In 2005, the Church of Scientology stated its worldwide membership to be eight million, although that number included people who took only the introductory course and did not continue on. In 2007 a Church official claimed 3.5 million members in the United States, but a 2001 survey conducted by the City University of New York found only 55,000 people in the United States who claimed to be Scientologists. Worldwide, some observers believe a reasonable estimate of Scientology's core practicing membership ranges between 100,000 and 200,000, mostly in the U.S., Europe, South Africa and Australia. In 2008, the American Religious Identification Survey found that the number of American Scientologists had dropped to 25,000.
Scientologists tend to disparage general religious surveys on the grounds that many members maintaining cultural and social ties to other religious groups will, when asked their religion, answer with their traditional and more socially acceptable affiliation. The Church of Scientology claims to be the fastest growing religious movement on earth. On the other hand, religious scholar J. Gordon Melton has said that the church's estimates of its membership numbers are significantly exaggerated.
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Famous quotes containing the words statistics and/or membership:
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