By The Numbers
In 1984 the Cult Awareness Network compiled a list of more than 2,000 groups
ICSA has more than 4,000 groups listed in its electronic files
Zimbardo and Hartley (1985) found that 3% reported being members of cultic groups and that 54% had had at least one contact with a cult recruiter.
Bloomgarden and Langone (1984) reported that 3% and 1.5% of high school students in two Boston suburbs were cult members.
Bird and Reimer (1982), found that approximately 20% of adults had participated in cultic groups in an San Francisco and Montreal, although more than 70% of the involvements were transient. Other data in this study suggest that approximately two to five percent of the subjects had participated in groups that are frequently thought to be cultic.
ICR Survey Research Group for ICSA/AFF weekly omnibus survey, 1993 found that about 1% of respondents said that they had been involved in a cult.
Lottick's (2008) survey of 695 psychologists found that 13.1% reported personal experience - either their own or a family member - with cults. Thirty-three percent of the respondents reported that they had treated former members of cultic groups.
One study in Spain found that among 1,517 Spanish participants aged 14 to 29, 25.9% expressed approval of cults, while 0.5% reported being cult members (Canteras, Rodriguez, & Rodriguez-Carballeira, 1992).
Most cultic groups appear to be small, having no more than a few hundred members. Some, however, have tens of thousands of members and formidable financial power.
Several surveys shed some light on the number of people who may have been involved in what they perceived to be cultic groups.