2017 Yearbook released
Some interesting (I hope) peak to peak figures from the developed world. Highest figure in bold.
"Britain" - 2016 - 138,261 - 2015 - 137,631 - 2014 - 138,515 - 2013 - 136,993
Australia - 2016 - 67,418 - 2015 - 67,606 - 2014 - 68,635 - 2013 - 66,918
Germany - 2016 - 165,624 - 2015 - 165,754 - 2014 - 166,262 - 2013 - 164,885
Italy - 2016 - 251,092 - 2015 - 251,032 - 2014 - 251,650 - 2013 - 248,743
U.S.A - 2016 - 1,231,609 - 2015 - 1,231,867 - 2014 - 1,243,387 - 2013 - 1,219,931
Note that for the above group this year's peak is lower than two years ago.
France bucks the trend a little ...
France - 2016 - 128,759 - 2015 - 127,444 - 2014 - 127,961 - 2013 - 124, 674
But look at Canada. Lower peak than in 2013.
Canada - 2016 - 115,006 - 2015 - 115,234 - 2014 - 116,312 - 2013 - 115,599
And my favourite - Japan!
Japan - 2016 - 214,173 - 2015 - 215,216 - 2014 - 215,703 - 2013 - 216,472
My fav stat is this!
13,673 hrs in service to gain 1 person as an average publisher.
That is SOO SAD!
growth was only 145,079 in ave pubs.
ALSO by my count 87 countries showing ZERO or NEGATIVE growth. I think that 10 more than last year:)\
LOVE this on page 2 - what a joke:)
That vision reminds us that the celestial part of Jehovah’s universal organization is always on the move. And the earthly part? The past service year has clearly shown that Jehovah is moving his organized people on earth at an amazing pace as well!
Thank you for sharing those numbers, bohm. I've learned that they mean something to some people.
The negative growth and zeros please me very much. I hope that 2018 is even more satisfying.
There's something very strange going on in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last year they decreased by 2% and this year they they increased by 22%, meaning that this one country adds 38,000 publishers to the overall increase for the year.
If we remove the Democratic Republic of Congo from the overall figures, growth for last year would still have been 1.5% but the increase for this year would have been just 1.3% instead of 1.8%.
If you ignore the Republic of Congo the overall figures don't look very good. In particular it is very interesting to note that the number of congregations is beginning to decrease in a number of countries. In my opinion this is the most significant development and it is the key number to keep an eye on for decline.
The peak publisher figure for the United States is down slightly from last year. Plus the number of congregations is down in the United States. Is that the first time ever there has been a decrease in congregations in the United States?
USA's "peak" has dropped two years in a row - down over 11,778 since 2014.
SBF: I agree with the DRC numbers being odd. I don't think you can have natural growth of 22% in such a large country so I am assuming it is some kind of migration event or a change in legal standings of the WTS.
Regarding "congregations", isn't it a problem that this number includes(?) language congregations and isn't counting the number of buildings?
bohm I have made the argument elsewhere that congregation number is the best measure of growth or decline that there is for JWs (or religions generally) for a number of reasons:
1. Unlike almost every other figure, it cannot easily be faked. Congregation names, locations, and meeting times are publicly listed. If they claimed more congregations than actually exist they would get caught.
2. Definitions of everything change over time: publisher (15 minutes), pioneer (how many hours?), Bible Study (door step study, family study?), making diachronic analysis sometimes difficult. Among all the data that are collected there is a good argument to be made that the definition of a "congregation" is among the more stable.
3. Another way of looking at the issue is that growth or decline involves slightly more than simply number of adherents. There is the component of commitment and enthusiasm to consider. And the number of congregations captures this slightly better than the pure publisher number. Because it takes commitment to form and maintain a congregation and to fulfill all the duties associated with a congregation. If the number of congregations begins to decline before the publisher number declines (as is often the case in various countries) this tells us something important and is indicative of "decline" in a broader sense, I would suggest.
4. The countries that are showing real decline show that decline most severely in the number of congregations. Take Japan for example that has declined by around 3 or 4% in terms of publishers, but by over 20% in terms of number of congregations. That's a huge indication of decline that is somewhat masked by the publisher figure.
5. Plus, and this is one of the best reasons for focussing on congregation number in my view, it makes JW figures easily comparable with other religions. It is easy to get bogged down comparing JWs with other religions such as Mormons or Baptists or whatever, because they have wildly different concepts of: adherents, members, publishers and so on. But the concept of a "congregation" is common to all and remarkably similar. Mormon claims to have more members than JWs in the UK, for example, are belied by the fact that they have fewer than half the number of congregations. Plus over time, no organisation that is truly growing will decrease in terms of number of congregations.
Quite simply congregation number is the best measure of growth across time and in comparison with other religious groups.
If the publisher figure for the Democratic Repblic of Congo was the result of migration across borders it should be easy to spot where around 38,000 publishers have been lost from a neighbouring country. I can't see any indication of that.
It seems to me they have got issues with data collection for the Congo and therefore absolute figures and fluctuations are not reliable for this country. I would argue that removing the figure from the total might therefore give a more accurate picture of global growth. If so, worldwide growth this year is slightly down on last year.
SBF: I think you have me convinced on the number of congregations, but it is still a pity it does not accurately reflect how many physical kingdom halls there are as this is the really interesting number.