TCA Membership At A Glance


Jan - Dec 2009

Total Membership By Ranked By Total Per State & Total Per Capita Per State

I received my 2010 TCA Membership Roster and, as I have done for the last seven years, I thought I'd share a quick look at the Tandem Club of America's (TCA) demographics. As always, my hand-tabulated counts from the membership listing were entered into my spreadsheets and looked at on a state-by-state basis in comparison to data from last year's Membership Roster and for reasons I'll explain later, the January 2008 membership roster.

In summary, and based on what was published in this year's 2010 Membership List, TCA membership at approx 765 is down 16.3% compared to last year, with a net reduction of 149 members.

Sadly, the prediction in my editorial from last year's analysis was correct and this was the largest single drop-off I've seen since keeping track of the membership trends.

Looking back and comparing membership to 2002 when I first started following the data, overall TCA membership has fallen by 692 or about 47.5%.

  • 36 of 50 states saw net losses in membership while only 4 saw a net increase of one-each.
  • Leading the pack (not surprisingly) was California which lost a net of 21 members in the last year, down from 111 in 2002 to 47 members as of January 2010.
  • For the first time since watching the data there are now only members in 49 of the 50 US states, as the one lone tandem team from Wyoming dropped from the roles this year.
  • Wisconsin was another state that stands out with the loss of 12 members, down from 46 in 2002 to just 19.

Editorial: Just as I noted last year, unless TCA abandons its laissez-faire approach to managing the club and develops some type of vision for how it will deliver value to members in the future, I would expect the slide in membership to continue until the revenues from memberships will no longer cover the cost of printing and mailing out DoubleTalk and Web hosting fees. At that point, I'm not sure what happens. Just looking back two years 25% of the long-time TCA members have dropped from the roles (22 of 87) and of the 273 or so newer members who joined TCA during 2007, 131 (48%) of them have not renewed their memberships.

Hospitality Homes, Long-Term & New Member Stats

With apologies to the folks who manage Hospitality Homes, I didn't even bother to tabulate the data this year.

In past years I've analyzed TCA's membership demographics using membership numbers which allowed me to gain insight into:

  • The status of the most tenured members with membership numbers under 1,000,
  • The status of members who joined TCA beginning in 2004 holding membership numbers above 11,000, and
  • The newest members holding membership numbers above 11,604 who would have joined in 2009.

However, this year's membership list omitted the membership numbers. Well, shoot. So much for that. And, to make matters worse, I already sent last year's membership list through the shredder. But, as it turns out, I still had the January 2008 membership list so all was not lost. Therefore, given that we were snowbound here in Atlanta yesterday morning I did a by-name reconciliation of the 2008 and 2010 memberships lists which yielded a new set of metrics: Gross Losses & Gross Gains. So, instead of just reporting the net change from last year's membership numbers what I have done for this year is looked at the discrete gains and losses for each state and the overall club. In a second pass over the 2008 data I was also able to parse out some additional information on our more tenured and newer members as well.

Most Tenured: Last year only one of the sub-1,000 membership number holding teams left the rolls of TCA; however, based on looking back two years and subtracting that one net loss from '08 a total of 21 additional long-timers fell off the rolls during 2009. So, about a 25% reduction in the TCA elders. Again, not having any membership numbers to verify the count that should leave TCA with about 65 of it's most tenured members still on the rolls, down from 100 in 2004 and 87 last year.

The 2004 & Up Club & Newer Members: No idea this year without those membership numbers, but it doesn't look good for them. Again, without having membership numbers or my January 2009 membership roster it was a bit of a challenge to peg the number of new members who were added to the rolls in 2009. However, looking back to the January 2008 roster and doing a by-name scrub of the rosters did yield some intersting information that suggests only about half of the new members stay members beyond that first year. More specifically, of the 273 newer members on the roster back in January 2008, about 131 of them (48%) had dropped from the rolls in the January 2010 roster. Of course, looked at the other way we could say that TCA has been able to retain nearly half of new members, at least short term.

Unfortunately, those gains fall well short of off-setting the total number of members dropping from the rolls. Now, because I went ahead and did a by-name reconciliation this year, as mentioned above I was able to capture both the gross gains and losses by state and in total for this year's analysis. Below you'll find three tables that summarize the top 15 states in three different categories:

  • Highest % of Losses since Jan '08: This simply looks at attrition vs. the currrent number of TCA members in a given state. Topping the list is Wyoming which lost it's only member. While technically just 100%, that one loss as a milestone given this is the first time that all 50 states did not have at least one TCA member. The next 8 states have all passed a tipping point where they've lost members than they current have on their rolls.

  • Highest % of Gains since Jan '08: These are some of the top 15 states when it comes to adding new members to their rolls, independent of losses. Maine at 50% (1 added for a total of 2, but also losing 1) and Arkansas at 66.7% (2 added for a total of 3, but also losing 2) were actually the biggest gainers, but I opted to leave them off and then resorted this list a bit differently. Anyway, Minnesota tops the somewhat gerrymandered list and their big numbers may have more to do with having hosted the 2009 Midwest Tandem Rally than anything else, never mind that they also lost 10 members for a net-zero change in overall membership. The latter is not all that unusual for states that host MTR and see a surge in membership, followed by an equally large drop. The other states with big gains were also big losers with overall net losses in membership in all cases except one: Alabama. They actually netted up by 2 teams during 2008 and stayed even in 2009.

  • Highest % of Net Loss since Jan '08: These truly are 'The Biggest Loosers', the states that saw the highest number of net losses in membership over the past two years. Many of the states listed are also some of the most populace states as you can see from the smaller table of the 10 largest states per capita vs. TCA membership rolls below it. Again, as noted earlier, California had 111 members back in 2002 and Texas had 72... big drop-offs to be sure.

Highest Growth and Greatest Attrition By State

For reference, 2007 saw 12 states add a combined 25 new members to TCA, in 2008 only 10 states reflected a combined increase of 13, and for 2009 you can see that only four states had net gains of one each for a grand total of 4 adders.

On the other side of the balance sheet, 35 states and the District of Columbia collectively saw 153 members fall off their rosters in 2009. Again, as noted earlier, California's loss of 21 members (30% of their rolls) eclipsed Texas' loss of 14 (28%) in 2008.



Overall Membership by TCA Region

This table looks at overall TCA membership by region... and like every year, please don't ask me why the regions are set up the way they are as it's not apparent to me either.

Regardless, when states are grouped by their regions and we look at the past two year's changes you can see that with only one exception, Region 11 with a Net-Zero change, all 10 other TCA Regions are hemorrhaging membership well into the double-digits.

As you'd expect, Region 1's numbers are heavily skewed by California and leading the pack with a 34.9% fall off in membership. Right on Region 1's heels is the smallest (and getting smaller) Region 10 with a 34.6% loss.

Our own region here in the Southeast US was once again in double-digit loss territory but, then again, our region is TCA's largest with 17% of all members represented.



Links to previous year's TCA Membership at a Glance reports