About 9 months ago, I started this thread:
I have had a little spare time, so I thought I would present some of the data in a more user friendly manner, with some additional detail.
1. Median Age
Just to re-hash, in my earlier thread, I reported that from 2006 to 2016, the median age of JWs went from 38.7 to 43.9. Over the same time period, median age in the Aust population increased from 37.0 to 38.1. Median age in a population is the best single number to predict whether a population is in, or about to suffer, a decline. The increase in median age for JWs (over 5 years in a period of 10 years) indicates a major shift. It will probably go higher, but even if it doesn't, it tips JWism into decline in the future.
2. Population Tree
You may have heard of this sort of graph. It also gives a more detailed indication of where a population is heading. Here are 2 population trees for Aust as a whole, which I extracted from the 2006 and 2016 census data:
The first is 2006. The second is 2016. You will see that it doesn't vary that much.
Compare that to the population trees for Aust JWs alone (2006, 2011 and 2016, in order):
Something has been hacking into the lower limbs of that population tree. So much so, it is starting to look like a lolipop. It seems that particularly in the last 10 years, young ones (15 to 25) have been leaving, and it is now starting to have an impact on the number born into the Borg. This is what is driving the median age higher.
3. Pod breeding stock is decreasing
If the above is not enough to convince you that decline is "in the wind", then here is a really simple chart. Every born-in needs a mother. Most born-ins will have a JW mother under 40 years of age. Yes, occasionally a male JW will drag a normal female in, occasionally a female JW over 40 will have a kid, and some come via immigration, but it is pretty safe to say that the bulk of future born-ins will be born to these "females under 40". "Females under 40" are in decline:
That represents a 14% decline in 10 years. The reality is probably a little worse, because a disproportionate number is approaching 40. What this means is that altough the numbers have so far only declined a little, larger decline is inevitable.
4. But aren't all religions losing young ones?
Not to this extent. See for example the population tree for the Seventh Day Adventists. Here is a religion that is only 3/4 the size of the Borg in Aust yet still has more kids in the 0 to 4 age category. Note there is no "lolipop" forming yet.
5. The "Return to Jehovah" effect is significant
I have previously described this effect. In preparing this, I relaise that it is larger than I thought. As shown above, and as you are probably aware, a lot of people leave the Borg between the ages of 15 and 25. It seems to me from the data that a lot of those who leave are POMI, and come back after they start to have kids. This shows up in the date in 2 ways.
Firstly, the census data shows that the number of kids in the 5 to 9 age bracket increases significantly compared to the 0 to 4 age bracket, of 5 years earlier. You can see this in the JW population trees above. This can partially be explained (but not completely) by immigration.
Secondly, there is a large discrepancy between boys and girls in the 0 to 4 age bracket. Eg, in 2016, 5.0% of boys and 3.5% of girls fell into that bracket. The difference between 5.0 and 3.5 is far too large to be random. I think it is that POMI mothers are more likely to "return to jehovah" if they have a young boy to bring into the congregation. However, I would be happy to take any other suggestions as to what is happening here.
If my explanation of the 5.0% vs 3.5% is correct, then it follows that the "Return to Jehovahs" make up 30% or more, of the parents of these young kids. Of course for this to be the case, there would have to be an offsetting outflow of other JWs in the 25 to 30 bracket, to account for the lack of increase in this category.
If what I have said about "Return to Jehovahs" is correct, it seems to me that an effective activism strategy would be to target the POMIs with TTATT. If all these POMIs stopped returning, the effect would be dramatic. (I think the internet is already doing a good job of that, but I thought I would mention it.)
7. Effect of Immigration
The numbers for the Borg in Aust would be worse, if it was not for immigration. I have extracted breakdowns of the number of JWs who (a) in the 2011 census said they resided outside of Australia in 2006 (and hence were not included in the 2006 census), and (b) in the 2016 census said they resided outside of Australia in 2011 (and hence were not included in the 2011 census). In essence:
(a) Between 2006 and 2011, 3472 JWs entered Australia, and the total number of JWs only increased by 4717 (despite all the baptisms over that 5 year period).
(b) Between 2011 and 2016, 2706 JWs entered Australia, but the total number of JWs DECREASED by 3123.
No, we haven't started burying them in a quarry in the outback. It is just that the number of JWs arriving in Aust aren't covering the numbers of young ones leaving the Borg in Aust. (Also of course there would be a smaller but significant number leaving Aust.)