< Return to Largest Religious Communities|
The Largest Communities of Jehovah's Witnesses
Interesting JW StatisticsIn the United States, the Jehovah's Witnesses are among the top 10 religious bodies with the most meeting places/congregations, and they have among the smallest congregation sizes of any group.
The Jehovah's Witnesses are among the top 10 largest international religious bodies in the world, whether one counts all adherents or strictly publishers.
In SRC American National Election studies, Jehovah's Witnesses ranked first among all religious groups in the percentage of their adherents who believe in Biblical literalness (from combined 1960, '64, '80, '84 data. Source: Classifying Protestant Denominations, Tom W. Smith, October 1986, GSS Methodological Report No. 43. General Social Survey project directed by James A. Davis and Tom W. Smith. A later version of this paper was published in Review of Religious Research, 31 (March, 1990), 225-245).
No denomination in the world is responsible for as many hours of proselytizing as the Jehovah's Witnesses. In the most recent year reported, the Witnesses provided over one billion "volunteer hours spent in public Bible educational work." [Source: Public Affairs Office of Jehovah's Witnesses]
By winning more court cases in the Supreme Court than any other religious group, Jehovah's Witnesses are responsible for many of the freedoms of speech and religion that all Americans now have. [Source: Tony Mauro, "Thank Jehovah's Witnesses for speech freedoms", USA Today, 30 May 2000.]
Their Public Affairs Office mentions some research done by sociologists indicating the unusual degree to which the Jehovah's Witnesses represent a successful, cohesive, distinctive global tribe. For example:
After studying social life in Zambia for a year and a half, a researcher from the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, concluded that "Jehovah's Witnesses experience greater success than members of other denominations in maintaining stable marital unions . . . Husband and wife are encouraged to be individuals with integrity . . . This overriding demand for integrity cements marriage."
Note about JW adherent/member/publisher statisticsThe national-level data for Jehovah's Witnesses presented on this page come from their own yearly reports. Jehovah's Witness records are known to be exceptionally precise and reliable. But it should be kept in mind that these figures are based on "average monthly publishers," i.e. the average through the year of monthly counts of "publishers." Publishers are Jehovah's Witnesses in good standing who have submitted a report of their proselyting activity during the month.
This standard for being counted as a "member" means the Jehovah's Witness statistics are perhaps the most conservative figures presented by any religious group. A more realistic measure of how many "adherents" the group has can probably be obtained by looking at their Memorial attendance figures. These figures are simply the count of people at their yearly communion meeting. Attendance at a yearly meeting may not seem like a high standard for being counted as an adherent, but it is actually the standard used by groups such as Anglicans to issue estimates of "active" membership.
In practice, a large number of people counted in Memorial attendance figures but not counted as publishers may simply be guests or investigators. But an even larger number are people who consider themselves Jehovah's Witnesses, but aren't currently fulfilling duties required to be counted as a publisher. Roughly speaking, one can either look at the Memorial attendance figures, or double the number of publishers they announce, in order to estimate the number of people in a region who consider themselves part of the religion.
It may also be noted that Jehovah's Witness reports summarize data based on "lands" and not strictly by nations as defined by the United Nations. In fact, Hawaii and Alaska are still listed separately from the United States.
Additional Jehovah's Witnesses links - off site
Top 20 Lands with Highest Proportion of
|Virgin Islands (British)||159||0.94|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||117||0.72|