Australian Jehovah's Witness Publisher Statistics
This analysis of Australian Jehovah's Witness Statistics, extrapolated from the Service Year Reports, reveal a significant fall in growth since 1995.
The decrease in growth coincides with the commencement of the Internet information age, which has given ready access to details about Watchtower history, doctrine and current practice. 1995 also saw the release of a revised understanding on when the "generation" concludes, proving the Governing Body no longer have faith that Armageddon is imminent.
Click for a PDF of the data used to create the graphs taken from Watchtower Publisher reports
Please note that the "average publisher" figure was not published for each country in 2017 or 2018, but were again in 2019, which is why there are gaps in the graphs.
The following graph is a rough estimate of the number of Australian Witnesses that stop publishing each year. This has been calculated as the difference between baptisms and the increase in publishers. The trend shown is accurate, but the actual figure is an indication only, since a person usually becomes a publisher prior to being baptised. As some publishers never proceed to baptism the real figure of those leaving is greater than that shown.
In the graph below, since 1997 the blue and yellow columns have regularly become similar heights, showing that for every person joining the Organisation, the same amount leave. On a number of occasions the number leaving has exceeded baptisms, resulting in negative growth.
The following series of graphs are most revealing, showing that in the USA and Australia during the 20 years between 1985 and 2004, the increase in publishers is less than half the number baptised, even after taking into account a 0.87% yearly death rate. The global result is less dramatic as people in undeveloped countries are less likely to have the information required to help them leave.
Average publisher figures have been used in preference to peak publishers for the sake of accuracy. Peak publishers includes double counting. For example, when a publisher submits two or more reports in the same month all are added to the current month.
The following figures are from the Australian Census 2006 as found at abs.gov.au (30th June 2007). These statistics are revealing in comparison to other Christian religions, bringing into question the claim that only Witnesses preach. Whereas most Christian religions are growing, particularly those actively preaching such as Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and Baptists, the number of people admitting to being Jehovah's Witnesses is falling. Jehovah's Witnesses have fallen over the last 10 years by 3%, whilst Baptists have grown by 7% and Mormons by 18%.
There are interesting insights when comparing figures from the 1996 census with the 2016 one. This 20 year period spans back to the introduction of the internet.
The first thing to note is that there has been no growth in people claiming to be Jehovah's Witnesses on the census, yet a 33% growth in the Australian population, a significant real decrease in Jehovah's Witnesses.
The second graph shows that the number reported on the census has not grown, whereas Watchtower publisher records claim they have. One reason is the ability to report less time - 15 minutes per month. The other is that inactive ones are less likely to still believe it is the truth, due to the growth of information on the internet over that time, and so not as many inactive ones still claim to be Jehovah's Witnesses on the census.
You may wonder why the census shows over 80,000 whereas Watchtower claims less than 70,000 Jehovah's Witnesses. This is because Watchtower only counts "publishers", whereas the census also includes children. On the 2011 census the number of children aged 0-9 claiming to be Jehovah's Witnesses was 9,395, which accounts for most of the difference. The rest can be mostly attributed to inactive ones.
For analyses of other Watchtower publisher statistics see:
Paul Grundy 2005 - 2020