New study - JWs by far the least educated religious group in Canada, Australia and New Zealand

by slimboyfat 41 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • slimboyfat

    The Religion of the Educated Classes Revisited: New Religions, the Nonreligious, and Educational Levels - James R. Lewis

    The measure Lewis uses to compare religious groups is what percentage of members of the respective religions have graduated from college.

    The findings are similar to the results of the Pew Survey in the United States. However they are based on census results of the whole population and are therefore not extrapolated figures or subject to margin of error as the Pew Survey was. It's therefore a much more robust evidence base for demonstrating that JWs are the least educated religious group in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    Only 6.3% of Jehovah's Witnesses in Canada have completed college, compared with 20.9% of the general population (Catholics 17.7%). In Australia 5.33% of JWs have graduated from college, compared with the national average of 14.5% (Catholics 19.09%). And in New Zealand the respective figures are 4.94% and 14.17% (Catholics 18.7%).

    The only other religious group that comes anywhere close to JWs in lack of education is Satanism is New Zealand. But they are a relatively small religious group (just over 1000 members) and marginally more adult Satanists than JWs have a college degree.

    Members of all other religious groups are significantly more likely than JWs to have completed college. This indicates a high level of obedience among JWs to the leadership's direction to avoid higher education. Especially when you consider that of the few JWs who have gone to college, many may have done so before conversion, indicating that only a tiny percentage of those who are brought up as JWs manage to go to college while remaining in the religion.

  • ILoveTTATT2

    Too bad you have to buy the full text... =(

  • zeb

    Well well now thats a surprise.....

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    All around the world, groups of JWs are cheering and chanting,

    "We're number zero! We're number zero!"

  • shepherdless

    Canada and Australia each have only just completed, or are in the process of completing a census. (The one in Australia has been a debacle.) So the book must be based upon the results of the 2011 census in each country. I think NZ had a census in 2013.

    As a result, I suspect the data and book SBF refers to is a bit out of date.

    A while ago, I managed to download a whole heap of data about JW's from the Australian 2011 and 2006 censuses. I have had a plan to get the data from the 2016 Aust census and produce a comprehensive and up-to-date summary, showing trends. It will be a few months away, because typically, it is a while before the results of a census are released.

    I don't have the data with me as I write this, but from memory it not only showed JW's were way less likely to get tertiary education, they also earn far less and have slightly fewer children. They are also getting older than the overall population, and have around the same divorce rate as the general population. In the older age brackets, there are far more women than men.

    In a side note, I read an old thread about the Aust census where people were puzzled why there were more JW's listed on the census than publishers listed in the yearbook. The answer is simple. Take out the JW's aged between 1 and 10 and the numbers almost match. (Take out JW's between 1 to 15 and there are too many publishers.)

  • wannaexit
  • steve2

    In New Zealand, there is consistently a third more JWs in the Census records than active Witnesses in the organization's annual reports because the Census figure includes children and babies and

    , inevitably, inactive JWs who continue to identify as affiliated with JWs.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Shepherdless claimed, "They [JWs] are also getting older than the overall population..."


    Is that because the JWs are using the lunatic calendar?

    Seriously, how could that be? Although they often don't act it, they are on the same planet as the rest of us.

  • shepherdless


    I think your question is in jest, but just to clarify to lurkers, what I meant was the median age of JW's in Aust went up in 2011 compared to 2006, and also compared to the median age of the overall population. They are not individually getting older at a faster rate. There are just fewer young JW's coming through the life cycle.

    I don't have the data with me at the moment, as I have it on another computer. I will pull it out and post it, but it might take me a day or so. One of the things I created was a breakdown of no of JW's per 5 year age group from 2006 and 2011, and given the censuses were 5 years apart, I could line the 2 data-sets alongside each other and see how many dropped out of each 5 year cohort. (The results were unsurprising, but interesting all the same.)

  • Ruby456

    irreligion comes our as a religion of the educated as does mysticism. Also many among those who marked themselves as no religion did believe in alternative realities and in personal Gods.

    but back to sbf's points - Jehovah's witnesses who are categorized among protestant sects and these sects are considered to be less well educated than others (by educated it means BA or more) JWs are at the bottom of that pile. This category includes jws, salvation army and latter day saints.

    all figures refer to age 20-64 - so children teens and babies are not included nor are elderly ones.

    most figs for NZ are from 2006 and before as recent earthquakes there disrupted gathering from more recent stats databases when scholars were examining the evidence for this article

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