The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has released a detailed and comprehensive look at Christianity around the globe.
After examining more than 200 countries, Pew found that there are 2.18 billion Christians around the world, representing nearly one-third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. The report also concludes that Christians are now so geographically widespread – that no single continent or region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity.
Some changes worth noting. A dramatic shift away from Europe with more than 500 million Christians now residing in sub-Saharan Africa.
* Europe is now home to about 25% of the world’s Christians, down from some 66% a century ago.
* Sub-Saharan Africa is now home to about 25% of the world’s Christian population.
* Only about 4% of the Christian population lives in the Mideast and North Africa, where the Christian faith originated.
* Egypt has the largest number of Christians in the region, but the report concludes that the number of Coptic Christians is actually significantly lower than previously reported. The number of Coptic Christians in Egypt, according to the report, stands at 4.3 million – representing about 5% of the total population instead of the 10% previously reported. Pew contends the change in this number is based on new demographic evidence.
* In the United States, Christians make-up about 80% of the population.
* In Russia, 74% of its citizens are Christians.
* In China, about 5% of the country’s population (some 67 million) are said to be Christian, but the study underscores the problems with accuracy in a country where those who practice their faith must do so secretly.
Pew determined that the number of Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled in the last 100 years, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than 2 billion in 2010.
But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly, from an estimated 1.8 billion in 1910 to 6.9 billion in 2010. As a result, Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%).