Current JW growth is slower than during most of their history. The only probable exceptions are following 1975 when there was a brief worldwide decrease, the late 1920s when around half of the members left the movement, perhaps around the 1917 schism, and various schisms during Russell’s time. There were also periods of sluggish growth during the 1950/60s and around 2000.
Nevertheless the current period of poor growth does seem to be more serious because of its persistence (arguably continuous downturn since around the time of the 1995 generation change) and simultaneous financial, ideological, prophectic, legal, and leadership problems, to name a few.
At the same time, I think it is only fair to note that western societies have undergone a massive transformation in religious landscape during the past few decades and it only stands to reason that JWs should be affected to some extent by the secularising trends of society as a whole.
The United States arrived late to the secularisation party, but in the past couple of decades they seem to have made up for lost time and religion as a whole is in steep decline. Some of the declines are so steep it’s almost difficult to believe. It’s almost as if the US is belatedly trying to catch up with European secularity.
So allowing for the fact that current JW growth is pretty poor by their own historical standards, including in the United States itself, I think it’s worth asking how JWs have been doing in comparison with other groups. I made a comparison of JWs with other groups in Scotland between 1960 and 2020 in another thread. Here I present a comparison of JW growth with some of major groups in the United States between 2000 and 2016.
United Methodist Church 8,340,954 in 2000 down to 6,951,278 in 2016 –17%
American Baptist Churches 1,436,909 in 2000 down to 1,159,492 in 2016 –19%
Episcopal Church 2,333,327 in 2000 down to 1,745,156 in 2016 –25%
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 5,125,919 in 2000 down to 3,563,842 in 2016 –30%
United Church of Christ 1,377,320 in 2000 down to 880,383 in 2016 –36%
Presbyterian Church USA 2,525,330 in 2000 down to 1,482,767 in 2016 –41%
Disciples of Christ 820,286 in 2000 down to 411,140 in 2016 –50%
Southern BaptistConvention 15,900,000 in 2000 down to 15,216,978 in 2016 –4%
Presbyterian Church in America 306,156 in 2000 up to 374,161 in 2016 +22%
Assemblies of God USA 1,637,665 in 2000 up to 2,004,897 in 2016 +22%
Evangelical Free Church of America 300,00 in 2000 up to 371,191 in 2016 +23%
Jehovah’s Witnesses 945,000 in 2000 up to 1,198,026 in 2016 +27%
I got these figures from this YouTube video. I trust they are accurate.
They show dramatic declines, and are consistent with other reports about the decline of churches in the United States. The figures only go to 2016 and in all likelihood declines have got worse since then across the board.