Aust 2016 Census observations: JW's getting older, more kids leaving, and 30+ group aren't returning

by shepherdless 23 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • jwfacts

    It would be interesting to see which age group has the most leave and which is the most stable. From a quick glance, the numbers drop sharply as the move from 15 to 20 to 25. Stablise for 40 year olds, and the drop again as people start to die off.

  • smiddy

    The WT/JW`s " Wont end with with a bang but a whimper" apologies to Neville Shute .

  • cofty

    Really good work thank you for posting it. As you say looking at the diagonals is revealing.

  • pale.emperor

    I'd estimate that 80% only return to get back with their family. This is the strongest handle the WT has on it's members. Without the shunning of family rule the religion would lose power.

    The zeal is gone. As i witnesses for myself only yesterday when trying to speak to young witnesses doing the carts. (You can read about that here:

    And not just from the youngsters, the older generation in my last congregation were either depressed, infirm or just wanted to do pursue their hobbies and spend time with their never JW family members.

    I give it 50 years.

  • shepherdless

    Thanks everyone.

    Just a few brief points:

    From a quick glance, the numbers drop sharply as the move from 15 to 20 to 25. Stablise for 40 year olds, and the drop again as people start to die off.

    Yes, that is broadly it. I have a 1 year breakdown as well, that shows that the numbers drop in a virtually continuous trickle, and then stops at about age 27. Any other group is reasonably stable.

    The 5 year increase in median age over a ten year period is quite astounding. Pity not all countries have reached this stage yet.

    Buried in the detail of the 2014 Pew Research into US religion, a similar trend of increasing median age for JW's, is shown. I suspect something similar may be happening there, and a lot of other places. [Note: the Pew report calculates median ages of adults (ie those over 18). To compare the Pew medians to the ones in my OP, subtract 9]

    It is a good point that inactive ones return when having children. Sadly, I have seen that is often the case with ones that leave and marry unbelievers and then return upon childbirth.
    Yes, I married a POMI. That is why I am here. Admiral Akbar said it best:

    I will try to get some more interesting data out in the next few days.

  • jwleaks

    Great work.

    Over a 10 year period in Australia -

    Year 2006: Aust population: 37.0 - JW's: 38.7

    Year 2016: Aust population: 38.1 - JW's: 43.9

    The median Australian population age has increased by 3%

    The median JW population age has increasedby 13.5%

    This means in 10 years (2026) the median Australian population age will be 39.2

    This means in 10 years (2026) the median JW population age will be 49.8

    This means in another 10 years (2036) the median JW population age will be 56.5

    JWs in 2046 = 64.1

    JWs in 2056 = 72.3

    The population of JWs is aging. If the Watchtower and governing body were aware of this then they would engage in a special effort to increase child baptisms and child retention by marketing their products to children.

  • shepherdless

    Thanks jwleaks. I just should point out that those numbers are unlikely to increase in a linear fashion. The median age could well go over 50, but may well start to drift down again as the baby boomers die off. By the time it reaches a median age of 72.3, it will just be a few old ladies in a nursing home.

  • road to nowhere
    road to nowhere

    They are targeting children with all the silly videos. Always have pushed child baptism as a "protection", not as a dedication. As for zeal, look at the disjointed service groups, never able to get to gether with different friends, and then not enough territory. An hour service uses up a half day with the dressing and fooling around. Then there are the 3rd grade WT studies, simple talks, constant pounding, but no real love.

  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    This trend is pretty obvious in the US as well. Just go to a RC and see the elderly seating section. It used to be fairly small, now I've seen places with huge swaths of seats reserved. Lots of grey hair at the local KHs.

    I'm pretty sure the WTS is aware of the trend and while they are using videos and pushing kids to get baptized earlier, its really not enough. Many very restrictive and conservative fundamental Christian groups use a variety of youth programs to keep their young folks at least interested. What does the WTS do? Make videos. Really nothing else.

    If they wanted to make an impact, they would organize youth groups, have an elder assigned as a "youth pastor", organize activities beside just FS and maybe even have a section of the mid-week meeting where they break off into various special interest groups (youth, elderly, parents, singles) and have programs directed specifically at their needs as opposed to the one sized fits all type of programming they do.

    Because the organization has always been focused on recruitment, they have neglected retention. And because retention is low, they have nothing in the pipeline for the future.

    The other thing the aging trend does beyond losing members is losing those who can step into leadership positions. Which puts pressure on older elders to do more, in turn burning them out or at least creating apathy. It's a vicious cycle of decline.

    They don't seem to have anyone with a creative bone in their body that can come up with different ideas. They go back to the only thing they know, beat their members.

  • Londo111

    Children have never been valued in this organization. The directive during the Judge's day was, "Don't have children", and then it gradually softened. None of the meetings were designed with kids in mind.

    And of course, Watchtower would be loath to have a youth group because that would open more liability for lawsuits.

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