I've had a theory for a long time that JWs historically have appealed to people who have been displaced or find themselves in a new environment away from family and friends. I also read an article recently that suggested that internal migration in Italy was a big boost for JW growth. More generally it has long been theorised that new religious movements are a phenomenon particularly associated with disruptive features of modernity, including the hyper-mobility of people in the modern age.
When I think about JWs locally, having recently moved to a new location accounts for most of the people who were converted to JWs that I know about, from the 1940s up to the 1990s.
There was a sister who had moved to a naval base to be with her husband. Away from family and friends she got a knock on the door in the early 1970s and became a JW. Her husband followed her and gave up his job.
Another sister arrived in London as a refugee from Austria in the late 1940s. JWs befriended her and she became a JW and pioneered for 50 years.
Another brother moved from the north of England to Scotland in the 1960s with his new wife. He was a bus driver and extremely busy with work so he had no time to be lonely. But he caught a bad illness and was in bed three weeks. The JWs knocked at the door and left some books. He read them, got to know the local JWs and became a JW elder for 40 years. (He died a few weeks ago)
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Most of the older JWs I know became JWs shortly after moving to a new country or to a new town some distance away.
Even JW leaders like Fred Franz converted in similar circumstances. I think Franz was at university and away from home for the first time when he became a Bible Student. Similarly Rutherford bought Russell's books in his hometown in the 1890s, but it was only when he moved to a new state that he got seriously involved.
Plus more recently JW targeting of foreign language and displaced people is well known and seems to have some success.
I wonder if other people have noticed, in their family or old congregations, that older JWs tended to come into the religion when they moved to a new location?