WISE Statistics, 2004
WISE Membership Stats are Up
This page compares membership statistics from the 2001 and 2004 WISE membership directories.
About the Data
The data used for this analysis was taken from the 2001 and 2004 WISE membership directories. I then imported it into a database to categorize and tally it.
While the directory information appears to be fairly accurate, there are some known anomalies. First, many individuals and companies are listed multiple times in different categories. I have attempted to remove duplicate entries in my tallies. There are duplicates in both the 2001 and 2004 directories. Even with duplicates removed, the total 2004 WISE membership is larger than the 2001 membership.
Second, it is probable that some members who are listed in the directory no longer consider themselves members of WISE or Scientology. The directory is supposed to be published every year, but there is no evidence that a directory appeared in either 2002 or 2003. (If you have a directory from one of those years, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Finally, some listings represent individual Scientologists working at companies that are not WISE members and do not follow WISE principles. For example, an earlier directory listed an employee at Hewlett-Packard as if that company was a WISE company, when in fact the listing was for an individual Scientologist (and WISE members) who was employed in a non-WISE company. In the 2004 directory, I came across a listing for Sweetwater Sound, a mail-order musical instrument retailer which has an excellent reputation among my musician friends. I was surprised to see them in the WISE directory and contacted them to inquire whether they were a WISE company or utilized Hubbard Admin Tech. I was informed that they were not WISE members, and that the listing represented the individual only. There is no way of knowing how many WISE listings may reflect similar situations.
Finally, many different businesses appear at a single address. I've compiled a list of businesses at the same address in the 2001 WISE directory, and a list of businesses at the same address in the 2004 WISE directory.
Excluding duplicate entries, total membership rose from 2876 in 2001 to 3654 in 2004 - an increase of 27%.
However, it appears that this does not represent a simple gain of 778 new members; rather, it appears to be a loss of approximately 950 of the 2001 members and a gain of approximately 2774 new members.
I sorted the database by member's name and calculated which names were in the 2001 directory only, which were in the 2004 directory only, and which appeared in both:
I did the same analysis after sorting the directory by business name:
Analyzed by member name, it appears that 950 members dropped out between 2001 and 2004, a loss of 52%.
Analyzed by business name, it appears that 1861 businesses dropped out, a loss of 79%.
It's difficult to say how accurate these figures are. In some cases, a company name has changed slightly, or a different person's name now appears in the directory. For example, here are the listings for AMC Publishing, the company that employed Lisa McPherson during the last few years of her life:
2001 Directory: AMC Publishing, Inc. Bennetta Slaughter 1255 Cleveland St., Ste. 300 Clearwater, FL 33755-4910 United States 2004 Directory: Agent Media Corporation David Slaughter 1255 Cleveland St., Ste. 300 Clearwater, FL 33755 United States
This is clearly the same company under a spelled-out (rather than abbreviated) name, and the company chose to list David Slaughter instead of Bennetta as the WISE member for the 2004 directory. The analysis described above shows this as a "lost" membership and a separate, new membership in 2004, which is clearly not the case. It's difficult to know, without doing a careful entry-by-entry analysis, how many similar minor spelling or listing changes are distorting the apparent large numbers of drop-outs described above.
Analysis by Business Category
Here are the top 11 categories - those with at least 50 entries in the 2004 directory:
The following categories gained at least 10 new entries:
The following categories lost at least 10 entries:
Trends worth noting: All WISE entries have been removed from the listings section of the 2004 directory. (I'm pretty sure they're still listed elsewhere in the directory.) This makes the rise in total number of entries even more impressive.
Also, computer-related business categories are losing WISE members. Is this better attributed to the general downturn in the computer industry in the past few years (possibly causing some of those individuals to switch to a new line of work), or to those individuals having more contact with the Internet (possibly encountering more information critical of Scientology's official pronouncements and developing doubts about WISE)? Only 57 of the 205 individuals listed in a computer-related category in the 2001 directory are also listed in the 2004 directory - a drop of about 72%, significantly larger than the 52% drop-out rate for the directory as a whole.
You can view a table of all WISE categories, comparing 2001 and 2004 tallies.
Analysis by Country
Here are the top-gaining countries:
And here are the top-gaining categories for each of the three top-gaining countries:
Here are the countries with the biggest losses in membership:
I'm not surprised to see the increase in the United States - Scientology's worldwide stronghold - but I am surprised to see growth in Germany, where Scientology complains of such extensive discrimination, and in Greece, where Scientology ran into trouble with the government. I had been aware of a concentrated effort to recruit in Eastern European nations, so the high increases in Russia, Hungary, Ukraine, and Slovenia don't surprise me, but I hadn't realized that there was so much WISE activity in Taiwan.
Considering the longstanding Scientology presence in South Africa, I was surprised to see such a dramatic drop in South Africa's WISE membership tally, and given Scientology's strong push to expand in Mexico, I was equally surprised to see a nearly 50% drop in Mexico.
Analysis by US State
Here are the top-gaining states in the United States:
More surprising, considering the overall gain in the United States, are the states that lost total WISE members - especially California:
In addition, Alaska, Wyoming, and Nebraska went from 1 or 2 WISE members each to 0, now having no WISE representation at all. On the other hand, four states with no WISE members in 2001 now have members: Alabama (4), Arkansas (2), Rhode Island (2), and the US Virgin Islands (1).
Clearwater gained 106 additional WISE members between 2001 and 2004, going from 188 to 294 - nearly 15% of the total increase for the entire directory.
This page was last updated on March 6, 2005 by Kristi Wachter.