Comparing Total Numbers Baptized During the 1990s and the Last Ten Years:
Sometimes, comparing raw numbers provides a more clear-cut numerical picture of growth or otherwise than percentages.
Below are the numbers for peak publishers (rounded off so that 4,1 represents more than 4,100,000) for each year throughout the 1990s and those for the last ten years.
Year: Peak* Baptisms
1990: ( 4,1) 301,518
1991: ( 4,2) 300,945
1992: ( 4,4) 301,002
1993: ( 4,7) 296,004
1994: (4,9) 314,818
1995: (5,1) 338,491
1996: (5,4) 366,579
1997: (5,5) 375,923
1998: (5,8) 316,092
1999: (5,9) 323,439
2006: (6,7) 248,327
2007: (6,9) 298,304
2008: (7,1) 289,678
2009: (7,3) 276,233
2010: (7,5) 294,368
2011: (7,6) 263,131
2012: (7,7) 268,777
2013: (7,9) 277,344
2014: (8,2) 275,581
2015: (8,2) 260,273
2016: (8,3) 264,535
* Peak publishers abbreviated - simply to show annual baptisms in relation to peak publishers.
The main point:
During the 1990s, baptisms - with one exception in 1993 - exceeded 300,000, whereas in the last ten years, annual baptisms have never exceeded 300,000.
Would be interested in seeing these numbers for Europe alone, and also for the US. I'm pretty sure the decline would show more significant. I suspect this more tenuous decline is only because of third world countries picking up the slack.
At the baptism peak in 1997, it took the efforts of about 15 publishers to produce one new disciple (5.5 million / 375,000).
In 2016, it took the efforts of about 31 publishers to produce one disciple (8.3 million / 264,000).
Diminishing returns - more JWs are spending many more hours in the ministry, but those hours are increasingly less fruitful.
The slope of the growth curve has turned, actually turned about 2 decades ago. Unless something fundamentally radical happens, stagnation, and then decline, is inevitable.
The other interesting number is the phantom gap of deaths, DFs , fades etc. Is it higher than natural wastage would predict? How does the overall curve compare with a product life cycle bell curve? Can statistics predict this on business lines?
If we have a business studies expert maybe this could shed (new) light on the subject.
more JWs are spending many more hours in the ministry, but those hours are increasingly less fruitful.And probably because most of the hours counted are usually wasted. I remember when I was little, and my mother went preaching, they really maximized their time, hitting as many houses as possible, sometimes talking to people in between houses on the street.
I'm fairly certain these days the goal is to do anything but talk to people, like slowly move between homes talking, plenty of coffee breaks, return visits, driving, miscelaneous activities counted as preaching, cart droning, etc. How could they ever get anybody's interest?
They are simply lucky that Jdub drones continue to have kids, which considering they believe the world is about the end, is in itself mind boggling.
2000-2005 missing. can you add them? I am trying to see a continuous trend.
Comparing the two blocks of data (nineties and the last 10 years) we get an average decline of 7.6 percent. (from an average of 323,481 to 298,856)
I don't believe these numbers for one minute. They show continued growth and pretty consistent, problem is these are baptisms of people already publishers and what about all the ones that leave or die each year. I'm mean just think about all the children in the halls counted as publishers then leaving the cult when they later can, that percentage is huge, but it never shows up in the numbers!
I believe the numbers have been monipulated since 1977 or about that time not to continue to show how many left after the 1975 debacle. They started lying back then and never stopped.
I think they've pulled out all the stops to keep the numbers up. Remember the "loving provision" of 15 minute reporting in about 2003? That kept some of the oxygen tent dodgers in the numbers.
Also the trend for younger baptisms is obviously going to mean even younger unbaptised publishers starting.
The increasing lifespans by 3 or 4 years between 2000 and now in the developed world and by 6 or 7 years in poorer countries also means the death rate is lower which helps the borg overall numbers if not their ratio to population.
The borg have also given a lot of froth and bubble between 2013 and 2016 - new bible for English speakers in 2013; the 100 year anniversary 2014; jborg website and trolley/cartwork; Caleb and Sophia big screens at the conventions with JWvideos and a CLAM meeting for 2016 instead of school/service meeting.
It is all beginning to wear thin now.
The problem for them is that nothing is working to bring in new recruits that aren't mentally or emotionally disturbed. In fact the sell off of KH's, closing bethels, child abuse lawsuits and overlapping generations are unsettling to many and an increasing cause of apathy to others.
I believe that the downturn in the "west" will continue in the next yearbook; if the first drop in worldwide numbers since the late 1970's occurs this year I will not be surprised.
Slightly off topic, but I wonder how much of an impact the 15 minute arrangement had on the peak publishers statistic. How many old people were they able to continue counting as active publishers who would have otherwise fallen off the roles?
And it's not just the 15 minute arrangement itself, but the wink-and-nod to elders to do everything in their power to ensure these elderly folks don't fall into the ranks of the inactive.
Unless something fundamentally radical happens.....
For just a moment I am going to put on the ol' JDub hat and say that something fundamentally radical is going to happen...soon...the Big A! The proof is that the preaching work and the in gathering of those in line for a life of petting pandas is obviously drawing to a close.
Okay, now that I have parroted the JDub line that I think I will go be sick...