Bahá'í Global Population, True or False?

  By: Mohammad Fattahzadeh

  Abstract

           The Bahá'í Population in different countries seems to be an unsolved puzzle! Despite the existence of an exact statistical system and periodical reports of Bahá'í population in every country, the Bahá'í administration has been reluctant to publicize them, and has always referred to uncertain estimates that are highly exaggerated.

          Although the Bahá'í websites and paper works acknowledge the Bahá'í world population from 5 to 7 million people, which is dubious, the independent researchers have proposed a less than 800000 Bahá'í people around the world. It seems that the Bahá'í administration tries to give larger figures about the Bahá'í population, in order to get a better status and recognition in different countries, or in international institutions.

 

  Keywords

  Bahá'ísm, The Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'í Administration, Universal House of Justice, Bahá'í population, Bahá'í teaching, Bahá'í statistics.

 

  The Issue of Population

           The Population of a community or country is a clear and influential indicator of its political, social, and economic powers. In the same way the number of the followers of religions and schools of thoughts is very important, as it shows the weight and status of a said community is a country, or in the international level.

 

  The population of the Bahá'ís

           The number of the Bahá'ís, as an international community, or a new religious group is interesting. While the Bahá'í population in most countries is less than 1 thousandth of their populations, and thus lies in the “very small size social groups”; but they claim that Bahá'ís enjoy the highest rate of population increase, and the second most widespread religious group in the world. However, the point is that they have not published any formal statistics about the population of the Bahai communities in different countries. The Bahá'í International and national officials neither publish nor confirm the national statistical reports. They just quote or make references to some exaggerated estimations of an unskilled agency for the Bahá'í population.

 

  Who is a Bahá'í?

           According to the Registration Form of the Bahá'í administration, a Bahai person is a +15 year person, who believes in Ali Muhammad Bab, as the forerunner; Bahaullah, as the great Manifestation of God; Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, as the divine leaders after Bahaullah; and Universal House of Justice, as an infallible organization of leadership of the Bahá'í community.

 

  Growth in Numbers

          After the establishment of the Universal House of Justice (UHJ) in 1963,in continuation of “The 10 year Int’l Bahá'í teaching and consolidation plan 1953 – 63” of Shoghi Effendi, it launched the following “Teaching and expansion plans” successively:

1- Nine year plan                   1964-1973

2- Five year plan                    1974-1979

3- Seven year plan                 1979-1986

4- Six year plan                     1986-1992

          They were centralized plans, and various missions were just drafted at the Bahá'í world center (In Haifa ,Israel). Then we have:

5- Three year plan                1993-1996 

6- Four year plan                  1996-20001

          Then appeared a brief 1 year plan. Thereafter the UHJ launched four successive 5 year plans that will end is 20212 (100 years after the death of Abdul-Baha.)

           By the above plans the Bahá'í communities practiced the policies of “mass teaching“ and “entry by troops“ in order to increase the number of the Bahá'í persons, groups, and communities is different countries.

          It is claimed that the number of the Bahá'ís grew from less than 500000 worldwide, in 1963, to a reported more than 5000000 in 1992-93.3 It seems to be exaggerated. For example, in this statistic, the population of the Bahá'í community of India is expressed as “more than 2 million“. While the official statistics of the Indian government has shown “less than 10000 Bahai people“ in India.4

           Another case is the Bahá'ís of Iran. While the Bahá'í officials talk about 300000 people as the Bahá'í population of Iran , the formal statistics of Iran acknowledges less than 50000 people as “others“ (Other than Muslims , Christians , Jaws ,and Zoroastrians, who follow the recognized religions in the Iran constitution.) This statistics include Hindus, Sikhs, etc; and also people of different ages, and not +15 year people only!5

 

  The Ways of Increase of Population of a Nation or Community

    The generally accepted ways of increase of population of a nation or community are as below:

  1- Occupation of the other countries and territories

  2- Acceptance of a religion by the people of another country

  3- Increase of population through giving birth

  4- Increase through teaching, propagation, and proselytizing

  5- Immigration

         The above first, second, and third ways are not applicable to cause a 10 time increase in the Bahá'í world population! They have not had political sovereignty or military domination. Moreover, there has not been any impressive or comprehensive approval of the Bahá'í Faith report in the last 50 years. The Bahais do not approve polygamy either, and have not had recommendations for over population in their communities through high fertility!

          Their main approach for expansion of the Bahá'í Faith has been teaching, propagation, proselytizing, and conversion, which has been ineffective due to religious, legal, or social oppositions is different countries and cultures.It is obvious that since we are studying the Bahai population in a world scale, immigration from one city to another, or from a country to another country, does not change the total statistics.

 

  Growth in Bahá'í Population through Teaching and Proselytizing

           From the very beginning, the Bahá'í leadership launched frequent Teaching plans, and missionary groups migrated to neighbor cities and abroad, in order to convert people. All the social and developing programs by the Bahá'ís, in different countries, are carried out in order to increase the number of the Bahá'í population, and develop their administrative organizations.

 

  Growth in the West

            Since there are more available information about the Bahá'ís in the western and developed countries, let’s have a review of them. During the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, the American Bahá'í community grew slowly from a few thousand after World War II to about 10000 in the beginning of the 1960s.6 Then, in the wake of the youth rebellion, membership soared -partially through mass conversion- from 18000 in 1968 to 63500 in 1975.7Since then, the relative growth in number of registered members has been more moderate.

           The same pattern, although to a lesser degree, was seen in many European countries. In 1952, the number of European Bahá'ís was only about 1400, and in the West altogether there were not more than 10000 Bahá'ís.8 By 1963, the number of European Bahá'ís had doubled to 2800.9 Then the growth accelerated, and by 1986 there were 21900 registered Bahais in Europe.

  Figure 1. Growth of the Bahá'í religion in the USA, England and France,1959–1992

 

 

           Figure 1 illustrates these differences in demographic development. By 1990, it is said that the number of Bahá'ís in the USA had grown to 108,000, which corresponds to 434 Bahá'ís per million inhabitants. This figure is put into perspective by comparison with the data for two main European countries, England and France, where membership by 1990 had grown to only 3500 and 1250, respectively.10 These figures correspond to only 69 and 22 Bahais per million inhabitants.

 

Figure 2. Growth of the Bahai religion, 1963–1986 (“Western”: Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand)

 

 

            A closer study of the membership data for a number of other West European countries shows that England and France represent the upper and lower ends with respect to the number of Bahais per million inhabitants in 1990 (data not shown). It therefore can be concluded that on the average, the Bahai mission has been roughly ten times more successful in the USA (434 Bahá'ís per million inhabitants) than in Western Europe (typically about 40 Bahá'ís per million inhabitants).

          In quantitative terms, the American Bahá'í community dwarfs any of the European Bahá'í communities. On a world basis, however, even the American Bahá'í community constitutes a minor fraction (about 2%) of all Bahá'ís, and Western Bahá'ís as a whole make up only 3% of the Bahais world-wide. Figure 2 shows the massive growth in the number of registered Bahá'ís in the period 1963–1986,in particular in Asia and Africa!

          During a fieldwork at the Bahá'í World Centre, the administrative handling of the statistical report forms (which are the same for all the countries), was studied and discussed. The various sources of error involved in the statistics were discussed with the responsible statistician.

           I also compared the Bahá'í World Centre data on Denmark with data procured from sources in Denmark (total 240 persons) and found no systematic deviations. Since I have an independent source of the data from Denmark, and since there is no reason to assume that the Danish forms have been treated differently from all the other forms, I must conclude that the data from different countries are reliable to the extent that the original sources are reliable. Thus, the Universal House of Justice could easily publish their statistics of membership data if they wanted.

          However, the Universal House of Justice does not report the number of Bahá'ís for different countries or regions. This is unfortunate, since no reliable independent sources about the number of Bahá'ís seem to exist.

          For example, the World Christian Encyclopediaedited by David Barrett and co-workers has become established as a kind of authority on membership data for Bahai organizations around the world, and this source quotes a world Bahá'í estimated population of about 6.3 million in 1995, which is more than the five million officially claimed by the Bahá'ís.11

          A closer scrutiny of the encyclopedia shows that the figures reported for the Bahá'ís of some Western countries are grossly exaggerated. For example, the encyclopedia reports an estimated 1600 Bahá'ís in Denmark in 1995, and 682,000 Bahá'ís in the USA in 1995.12

          The Bahá'ís themselves do not acknowledge such numbers; the number of registered Bahá'ís in Denmark in 1995 was about 240, and in the USA about 130,000.13 Therefore, the World Christian Encyclopedia clearly is not a reliable source of Bahá'í  membership data, as has also been noted by MacEoin.14

 

   Figure 3. Number of Bahai localities worldwide, 1956–2001

 

 

  Are Bahá'í Membership Data Inflated?

           Researchers occasionally question the official Bahai data on membership, suggesting that they are exaggerated.15 In particular, criticism has been aired with respect to the unpublished, internal data for the American Bahá'í community, where about 50% of the members do not seem to have confirmed addresses.16

          The issue of inflated membership data may be even more pertinent in many non-Western countries. For example, India is claimed by the official Bahá'ís to be the home country of about two million Bahá'ís, most of them living in rural areas.17 In an Internet discussion of the Bahá'í membership data, the statistics for India (and other countries of the developing world) were strongly disputed.18 One of the reasons for claiming that the official figures are inflated is that the Bahá'í communities of India have not been consolidated after initial mass enrolments. Many of the Bahá'í converts seem to be only loosely attached to the new faith, and traditional Hindu beliefs and practices are upheld side by side with Bahá'í principles.19 In addition, the enrolled villagers were often illiterate and did not differentiate between the Hindu Avatar and Bahaullah! Or between Huququllah Bahá'í tax) and Coca Cola!

          Do such observations warrant the criticism of the membership data? Since these Bahá'ís have had no contact with the Bahai organisation for years, it is pertinent to ask if they still can be considered members of the Bahá'í community, particularly if their addresses are no longer valid?

 

  A Suggestion for Reassessment of Bahá'í Membership Data

  The above discussion indicates a need for estimating the number of active Bahá'ís in different regions of the world. In Table 1, some key figures from internal Bahá'í reports have been compiled that allow such an estimate to be made.

          The three columns to the left in the table show the number of localities in 1986 and 1992 for different regions of the world. Additional data from 1996, which are not shown in Table 1, confirm the relatively high growth in Europe and the decrease in Africa: in 1996 there were 5915 localities in Europe and 32074 localities in Africa.20

          The columns to the right in Table1 are the total number of local spiritual assemblies, the number of assemblies that were active with respect to observing the Bahá'í feasts and the number of assemblies that contributed money to the national Bahá'í fund. An average activity level in percent is calculated from the average of the two last figures, divided by the total number of local spiritual assemblies.

          This definition of activity level is based on the reasonable conclusion that a local spiritual assembly that does not observe the feasts nor donate any money should be considered defunct. The members of such a community may still believe in Bahaullah, but they are inactive with respect to the consolidation and growth of the Bahá'í religion.

  Table 1. Regional indicators of growth and activity level among the Bahá'í worldwide

 Number of localitiesa LSA activity level, 1986b

  Region 1986 1992 Growth All Feast Fund Active

  Europe 2,848 4,093 44% 715 627 547 82%

  USA and Canada 8,273 8,529 3% 1,918 1,401 1,306 71%

  Australia and

  New Zealand 625 501 –20% 211 188 195 91%

  Western World 11,746 13,123 12% 2,844 2,216 2,048 75%

  India 34,070 29,443 c0% 15,448 1,089 362 5%

  Other Asia,

  including: 14,660 21,676 48% 2,076 597 487 26%

  Bangladesh 1,977 4,973 152% 200 27 19 12%

  Philippines 5,496 7,300 33% 671 83 102 14%

  Japan 341 392 15% 55 22 1635%

  Africa 35,657 33,270 –7% 7,258 2,175 1,044 22%

  Latin America 18,297 18,941 4% 4,582 760 455 13%

  Oceania 2,277 3,593 58% 646 359 200 43%

  Non-Western World 104,961 106,923 2% 30,010 4,980 2,548 13%

  World 16,707 120,046 3% 32,854 7,196 4,596 18%

 

           a) The sources to the data are The Seven Year Plan 1979–1986. Statistical Report, pp.139–159 (BWC) and Statistical Tables, revised version, January 1994 (BWC-SD).

            b) The first column gives the total number of local spiritual assemblies, the second and third columns give the number of assemblies which observe feasts and contribute with money to the national fund, respectively. The activity level is calculated as the average of these two numbers relative to the total number of local spiritual assemblies. The source to the data is The Seven Year Plan 1979–1986. Statistical Report, pp. 139–159.

            c) The number of localities in India dropped with more than 4,500 in the period 1986–1992 due to revised civil areas of jurisdiction (which meant that localities counted separately in 1986 now counted as the same locality). Taking this into account, the real growth in number of localities was about 0%. The source to the data is Statistical Tables.

          It is striking how different the activity levels are in the different regions of the world. The majority of the Bahá'ís of the “Western World” (Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) are counted as active (75%), while only a minority of the “Non-Western World” are counted as active (13%). India represents the absolute low point with only 5% active ,which in fact fits with an unofficial estimate of less than100000 active Indian Bahá'ís.21 The table also contains data from two other Asian countries with large Bahá'í populations, Bangladesh and the Philippines. Bangladesh experienced a very high growth, while the growth in the Philippines was below average in the period1986 - 1992. Both countries showed the same low activity level (12% and 14%).The figures for Japan are also interesting: the country is rich, the population is well educated, and the Bahai community of Japan is quantitatively comparable with European Bahá'í communities.22 Yet, the activity level is 35% compared with 75% in Europe.

          Iran would probably have shown a completely different pattern from the other Asian countries, but the situation following the Iranian revolution have meant the dissolution of the Iranian Bahá'í community as an organized entity.23

          There is no simple explanation for what seems to be a solid fact, namely that the majority of Bahá'í communities of Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are active. In the rest of the world, the far majority of the Bahá'í communities are not very active.24

 

 Table 2. Regional changes in the number of local spiritual assemblies worldwide

 Number of local spiritual assemblies a

Region 1979 1986 1993 1997 2001

Africa 4,535 7,258 5,904 4,309 3,808

North and South America b 5,424 6,500 5,931 4,050 3,152

Asia 12,473 17,524 7,419 5,489 2,948

Australia and Oceania c578 857 876 952 856

Europe 614 715 845 998 976

World 23,624 32,854 20,975 15,798 11,740

 

           a) The sources to the data are The Seven Year Plan 1979–1986. Statistical Report,p. 45 (BWC); The Bahá’í World 1992–93, p. 311; The Bahá’í World 1996–97, p. 314;The Bahá’í World 2000–01, p. 278.

           b) The data do not allow a separation of USA and Canada from the rest of the countries of that region.

           c) The data do not allow a separation of Australia and New Zealand from the rest of the countries of that region.

          This conclusion is further corroborated by the data in Table 2, which shows the regional changes in the number of local spiritual assemblies for the years 1979, 1986, 1993, 1997 and 2001. Europe is the only region in which the number of local spiritual assemblies was larger in 2001 than in 1986 (separate data for the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are not available, unfortunately). It is remarkable that those regions of the world with the lowest activity level in 1986 have also experienced the largest relative drop in number of local spiritual assemblies since then. This probably reflects the negative consequences of a mission strategy of mass conversions without subsequent consolidation in many Third World countries during the 1970s and the 1980s.

          An obvious explanation of the trends shown in Table 2 is that when a Bahá'í community becomes inactive, it probably no longer elects a local spiritual assembly. The community therefore no longer is counted in the statistics of local spiritual assemblies—yet, it is still counted as a locality in the statistics. This resolves the apparent contradiction between the reported increase in number of localities world-wide and the dramatic drop in number of local spiritual assemblies, from a total of nearly 33000 in 1986 to less than 12000 in 2001. (In Bahá'í terminology, locality means a place or city where 1 or more than 1 Bahá'í person reside.)

          Considering together the data reported above in the figures and tables, I can propose an estimate of both the total and the active Bahá'í population as of 2001.25 The estimates of total numbers of Bahá'ís in Figure 4 are based on projections from the trends in numbers of localities (Table 1), and the number of Bahá'ís considered active are then estimated according to the percentages calculated in Table 1.

          The percentage of active Bahá'ís in the world is only about 15%, corresponding to less than 800000 Bahá'ís, of the more than five million with registration papers as Bahá'ís. The number of Western Bahá'ís is estimated to be 175000, a mere 3.4% of the total 5.1 million. However, 75% of the Western Bahais are considered active, and these approximately 130000 active Bahá'ís constitute 17% of the approximately 765000 real Bahá'ís of the world.

 

Figure 4. Estimated world Bahá’í population in 2001

Total on paper about 5.1 million; Total active Bahá'í s about 765000 (15%)

 

 

          The figures for Europe require warrant commentary. I have estimated the number of whole European Bahá'ís to be 40000; this may appear high, but it is actually a conservative estimate based on a projection of the considerable growth in localities, from 2848 in 1986 to 5915 in 1996. On a strictly proportional basis, the number of  Bahá'ís should have been about 45000 in 1996 (there were 21900 in 1986). On the other hand, the number of local spiritual assemblies (Table 2) has not kept pace with the development in number of localities, so 40000 seems realistic.

          A further bias in these figures may arise from the fact that the Bahá'ís world-wide have begun to follow a long-standing Iranian Bahá'ís’ practice of counting children born of Bahá'í parents as Bahá'ís.26 In the Western Bahá'í communities, according to the Bahá'í teaching of “seeking the truth” the practice has been that believers cannot formally declare themselves as Bahá'ís before the Bahá'í age of maturity, which is 15 years of age.27 But in order to show an increase in the population, the format of the report forms to the Bahai World Centre was changed in 1980, and all children born of Bahá'í parents since then have been reported in the statistics. The Bahá'í World Centre seems to have included children in the reported total number of believers from at least around 1986; in many cases, the number of children was computed from official population statistics because of lack of reported data.28

          It is obvious that membership data are affected by such a redefinition of who is a Bahá'í. The data for the Danish Bahá'í community indicate that registered Bahá'í children make up about 20% of the population of Bahá'ís above 15 years of age. In many non-Western countries, this proportion would be higher, of course. The only safe conclusion that can be drawn is that if it was possible to exclude children in a reliable way, so as to get the numbers of Bahá'ís above 15 years of age, the proportion of Western to non-Western Bahá'ís would increase.

          In conclusion, does Figure 4 mean that the official Bahá'í numbers are inflated? It all depends on the definition of Bahá'í membership. Under the programs “Entry By Troops”, “mass teaching”, and “Ruhi classes”, those people in the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and South America, who have considered Bahaullah and Abdul–Baha as pacifist gentlemen, with good ideas like those of the local religions, and had participated in some teaching classes, had been filed as Bahá'ís; while they were loyal to their previous religions.

          In the West, the prevailing norm is that if you are member of a minority religious group, you are expected to be active in that group. In the eyes of many Western Bahá'ís, most of the Bahá'ís of non-Western countries are therefore not “real” Bahá'ís up to Western standards of activity and willingness to donate to the cause.

 

  The Bahá'ís in the United States of America

           Now let us have a look at the statistics of the Bahá'í population of U.S. in the light of the information provided in the Rid’van 2016 Annual Report of the National Spiritual Assembly of Bahá'ís of the United States30, with a view at the figures provided in the American official census:

No. of believers(Bahais) 77,878

Adults (age 21 and older) 67,679

Youths (ages 15–20) 4,412

Junior Youth (ages 12–14) 1,784

Children (up to age 11) 4,003

 

Membership statistics

Deaths 258 258

Withdrawals 33 3366

Reinstatements 48

Transfers in(previous residents of USA) 261

Transfers in USA arrivals (new to USA) 77 517517751

Transfers out /Int’l Pioneers 22

 

· 

From April 20, 2015, through March 8, 2016,

· Source: Unity Web

           According to the US www.census.gov , in 2015, the rate of death in USA was 823.7 per 100000. By considering this rate, and the figure of the deaths in the USA Bahá'í community, 258 persons, for the same period, we reach to the figure 31250 for the Bahá'í population of the USA. We should also consider that according to Mr.Kennet E. Bowers , the general secretary of USNSA of the Bahá'ís, the Bahá'í community of USA is in its old age.

 

  Conclusion

  Locality profiles

          The Universal House of Justice must have realized that in addition to some inflated or unreal statistics, the percentage of apparently inactive Bahá'ís in India, Asia, Africa, USA , and Latin America is very high. Inactive Bahá'ís constitute a burden rather than a resource for the Bahá'í administration.

          As discussed above, Bahá'ís do not lose membership status, just by being inactive. Since these inactive Bahá'ís have not formally resigned, the Universal House of Justice would have to adopt the radical policy of instructing the national spiritual assemblies to remove inactive Bahá'ís from the membership lists, if the goal was to count only active/actual Bahá'ís. I conclude that the issue of inflated official membership data stems from the carelessness to the formal statistics of the Bahai populations in different countries, present practice of not expelling inactive Bahá'ís, and negligence to the governmental official census, including the data of those self – described themselves as Bahá'ís. Figure 4, rather, indicates that the Bahai resource base is not very strong, and this is obviously of paramount importance for a religion with the ambition of becoming a world religion of the future. Some parts of the text, figures, tables, and headings of this article is taken from chapter 5 of the valuable work of Margit Warburg, “Citizens of the World: a history and sociology of the Bahais from globalization perspective”, Brill, 2006.However, the responsibility for any error or mistake in this article is mine.

 

  Notes

1- The Bahá’í world 2000 - 2001, pp. 31-35

2- The Bahá’í  world 2000 – 2001 , p.34; The Bahá’í  world 2001 – 2002. pp. 29-31

3- In the yearbook series , The Bahá’í  world , it is stated every year since 1992 – 93 that the number of Bahais in the world is” more than five million “.

4- The official report of the Indian national statistics ,1999, scanned in the following address: www.h-net.org/bahai/docs/vol3/incens/incens.htm

5- Statistical figures about Iran (Issued by Iran center of statistics )

A: 2006

Total number of population of Iran 70.495.782

 

                                                            Muslims                     70097 741

                                                            Christians                  109 415

                                                            Jews                           9252

                                                            Zoroastrians               19823

                                                            Others                        54234

                                                            Unexpressed               205 317

________________________________________________

B: 2011

 

                                                    Total population of Iran                  75,149,669

                                                            Muslims                                 74.682.842

                                                            Christians                              111107

                                                            Jews                                       8156

                                                            Zoroastrians                          19 823

                                                            Others                                   54223

                                                            Unexpressed                         205.317

 

        Since the Bahá'ís are seriously forbidden by their officials from hiding their belief , so we can conclude that the population of the Bahá'ís of Iran has been less than 54234 persons is 2006 , and less than 49101 is 2011. This also complies with the immigration trend of the Iranian Bahá'ís, which results is decrease of their population in Iran, and their increases in the United States, Canada, and Australia from year to year.

6- Stockmann, “Re: Bahá'í Growth”.

7- Stockmann, “Re: Bahá'í Growth”.

8- Smith, A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baháí Faith, p. 142, p. 148.

9- The membership data are from the internal reports of membership data submitted each year from the national spiritual assemblies to the Bahá'í World Centre. The data were provided by the Bahá'í World Centre. (Bahá'í World Centre, Department of Statistics).

10- Membership data from Bahá'í World Centre. (Bahai World Centre, Department of Statistics).

11- David. B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson (eds.), World Christian Encyclopedia. A comparative survey of churches and religions in the modern world, vol.1, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 4.

12- Barrett et al., World Christian Encyclopedia, p. 236, p. 772!

13- The current total population of the Bahai community of USA, according to the statistics provided in 2016 USA National Convention Report ,p.79,is 77878.

14- Denis MacEoin, “Bahaism”, in John R. Hinnels (ed.), A Handbook of Living Religions, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1985, pp. 475–498.

15- MacEoin, “Bahá'ísm”, pp. 475–498; Juan R. I. Cole, “The Bahá'í Faith in America as Panopticon, 1963–1997”, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 37,1998, pp. 234–248.

16- In the USA, 77,396 Bahá'ís were registered in 1978, but only 62% of them had confirmed addresses, see Cole, “The Bahá'í Faith in America as Panopticon”. Newer data confirm this situation; for example, “According to the formal statistics provided in 2016 USA National Convention Report ,p.79, their total population is 77878 persons.

17- “expansion”, in Smith, A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baháí Faith, pp. 137–154; Susan Manneck, “Conversion Movements within Hindu Village Culture”, http://bahailibrary.org./unpubl.articles/hindu.conversion.html; M. Vijayanunni, “Census of India 1991, Series-1, India, Paper 1 of 1995. Religion”, New Delhi, Census Commission, 1995, Appendix A, Documents of the Shaykhi, Babi and Baháí Movements, vol.3,no.3,1999, http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~bahai/docs/vol3/incens/incens.htm

18- “The Bahá'í Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience”, http://www.fglaysher.com/ bahaicensorship /FalseStats.htm. Accessed 6 February 2003. 

19- William N. Garlington, “Baháí Bhajans”, World Order, vol. 16, 1982, pp.43–49; Margit Warburg, “Conversion: Considerations before a field-work in a Baháí village in Kerala”, in Asko Parpola and Bent Smidt Hansen (eds.), South Asian Religion And Society, London, Curzon Press, 1986, pp. 223–235.

20- [Universal House of Justice], The Three Year Plan 1993–1996. Summary of Achievements, p.165. (BWC). For the regions other than Europe and Africa, it is not possible to separate the data. 

21- Searches on the Internet using the browser Google and the key words “statistics”  and “Bahai” have retrieved several discussion threads dealing with claims that the official Bahai statistics are inflated. On 31 October 2002, I retrieved a thread containing a message from nima_hazini@my-deja.com, stating: “2 million are claimed in India but insiders say the true number of real Bahais there is closer to 100,000. Indians like to ‘join’ things, but go on being Hindus.” The thread does not appear to be retrievable anymore, so the address does not appear in the bibliography.

According to the Official Report of the National Bahá'í Convention of India for the year 2009 -2010 (167 B.E),there were 54285 Indian Bahais registered.

22- In 1986, the number of local spiritual assemblies in Japan was 55 (Table 1). For comparison, the figures for a number of European countries were: Denmark (11), France (38), West Germany (103), Italy (54), the Netherlands (29), Norway (17), Spain (48), Sweden (25), Switzerland (32) and England (and Wales) (170). The Seven Year Plan 1979–1986. Statistical Report, pp. 139–159. (BWC).

23- According to Susan Manneck, in the Bahá'í internet group (Bahai-st@list.jcc.edu) , DD Jan3,2013 ,”The roughly statement of 300000 Iranian Bahá'ís is an estimate made by the Christian Church Encyclopedia, and it is not exact. By the immigration of the Iranian Bahá'ís…currently there should not be more than 80000 Bahá'ís in Iran. However, the Iranian Center of Statistics has shown the number of others in 2011 as 49101.(see the above note 5) 

24- There are a few exceptions to this, of course, and the general pattern is that the small Bahá'í communities are more active than the large ones. The Seven Year Plan 1979–1986. Statistical Report, pp. 139–159. (BWC).

25- Figure 4 differs slightly from the corresponding figure in Margit Warburg,I bahai [The Bahá'ís], Turin, Elledici, 2001, p. 71, due to a more detailed estimate of the Bahá'í population.

26- Pamela Carr, Bahá'í World Centre, Department of Statistics, personal communication; Denis MacEoin, “Emerging from Obscurity? Recent developments in Bahá'ísm”, Religion Today, vol. 3, no. 1, 1986, unpaged.

27- Wendi Momen (ed.), A Basic Baháí Dictionary, Oxford, George Ronald, 1991,p. 152.

28- The Seven Year Plan 1979–1986. Statistical Report, p. 48. (BWC).

29- William N. Garlington, “Bahá'í Bhajans”,in The Bahai Faith in America, Praeger Publishers,2005,p.43.

30- Rid’van 2016 Annual Report of the National Spiritual Assembly of Bahá'ís of the United States,p.79

All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © International Bahai Research Center (IBRC); 2006-2021.