Demographics of Jehovah's Witnesses

As of 2018, Jehovah's Witnesses reported a monthly average membership of approximately 8.36 million actively involved in preaching, with a peak of 8.58 million.[1] Jehovah's Witnesses have an active presence in most countries, though they do not form a large part of the population of any country.

To be counted, an individual must be a publisher, and report some amount of time preaching to non-members, normally at least an hour per month. Under certain circumstances, such as chronic and debilitating illness, members may report increments of 15 minutes. Jehovah's Witnesses' preaching activity is self-reported, and members are directed to submit a 'Field Service Report' each month. Baptized members who fail to submit a report every month are termed 'irregular'. Those who do not submit a report for six continuous months are termed 'inactive'.[2] For 2018, more than 2 billion hours of preaching were reported and over 280,000 new members were baptized, with a net increase of about 140,000. More than 10 million home Bible studies with Jehovah's Witnesses were reported,[1] including Bible studies conducted by Witness parents with their children.[3][4]

Jehovah's Witnesses' official statistics only count as members those who submit reports for preaching activity, usually resulting in lower membership numbers than those found by external surveys. For example, Jehovah's Witnesses report approximately 1.2 million active publishers in the United States, whereas the Pew Research Center reported that Jehovah's Witnesses make up 0.8% of the US population (approximately 2.5 million).[5] Their official statistics indicate membership according to various territories—which they refer to as "lands"—many of which are not independent countries.

The number of people who attend Jehovah's Witnesses' annual commemoration of the Memorial of Christ's death (also termed the Lord's Evening Meal) includes active Witnesses, their children, and others who are invited to attend. According to official statistics, worldwide attendance at the 2018 celebration of the Memorial was about 20.3 million.[1] Of those attending worldwide, more than 19,500 people partook of the memorial emblems of unleavened bread and wine.[1] Those who partake profess to be of the 144,000 "anointed" and hope to go to heaven, based on their interpretation of Revelation 14:1.

Congregations are generally organized geographically, and members are directed to attend the Kingdom Hall to which their neighborhood has been assigned, resulting in an ethnic mix generally representative of local population, though congregations based on language and ethnicity have also been formed.[6][7][8] In the United States, 37% of adults who self-identify as Jehovah's Witnesses are African Americans.

'Lands' Peak Publishers Increase over 2017 Congregations Average Bible Studies Memorial Attendance Memorial Partakers
240 8,579,909 1.4% 119,954 10,079,709 20,329,317 19,521



See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "2018 Grand Totals". Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society.
  2. ^ "Keep the Word of Jehovah Moving Speedily". Our Kingdom Ministry: 1. October 1982.
  3. ^ "Question Box–Should a family Bible study be reported to the congregation?". Our Kingdom Ministry. Watch Tower Society: 3. November 2003.
  4. ^ "Question Box—May both parents report the time used for the regular family study?". Our Kingdom Ministry: 3. September 2008.
  5. ^ "Religious Landscape Study". PewResearchCenter.
  6. ^ "My Love for the Earth Will Be Satisfied Forever". Awake!: 15. August 22, 1998. Additionally, congregations of Aboriginal people have been formed in Adelaide, Cairns, Ipswich, Perth, and Townsville.
  7. ^ "My Love for the Earth Will Be Satisfied Forever", Awake!, August 22, 1998, ©Watch Tower, page 12-15
  8. ^ "I Have Found Many Good Things". The Watchtower: 32. April 15, 2011. Today, Ibarra has six Spanish-speaking congregations, one Quichua-speaking congregation, and one sign-language congregation

External links

Bible Student movement

The Bible Student movement is a Millennialist Restorationist Christian movement that emerged from the teachings and ministry of Charles Taze Russell, also known as Pastor Russell. Members of the movement have variously referred to themselves as Bible Students, International Bible Students, Associated Bible Students, or Independent Bible Students. The origins of the movement are associated with the formation of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society in 1881, and the later formation of Jehovah's Witnesses whose beliefs have diverged considerably from Russell's teachings.

A number of schisms developed within the congregations of Bible Students associated with the Watch Tower Society between 1909 and 1932. The most significant split began in 1917 following the election of Joseph Franklin Rutherford as president of the Watch Tower Society two months after Russell's death. The schism began with Rutherford's controversial replacement of four of the Society's board of directors and publication of The Finished Mystery.

Thousands of members left congregations of Bible Students associated with the Watch Tower Society throughout the 1920s prompted in part by Rutherford's failed predictions for the year 1925, increasing disillusionment with his on-going doctrinal and organizational changes, and his campaign for centralized control of the movement. William Schnell, author and former Jehovah's Witness, claims that three-quarters of the original Bible Students who had been associating with the Watch Tower Society in 1921 had left by 1931. In 1930 Rutherford stated that "the total number of those who have withdrawn from the Society... is comparatively large."Between 1918 and 1929, several factions formed their own independent fellowships, including the Stand Fast Movement, the Pastoral Bible Institute, the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement founded by PSL Johnson, and the Dawn Bible Students Association. These groups range from conservative, claiming to be Russell's true followers, to more liberal, claiming that Russell's role is not as important as once believed. Rutherford's faction of the movement retained control of the Watch Tower Society and adopted the name Jehovah's Witnesses in July 1931. By the end of the 20th century, Jehovah's Witnesses claimed a membership of 6 million, while other independent Bible Student groups were estimated to total less than 75,000.

Jehovah's Witnesses by country

Jehovah's Witnesses have a presence in most countries in the world. These are the most recent statistics by continent, based on active members, or "publishers" as reported by the Watch Tower Society of Pennsylvania. The Watch Tower Society reports its active presence in various dependencies and states as separate 'lands', as noted.


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