Aust Census Data shows decrease while Yearbook shows increase
On threads about 8 or 9 months ago, I put up some detailed data from the 2011 and 2006 Australian censuses. Data from the 2016 census is becoming available in stages, and I mentioned recently that I would do an update. Finally, as of about today, some data of interest is available, and I have started to look at this, but it is time consuming, and I am time-poor.
Anyway, the first search I have conducted is just a simple breakdown of the number of People describing themselves as JW's. Here are the results, for each of the last 3 censuses:
Year 2006 (when Watchtower Yearbook reported 60,022 av pubs): 80,918
Year 2011 (when Watchtower Yearbook reported 64,498 av pubs): 85,498
Year 2016 (when Watchtower Yearbook reported 66,689 av pubs): 82,512
Just to repeat what I said in an earlier post, e census numbers are always going to be larger than the Yearbook number, because the census numbers include kids in the same household. Eg, the 2011 census listed 5,162 JW's aged 10 to 14, 4,857 aged 5 to 9, and 4,538 aged 0 to 4.
I couldn't initially believe the data for 2016, but I extracted it two separate ways, and repeated it for each census database in the same manner. I also extracted a breakdown by gender, which gave for the 2016 census: 35,913 male and 46,600 female (totalling 82,513).
So from 2011 to 2016, when Aust population grew by about 7 or 8%, average publishers increased by 3.4%, the number of people who stated they were JW's on the census DECREASED by 3.5%.
To add to that, it is less than 20 years ago:
1996 - 83,414
2001 - 81,069
Australia's population has grown 33% in that time period.
1996 18 million
2016 24 million
I dont believe the Australian service report is wrong. Over the years the org has shown in many lands the figures, even when they are very bad. There would be no point printing figures that are wrong for just a few countries
I'm surprised there there is only an imbalance of 11,000 between male and female JWs. I would of thought the imbalance would of been greater than that. To have a difference of 4.5% growth between jws and the population, would suggest Wt is slowly losing its youth.
alanv: I dont believe the Australian service report is wrong.
Personally, I don't think Watchtower is lying or making up figures. I suspect the av pubs numbers are just as reported to them. I suspect something else is going on.
jwfacts: yes, given that Australia was one of the first places outside USA where Watchtower was established, it really has been a disappointing "Land" for Watchtower.
Thanks shepherdless. I'm not sure why you found the results surprising. I would have expected a decrease. The census results in Canada display a similar pattern. Two main things stand out when comparing census results with yearbook figures: 1) more people claim to be JWs in census returns than are counted as publishers in the yearbook (this is due to inactive JWs as well as children being counted in the census but not in the yearbook) and 2) the trend in census returns in Canada and elsewhere shows greater signs of decline than yearbook figures.
What I think is happening is Australia, Canada and elsewhere is quite simple. In recent years the WT has squeezed extra publisher numbers by encouraging reporting time and relaxing the minimum to 15 minutes for old JWs. At the same time the pool of inactive JWs who still identify as JWs on census forms has reduced because former JWs now have less goodwill toward the organisation than they did in previous decades. This is because of 1) information and ex-JW community on the Internet 2) media stories about JW abuse 3) the Australian Royal commission 4) former members more commonly pursuing education and intellectual life outside organisation.
What would be really fascinating would be an age profile of JWs from the latest data if possible. I predict that the average age of JWs is climbing rapidly.
In a census when people are asked their religion relatives who are not now practicing their religion will still identify themselves as JW`s ,even ones that are DF`d are still likely to identify themselves as JW`s .
Many that have just drifted away without going to meetings anymore and have not definetely decided they dont want to be associated with JW`s are still likely to identify themselves as a JW on a Census form.
Many people that no longer associate with the JW religion are ones that I describe as persons who have left the "truth" but the "truth" has never left them
They may never go to a KH meeting for the rest of their life but they will still identify themselves as a Jehovahs witness (just in case it is true the indoctrination/ hedging their bets I would say.)
So I would take what a Census says about the population of jehovahs Witnesses in Australia with a grain of salt.
it is obviously overstated.
Food for thought :How many Jw`s are their in peak publishers in the yearbook in a given year and how many are reported in the same yearbook for memorial attendance ?
A big discrepancy I believe.
The indoctrination/superstitions that many people have
Yes sbf, that explanation is broadly what I am thinking. I wasn't aware of the results of the Canadian census. I am still surprised, though.
Joe: I'm surprised that there is only an imbalance of 11,000 between male and female JW's.
It is around the same imbalance that came out of the 2011. There is no gender imbalance in the age groups below 20, so that 11,000 imbalance is worse than it initially looks.
I will try to extract more interesting data over the next few days.
Thanks shepherdless - I appreciate your following through presenting the latest Australian census data. The higher - but declining overall - number found in the census is not surprising for reasons well outlined by SBF.
The average number of publishers continues to climb - but increasingly slowly - if that descriptor makes sense. There is a simular trend in New Zealand, with census results higher than publisher numbers but declining overall. I will present them when I can over the next few days.
It is safe to say the heyday of consistent JW growth in both census and Yearbook reports is over.
Knowing the Aussie and kiwi "makeups" I have no doubt that it is sheer boredom/indifference that finds fewer people identifying as JWs and possibly a reduced birth rate - so fewer infants identified as JWs. I acknowledge key JW organization outreach work carried out by ex- JWs - especially in Australia.
But it is no secret that most who drift it back slide are as interested in the Watchtower's shadowy history as a fish is in rain forest preservation.