectively. The Gulf Coast appears to have stabilized
over the last five years.
The international area, by AAPG Bylaws, is broken
into six regions for governance purposes and representation on the
Advisory Council (Africa, Europe, Latin America, Canada, Middle
East and Asia/Pacific). The largest region is the European Region,
with 33 percent of the international members. The smallest region
is the Middle East Region, with 5 percent of the international members.
AAPG has five different membership categories (Active,
Associate, Student, Emeritus and Honorary).
- Active members meet the degree
and experience requirements prescribed in the AAPG Bylaws. They
also meet a three-member sponsorship requirement. Actives currently
total 56 percent of the current membership.
- Associates are any persons not
qualified for any other class of membership, who are college graduates
and whose employment is related to geology. Associates comprise
30 percent of the current membership.
- Students are actively enrolled
in geology or in a field related to geology. Students comprise
7 percent of the current membership.
- Emeritus members are active members
who are 65 or older and have been long-time members of the Association.
Emeritus members comprise 7 percent of the current membership.
- Honorary membership is determined
by the Executive Committee, and this category is small (0.3 percent
of the membership).
The trends for Active, Associate and Student categories
are illustrated in figure 3, showing
that Active membership numbers are declining whereas Student and
Associate memberships are either flat or increasing.
The AAPG has been marketing itself to our large sister
societies (i.e., SPE and SEG) so part of the increase in the Associate
category is from this segment.
Student members currently get free membership because
of the Halliburton grant program. Halliburton agreed last year to
pay for student memberships for a two-year program to help promote
AAPG to students. The AAPG very much appreciates the support from
The age distribution of
members has changed over the last 25 years. In 1980, leading
up to the great boom in the oil and gas business, 50.5 percent of
the membership was less than 40 years old, 27.2 percent of the membership
was 41-55 and 23.9 percent of the membership was older than 55.
In 2002, 25.4 percent of the membership was less
than 40, 47 percent of the membership was 41-55 and 27.9 percent
of the members were older than 55. Thus the average age of the members
has increased over the past 25 years.
The tranche of members that joined during the early
1980s boom is still the majority of the membership. The average
age is currently 49, which probably approximates the average age
in the industry.
This average age suggests that we may be approaching
a human resource crisis. One of the many reasons for emphasizing
student programs is to get students into geoscience programs and
Other interesting membership characteristics include:
- The majority of our members live in Texas
- Consultants and independents comprise
26 percent of the membership (16.7 percent in 1981).
- Members employed by the top 50 companies
make up 20 percent of the membership.
The changing membership demographics illustrate the
importance to continually assess membership needs. We are currently
working on a new long-range plan for the Association that will incorporate
these trends. The plan will also address the needs of domestic members.
I want to thank our international members for their
strong support of AAPG programs. The recent international conference
in Barcelona was attended by more than 1,500 people, and it was
a huge success.
Special thanks go out to Jordi (Jorge) Ferrer for
his efforts as general chairman for the meeting.