A new report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Center breaks down current trends in global Christianity and compares them to estimates from 1910. The estimates for 1910 come from Todd M. Johnson of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The 2010 information is based on an analysis of about 2,400 data sources, including censuses and nationally representative population surveys. So what you have are two points of reference for a hundred year snap shot of global Christianity. Pretty exciting stuff if you ask me!
The definitions for Christians are extremely broad, putting that aside it is still a very insightful study. So, let’s explore, what’s changed in the last 100 years?
- In 1910 two-thirds of all Christians lived in Europe, today only one in four do
- Europe and the Americas (North and South) are still home to a majority of all Christians 63% but that percentage is down from 93% in 1910. The major drivers of growth for global Christianity are coming from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
- In sub-Saharan Africa alone the percentage of the population that is Christian has gone from 9% in 1910 to a staggering 63% today. Nigeria with 80 million Christians and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 63 million Christians rank in the top 10 of countries with the largest Christian populations.
- A majority of Christians 61% live in the Global South, while 39% live in the Global North but the concentration of Christians is much higher in the Global North where 69% of the population is Christian compared to 24% of the Global South. This reflects the reality that the Global South has 4.5 times the number of people of the Global North.
- Today Pentecostals and Charismatics make up one in four Christians globally
- China has the world’s largest Christian minority population at 65 million people and 5% of the current population.
- Catholics make up 50% of the current Christian global population, Protestants 37%, Orthodox Christians 12%, and 1% other.
- The top 3 most populated Catholic countries are Brazil, Mexico, and the Philippines.
- The top 3 most populated Protestant countries are the United States, Nigeria, and China. 37% of all Protestants live in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by the Americas and Europe at 33% and 13%.
- The Middle East-North Africa region is home to less than 1% of all Christians. Regionally Christians make up only 4% of the population. Egypt has the largest population of Christians in the region with 4.2 million Christians, 90% of which are Egyptian Orthodox.
- Globally the historically Pentecostals, Anglicans, Lutherans , and Baptists represent 40% of all Protestants.
To read the full report online click here.