Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pew Forum on the Global Demographics of Christianity

A new Pew Forum demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians are also geographically widespread - so far-flung, in fact, that no single continent or region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity.

Christian Demography
Marcus Roberts | 21 Dec 2011 |
In the lead up to Christmas, the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life has released a report on the demographic breakdown of Christianity in the world.  The report can be found here on the Pew website and comes with interactive maps and even a quiz.  Some of the more interesting findings is that there are about 2.2 billion Christians in the world – nearly a third of Earth’s population.  This proportion is roughly similar to that occupied by Christians in 1910.  The largest change in the last century has been the physical spread of Christianity throughout the world. In 1910, the centre of Christianity was clearly Europe where two-thirds of Christians lived. Instead:

“...[t]oday, only about a quarter of all Christians live in Europe (26%). A plurality – more than a third – now are in the Americas (37%). About one in every four Christians lives in sub-Saharan Africa (24%), and about one-in-eight is found in Asia and the Pacific (13%)...Although Europe and the Americas still are home to a majority of the world’s Christians (63%), that share is much lower than it was in 1910 (93%). And the proportion of Europeans and Americans who are Christian has dropped from 95% in 1910 to 76% in 2010 in Europe as a whole, and from 96% to 86% in the Americas as a whole.”

Christianity is today, as the report summarizes, truly a global faith.  It is also diverse theologically:
“About half are Catholic. Protestants, broadly defined, make up 37%. Orthodox Christians comprise 12% of Christians worldwide. Other Christians, such as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, make up the remaining 1% of the global Christian population.”

Half of the world’s Christians live in ten countries, and the United States is still the largest Christian country in terms of absolute amount of professing Christians.  

There is a wealth of other information on the Pew website for you to look at, but the main point I took from it was that Christianity isn’t dying as a religion in terms of numbers, but it is spreading more widely and to every country in the world.

Retrieved December 21, 2011 from

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