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Latter-day Saint Temples in the World's 50 Largest Cities


The temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are separate and distinct from their meetinghouses. There many thousands of Latter-day Saint churches and meetinghouses in the world, but relatively few temples.

Below is a list of the 50 largest agglomerations in the world. (Agglomerations are effectively "cities", in the sense of being single urban centers, but aren't not necessarily bound by the political boundaries of a single city).

City (Agglomeration)PopulationTemple?
Tokyo, Japan29,971,000
Mexico City, Mexico27,872,000
Sao Paulo, Brazil25,354,000
Seoul, South Korea21,976,000
Bombay, India15,357,000 -
New York, USA
(Manhattan - planned)
14,648,000
Osaka, Japan14,287,000 -
Tehran, Iran14,251,000 -
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil14,169,000 -
Calcutta, India14,088,000 -
Buenos Aires, Argentina12,911,000
Manila, Philippines12,846,000
Jakarta, Indonesia12,804,000 -
Lagos, Nigeria12,528,000 -
Cairo, Egypt12,512,000 -
Delhi, India11,849,000 -
Karachi, Pakistan11,299,000 -
Moscow, Russia11,121,000 -
Los Angeles, USA10,714,000
Lima, Peru9,241,000
Istanbul, Turkey8,875,000 -
Paris, France*8,803,000 -
London, UK8,574,000
Taipei, Taiwan8,516,000
Bogota, Colombia7,935,000
Bangkok, Thailand7,587,000 -
Shanghai, China7,540,000 -
Madras, India7,384,000 -
Bangalore, India6,764,000 -
Pusan, South Korea6,700,000 -
Chicago, US6,568,000
Dhaka, Bangladesh6,492,000 -
Santiago, Chile6,294,000
Beijing, China5,993,000 -
Hong Kong5,956,000
Lahore, Pakistan5,864,000 -
Kinshasa, Zaire5,646,000 -
Nagoya, Japan5,303,000 -
Tianjin, China5,298,000 -
Baghdad, Iraq5,239,000 -
Belo Horizonte, Brazil5,125,000 -
Madrid, Spain5,104,000
Milan, Italy4,839,000 -
Barcelona, Spain4,834,000 -
St. Petersburg, Russia4,738,000 -
Shenyang, China4,684,000 -
San Francisco, USA
(Oakland Temple)
4,214,000
Philadelphia, USA3,979,000 -
Manchester, UK3,827,000 -


Source: City and population figures: US Bureau of the Census; US Dept. of Commerce; Temple information: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and various sources.

Comments:
The location of Latter-day Saint temples naturally mirrors the geographical spread of the Church members themselves. It is not a goal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to built temples where the most people are, but where the most members are. Although most of the world's largest cities have Latter-day Saint members, wards or branches, and meetinghouses, only 17 of the world's 50 largest cities (agglomerations) have temples announced or operating. (16 of these temples are already in operation. One hasn't been built, or even begun yet, although the site been selected: the New York Temple, which will be located in Harrison.)

Of the 33 of the world's 50 largest cities which do not have a Latter-day Saint temple:
  • 8 of the cities are in Muslim nations: Tehran, Iran; Jakarta, Indonesia; Cairo, Egypt; Karachi, Pakistan; Istanbul, Turkey; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Lahore, Pakistan; Baghdad, Iraq. (There are expatriate Latter-day Saints living and working in these cities, but there is only a significant indigenous Latter-day Saint population in Jakarta.)

  • 5 of the cities are in India, where the Church has only recently become established: Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Madras, Bangalore.

  • 4 of the cities are in China: Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang. Until recently the officially atheist Communist government in China has severely limited all religious activity; proselytizing by foreign religious organizations is still not allowed.

  • 9 of the cities are in nations which already have temples and large, well-established Latter-day Saint populations: Osaka, Japan; Nagoya, Japan; Essen, Germany; Pusan, South Korea; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Philadelphia, USA; Manchester, UK.

  • 7 of the cities are in nations which have smaller Latter-day Saint communities, and no temple in the country: Lagos, Nigeria; Moscow, Russia; Paris, France; Bangkok, Thailand; Kinshasa, Zaire; Milan, Italy; St. Petersburg, Russia.


Note that virtually all of the temples on this list are of the traditional "large" variety (between 30,000 and 200,000 sq. feet) rather than the new smaller variety (8,000 to 15,000 sq. ft) being used for "remote" locations. The smaller temples are being built mostly in areas with smaller population bases (Monticello, Utah; Colonia Juarez, Mexico; Brisbane, Australia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; etc.). Because of the larger populations in the world's largest cities, they are more likely to receive traditional "large" temples than smaller cities.

The cities in China and the Muslim states are unlikely to have temples in the near future.

Although there are Latter-day Saint communities in Manchester (U.K.), Essen (Germany) and Barcelona (Spain), these cities seem unlikely places for temples in the near future because of the relative ease with which members there can travel to other temples already located in England (Preston, London), Germany (Frankfurt, Frieburg) or Spain (Madrid), and because the growth of the Church is relatively slower in Europe than in other parts of the world.

*It should be noted that although no temple is officially announced for Paris, France, President Hinckley has recently stated his desire to build a temple there.

Although there are many members in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte in Brazil, these cities are relatively close to the Sao Paulo and Campinas temples compared to many other large Brazilian cities without a temple nearby. So, although future temples in Brazil seem likely, they may not be in cities on this "50 Largest Cities in the World" list.

A temple in Osaka, Japan, a city half-way between two cities with temples (Tokyo and Fukuoka) may not be out of the question at some point. Osaka is a city of over 14 million people, the world's 7th largest city. Osaka has many stakes, but it is still fairly accessable to Tokyo, and the Church isn't growing very quickly in Japan. A more likely candidate for a future third temple in Japan might be Sapporo, the largest city on the more remote northern island of Japan (Hokkaido), from where members make regular temple trips by air to Tokyo. Two stakes are based in Sapporo and a third is on the same island in another city. Nagoya, roughly half way between Osaka and Tokyo, with 5.3 million residents, is an even less likely candidate for a temple than Osaka.

Philadelphia is relatively close to the Washington D.C. temple.

Given the size and growth and the Church in places other than the world's 50 largest cities, it is probable that the next temples announced will be in places other than the cities on this list. Many temples currently under construction are in cities which are among the largest in the U.S., but not the world. Counting the temples currently under construction and one or two for which ground has yet to be broken, there are temples in over half of the 50 largest cities in the U.S.

Taking into account the size of and growth of the Church in various areas, proximity to other temples, and relative ease and cost of transportation, the cities on this list which seem most likely to be sites of Latter-day Saint temples in the near future are: Lagos, Nigeria; Bangkok, Thailand; Pusan, South Korea; and of course Paris, France. It should be noted, however, that Bangkok, Lagos and Pusan each have only one stake currently.
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Web page created 18 May 1999. Last updated 16 July 2002.