Time for some more stats, for your interest and comments...
It has been well documented in the past that, as a group, incomes for JWs are lower than virtually any other religion, in Australia. Rather than repeat that exercise here, I set out some detail about the gap between JWs and ordinary Australians.
1. JWs typically earn much less
Here is a bar chart of income brackets, comparing JW incomes against other Australians. Note that the blue bars are longer than the gold bars at the bottom, and shorter at the top.
From the data behind that chart, I calculated median incomes as follows:
- 2016 Aust median income: A$577
- 2016 JW median income: A$420
In other words, the typical JW income is 3/4 of the income of a typical Australian.
2. Comparing 2011 Census
Doing the same exercise for the 2011 census gives:
- 2011 Aust median income: A$662
- 2011 JW median income: A$411
These figures would indicate that over the 5 year period:
- Aust median income increased 14.7%
- JW median income increased only 2.2% (but see below)
3. How is the disparity occurring?
The above numbers give the appearance that JWs are not only well behind other Australians, but that the gap is widening dramatically. However, first impressions can be deceiving. To do a real comparison, you have to strip out the following effects:
- JWs are now typically significantly older than the typical Australian;
- As I explained on an earlier thread, that age difference widened significantly between the 2011 census and the 2016 census; and
- For JWs over the age of 20, women dramatically outnumber men (relevant because women typically have lower incomes).
One may also wonder, given Aust's high immigration rates, whether immigration is a factor. I can answer that it does not appear to be a significant factor. I will leave the explanation for a later date.
4 Allowing for the age and sex factors
To remove the above age and sex factors, I downloaded the income data again, but for males only, in separate 5 year cohorts. I then calculated individual median incomes for each cohort. After that, I repeated the exercise, but first filtered the data for those who reported themselves as JWs.
It was time consuming and mind-numbing. don't try it yourself; unless you have a lot of Panadol on hand.
I then used the resultant data to produce the following chart:
The graph speaks for itself. Young male JWs actually earn slightly more. I suspect that is because they skip tertiary education and get a head start in the workforce. Not long after that, they fall behind their "worldly" colleagues. It could be because they are burnt out, or lack workplace social skills, but I suspect it is more because they lack the qualifications to achieve in the workforce, beyond the menial jobs.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that male JW's typically earn significantly less compared to other Australians. Combining all males between ages 20 and 69, I calculated JW males typically earnt 17% less, which, over 49 years (20 to 69) amounts to A$390,000.
One possibility that occurred to me was that the chart could be an indication that perhaps younger male JW's were getting less dragged down by the religion. To test this, I repeated the whole exercise for the 2011 census results. The 2011 data shows the same story, as set out in the combined chart below.
One good thing I noticed comparing 2011 data and 2016 data, is that the number of male JW's aged between 20 and 69 decreased from 26,482 to 25,055. That is a 5.4% decrease, compared to a 3.6% decrease for JWs overall, in the same period.
Also, I calculated that back in 2011, male JW's ages between 20 and 69 typically earnt 23% less compared to other Australians. So it seems that 2016 was an improvement. Perhaps that is an indication that they are becoming more "worldly".
- 2016 census data shows that JWs earn significantly less than other Australians. This is true, even when allowing for age and sex factors.
- At face value, comparing 2011 to 2016 census data suggests that the income discrepancy is getting worse. When removing distorting factors (ie that JWs are ageing and predominantly female), the income discrepancy is not increasing, and is perhaps decreasing.
- I do my own calculations of "median income". I have used the same method each time, so if I am out slighly in one, it should be out by the same amount in all.
- I only deal with nominal incomes; no adjustment for CPI (inflation).
- I am an amateur. I don't analyse stats in my "day job".