In Australia Scientology has lost a third of its members over the last decade

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Incredulicide, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. Incredulicide Member

    Plotted on a graph, spotted on reddit:
  2. John P. Member

    From 2,508 to 1,681 members in ten years is compound annual growth rate of -3.9% per year. The decline from 2006-2011 was at a compound annual growth rate of -2.9%. But the decline from 2011-2016 is significantly worse, at around -5.1% per year.

    Before I could conclude that the cult is seeing an acceleration in the decline of membership, I would want to rule out any "artifact" from the surveys, where changes in methodology, sampling techniques, etc. come into play, particularly between the 2011 and 2016 censuses. With numbers that small in a country of 25 million to 30 million, it's hard to ensure you're not down in the margin of error, even in a census which tries to measure exactly instead of sampling. Because of this, I would be particularly careful about thinking this is representative of global trends.

    It is also entirely possible that there's a cult-related artifact at play. Given that staff make up about 5,000 to 6,000 of a member base I estimate at around 20,000, a redeployment of staff could easily affect the census numbers materially. The spike in membership from 2001-2006 is likely a function of a large number of staff imported from other places (probably Taiwan as a main source), rather than actual recruitment. If staff were moved from Oz to either Stain Hill or to Flag to fill departures there, redeploying 200 staffers is enough to affect census numbers materially.

    My suspicion is that the rate of decline in cult membership is slowing as any members who can easily walk away have long since done so; the only people remaining are staff, the truest of the true believers, and under-the-radar types who keep some pretense of being active to avoid family disconnection or business boycotts. Voluntary departures are likely slowing but that's going to be increasingly partly offset by departures in a casket as the membership base ages.
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  3. Quentinanon Member

    As the Baby Boomers die off, the cult dupe counts in North America, Europe and Australia will continue to decline.
  4. Incredulicide Member

    I'm gonna indulge a fantasy and extrapolate the numbers of Aussie Scientologists in the future given a steady fractional decline of one third every decade:

    Year - Aussie Scientologists
    2026: 1121
    2036: 747
    2046: 498
    2056: 332
    2066: 222
    2076: 148
    2086: 99
    2096: 66
    2106: 44
    2116: 29
    2126: 19
    2136: 12
    2146: 8
    2156: 6
    2166: 4
    2176: 3
    2186: 2
    2200: 1
  5. Ann O'Nymous Member

    Downstat is a major crime, ITAO.
  6. Incredulicide Member

    That image is 404. Here's a backup:
    John P. commented at the Underground Bunker with more info about the last 5 years of decline:
    * * * BEGIN QUOTE * * *
    The TL;DR version: when you cut up the numbers, things are even worse.

    After looking at the data in a bunch of different ways, I think the biggest predictor of whether someone is staff or whether they are public is going to be whether they are an Australian citizen or not. I think it is reasonable to assume that substantially all of the non-citizen Scientologists in Australia are staff. The incidence of non-citizen Scientologists as a percentage of total membership is dramatically higher than the incidence of non-citizens in the Australian population as a whole.

    In 2011, there were 394 non-citizen Scientologists in Australia. In 2016, the number dropped to 298, a decline of 15%, less than the overall 21% decline that Tony reported yesterday. But there were 1,722 Scientologists who were citizens in 2011, which dropped to 1,349 in the 2016 census. That’s a decline of 22%. So, to my surprise, the number of public is collapsing. I had figured that a much greater percentage of staff (the non-citizens) would have left in the last five years, but that appears not to be the case.

    As an aside, this suggests that staff in Australia is around 25% of total membership (non-citizens are 20% of total membership, but there are also undoubtedly a fair number of native staff members). This cross-checks nicely with estimates that I have been saying for some time that worldwide staff is approximately 5,000 out of total membership of 20,000 or so.

    One other interesting data point: the age brackets that showed the greatest decline surprised me. Fortunately, the census data tracks in five-year buckets, so the bucket that was aged 15-19 in the 2011 census conveniently matches up to the 20-24 bucket in 2016, etc. It turns out that the the greatest decline in members who are Australian citizens between 2011 and 2016 is in the group that is now 25-29 years old, a population that dropped by 51% in the last five years. The second biggest drop was in the 30-34 bucket, down 29%, and those from 35-45 were also down about 28%. Older members, aged 50+, generally showed lower rates of declines.

    It sounds like the church is losing second-generation members (or those who may have joined in college) far more than it is losing older first-generation believers, which surprises me, especially as older members would be dying at a higher rate than the younger ones, adding a few points to the rate of decline. The younger demographic is, of course, essential to any religion in part because they are starting families, and also because expansion there is necessary to replace older members that died. And that’s just not happening.

    All in all, this suggests that the state of Scientology in Australia is pretty grim. Some other work that I had done a couple of weeks ago looking at the locations of people who signed the “stop Leah Remini” petition suggested that Scientology is also doing badly in the UK, another traditional stronghold. Unfortunately, the UK only holds census every decade, and the next one isn’t until 2021, so we won’t be able to prove the degree of implosion there for a few more years.
    * * * END QUOTE * * *
  7. Incredulicide Member

    Australia gained 2 million people between 2016 and 2021 — and lost 26 Scientologists

    Over the last few days, the results of Australia’s latest census have been rolling out, and naturally our readers have been very curious about one number in that mass of data: How many Scientologists are left in what was once one of the church’s mainstays around the world?
    Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard knew that his movement was most likely going to appeal to people in English-speaking countries, at least at first, and so he made Australia an early target. He had spent time in the country in the Second World War (with disastrous results) and he made visits in the 1950s to help cement Scientology’s early toehold there.
    But in recent years, interest in Scientology has been waning. The number of Scientologists has dropped steadily in each recent census. In 2006, 2,507 Australians identified themselves as Scientologists, in 2011 it fell to 2,163, and then to an anemic 1,681 in 2016.
    Meanwhile, the overall population of the continent is steadily growing. In the new census, Australia’s overall population grew from 23,401,892 in 2016 to 25,422,788 in 2021.
    That’s a growth of 2,020,896 people.
    But how many of the 25 million people in Australia were Scientologists?
    We noticed that our readers were struggling with the online data releases put out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. We made an attempt to download the data and sift through it, but it was just too unwieldy.
    So we wrote the ABS and asked them.
    Last night, they helpfully sent us the answer.
    Between 2016 and 2021, they told us, the number of Scientologists in Australia went from 1,681 to 1,655.
    Over five years, the country gained 2 million in population, but lost 26 Scientologists.
    The percentage of Australians who are Scientologists is 0.0065 percent.
    And going down.
    This is especially embarrassing because Scientology has been making major investments in Australia, including a new “Advanced Org” that was opened on September 4, 2016 in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood. They had paid $37 million for a former national acoustics lab that they then renovated for another $20 million. Journalist Ben Schneiders showed that tens of millions were being sent from the US church to Australia, and that the Australian organizations were somehow showing a net profit of about $65.4 million between 2013 and 2019.
    But none of it has resulted in any growth at all.
    Scientology is continuing to die a slow death in Australia, despite the gleaming new cathedrals and profligate spending.
    EDIT: Chart of the figures on reddit:
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