How many Wiccans are there?
An attempt to estimate the number
|For the year:||Number of books published|
There was an amazing increase in the number of Wiccan books published over the past 15 years: about 3.3 times. This may imply that Wicca increased in membership between 2008 and 2015 by a similar factor. We conclude that the best estimate we can make, based on inadequate hard data, is that the number of Wiccan adults in the U.S. had increased from, 602,000 in 2008 to two million by the end of 2015. If one were to include teens, which religious surveys generally don't, we estimate approximately 2.5 million Wiccan practitioners were active in the U.S. during 2015.
This number is believed to be significantly lower than the actual value because many Wiccans would probably be among the 5.4% of respondents who refused to reveal their religion in the 2008 ARIS study.
This increase to two million adult Wiccans is surprising but is still a reasonable value. The ARIS study found that the number of Wiccans more than doubled in the seven years between 2001 and 2008. So a further increase by a factor of 3.3 times in the next seven years between 2008 and 2015 may seem at first glance to be a bit of a stretch, but is believable.
Although there have been dozens of estimates of the Wiccan population in the U.S., almost all are based on guesswork. In order to obtain a more reliable estimate in the future, it would be necessary for a polling agency like Pew Research to do another study with a sample size in excess of 50,000 and to treat Wicca as a distinct religion rather than lump it together with other faiths in a category like "New Age." Hopefully, this will happen. Barring that, perhaps they might publicize the Wiccan population separately and explain that it is only a rough estimate. A rough estimate would be much better than no estimate at all.
If there are two million U.S. adult followers in the U.S., then Wicca would represent the second largest
religious faith, way behind Christianity and slightly more common than Atheists.
The adult population who identify with the largest religious classifications, according to the Pew Research Center's Religious Landscape Study of 2014 were:
|Christianity: 70.6 million adults,|
|"NOTAs" (No particular religious affiliation): 15.8 million|
|Agnosticism: 4.0 million,|
|Atheism: 3.1 million,|
|Judaism: 1.9 million,|
|Islam: 0.9 million,|
|Buddhism: 0.7 million,|
|Hinduism: 0.4 million,|
|Unitarian-Universalism: 0.62 million. 1|
Our estimate of two million adult practitioners of Wicca in the U.S. during 2015 was, to us, an unexpectedly high value. After all, it would place the number of Wiccans as vastly exceeding the numbers of followers of such established faith groups as: the Society of Friends (Quakers) (217,000), the Baha'i Faith (84,000), and Sikhism (57,000). 1 However, it could be an accurate value. Wiccans have little direct, visible impact on society. Perhaps half are solitary practitioners and perform their rituals in isolation by themselves. Others are members of covens who generally keep a very low profile. Although groups of Wiccans meet with each other in covens and perform rituals together, they generaly gather in one of the member's homes, not in a church-like setting.
Copyright © 1999 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Latest update: 2016-OCT-20
Author: B.A. Robinson
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