JW growth

by larc 19 Replies latest jw friends

  • larc

    There has been much discussion here regarding the growth rate of the JWs. I thought I would put up some numbers that show the long term trends. First of all, I would like to state that there was surprisingly little growth under Rutherford. After his failed prophecy in 1925, it took ten years for their numbers to climb back up to the 1925 level. It was not until the organizational skills of Knorr came into play, that the Witnesses started to grow rapidly. The 1975 prediction prompted momentary growth, but had no long term effects on the numbers. So, here are some numbers on growth rates: 1941-1963: 11%, 1963-1974: 6.6%, 1974-1990: 4.5%, 1990-1995: 4%, 1995-2002: 2.26%. It is very clear that the long term trend is a downward one. As a result, I don't see that their modest increase last year is of much consequence.

  • rebel

    Hi Larc,

    I'd love to compare the growth of other religions in the same time period. Does anyone have these details? I am sure they would show that the JWs have not been the only religion to see a significant growth.


  • RedhorseWoman

    Interesting statistics, Larc. Considering the fact, also, that a good portion of that growth could be explained by internal growth (i.e. children of JWs getting baptized), then its significance dwindles even more.

  • hillary_step


    Last year the WTS instituted a new program that allowed those who qualified ( usually the older and infirm and housebound etc. ) to put in a monthly report of 15 minutes so that they could be counted as 'active publishers'. This was touted as a 'loving provision for the older and infirm ones', who make up a not insignificant number of JW's worldwide. The international 3% growth this year is not surprising given this new method of massaging the figures.

    Personally speaking, it matters little how the WTS grows or shrinks, there will always be people ready as we were, to clutch at the hopes of peace on earth and hold it together with elastoplast theology. What is causing their diminishing credibility is the free flow of knowledge, something that has always been an enemy of established religion which depends on ignorance and the vigorous protection of the status quo to survive.

    Best regards - HS

  • xjw_b12

    Thanks larc, for taking the time to put that into perspective. Sometimes when you see those year to year stats, you get a false representation of what is going on.

    Not that the stats they publish are correct to begin with, spin doctors that they are !

  • SpannerintheWorks


    I'd love to compare the growth of other religions in the same time period. Does anyone have these details? I am sure they would show that the JWs have not been the only religion to see a significant growth.

    This may help.



  • larc

    Hi Hillary, nice to see you comment - always appreciate your ideas. You are right about the 15 minute rule. It can only have a temporary effect. I think the 911 tragedy may have had a temporary effect as well. I can not see anything that will change the long term downward trend. Baptizisms are down very significantly over the past 7 years. I see this as a leading indicator of further decline. Also, the internet will continue to grow in usage. This will allow more people to educate and innoculate themselves against the persuasive effects of the religion. True, there will always be those attracted to the religion, but not enough for it to grow. The glory days of the religion are over.

  • Guest 77
    Guest 77

    Right on Larc, the glory days are gone. I wonder how many lived and took part in them.

    Guest 77

  • JH

    Naturally, statistics can say many things, and sometimes may seem contradictory. Their growth is going down, but the numbers are going up. Even if there is only 0 .1% increase, still there is a growth in numbers. But this growth would not follow the world's population growth.

    But like you said Larc, the % growth is going down, but I don't think it will ever go down to 0% growth worldwide. In other words, I can't see their total numbers go down, although that did happen in the past.

    I think that at least half of the 6 million JW left in the world, are hardened witnesses, who passed most of their life in the org. and will never leave, because their whole world and family is there. Even if they have doubts, they will stay. As for the other half who could leave, they can easily be replaced, so I don't think the total numbers of witnesses worldwide will tumble.

    my 2 cents worth.

  • rebel

    Thanks SpannerintheWorks,

    I will check out the link


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