I happen to know someone who is at the Congo DR bethel and he has mentioned that there are issues with communication and reporting there. You would think in this day and age that wouldn't be a problem, but it is. There is no functioning mail service there and the other communication services (phones and internet) are spotty. That being said, there is definitely JW growth there, as well as other African nations. The problem for the WT is that the people there are super poor.
2017 Yearbook released
Not convinced that congregation numbers is a better indicator than publisher numbers for the simple reason that there is almost no minimum number needed to have a congregation. You could have a congregation of 100 publishers 30 years ago that has now dwindled to 60 publishers but it still counts as a congregation and if that was the only reporting measure you would not know there was any decline in growth at all.
No doubt there is growth in the Congo, but it's not possible to tell if the figure for last year was accurate, or the figure for this year, or neither. So in terms of global growth it's probably best to ignore it at the moment because inclusion very likely creates a false impression of the global trend.
Another thing about the Congo: it is a country which has had significant independent "Watchtower" movements in the past. I don't know if these are still active, but it is possible that the definition of a JW adherent is slightly more fluid in this region than we are accustomed to elsewhere, such that congregations may be moved inside or outside the organisational umbrella from one year to the next. If so it is possible that a large increase in any given year represents reconnection of the official Watchtower organisation with pre-existing independent congregations.
Western country stats:
Country . . . 2016 . . . . 2015 . . . . Increase / . . . . % Decrease Australia 66689 66753 -64 -0.0959% Austria 21353 21216 137 0.6457% Barbados 2513 2506 7 0.2793% Belgium 24818 24661 157 0.6366% Bermuda 444 448 -4 -0.8929% Britain 134517 134491 26 0.0193% Canada 113954 114123 -169 -0.1481% Denmark 14622 14564 58 0.3982% Finland 18397 18496 -99 -0.5353% France 127087 125519 1568 1.2492% Germany 164243 163871 372 0.2270% Ireland 6407 6281 126 2.0060% Italy 250249 250277 -28 -0.0112% Japan 214173 213818 355 0.1660% Netherlands 29490 29508 -18 -0.0610% New Zealand 13895 13929 -34 -0.2441% Norway 11535 11472 63 0.5492% Spain 110393 109457 936 0.8551% Sweden 22238 22236 2 0.0090% Switzerland 18838 18611 227 1.2197% USA 1198026 1195081 2945 0.2464% Total 2563881 2557318 6563 0.2566%
I've had a quick scan through the worldwide report.
The thing I noticed the most is that the MAJORITY of western countries have 0% or a minus % growth.
This reflects what I see in real life... Publishers have less zeal these days, families are finding it tough, we are bogged down by how we are supposed to live under the Borg. The "truth" has become more boring with all the dumbing down.
Although in number terms there is 1.8% growth - we all know that in reality JW Land is in decline ... As more people leave more will follow... The GB can turn off the lights on the way out.
Assuming I did the math right, memorial partakers increased by 18.69% from 2015 (15,177 in 2015, 18,013 in 2016). This is the largest increase since 2008 when the memorial partakers increased by 9.68% (9,105 in 2007, 9,986 in 2008). Let's see if there'll be another article ranting about how members are mentally and emotionally challenged.
berryjerry those figures don't look right.
For example Japan decreased from 214,523 (2015) to 213,818 (2016) in terms of average publishers and from 215,216 (2015) to 214,173 (2016) in terms of peak publishers.
You seem to be comparing peak and average rather than different years in this instance. Some others looks wrong too at a quick glance.
I think the real figures are a bit worse than in your table.
The reduction in branch staff is a huge statistic - a 24% drop in one year! This must be unprecedented.
Plus the reduction in spending on travelling overseers, missionaries and special pioneers, a massive 10% drop. I wonder how they managed that, considering it must be difficult to reduce the number of COs, and there can't be an awful lot of missionaries and special pioneers. Did they get rid of special pioneers? (After promising to look after retired COs in this way?) Or did they reduce the amount of money they give individual COs, special pioneers and missionaries.
"You seem to be comparing peak and average"
2016 Average to 2015 Average
(Peak numbers are meaningless)
The average for Japan in those years are not the figures you give.