Pew Report on Global Christianity

Yesterday, the Pew Forum released a fascinating demographic study of Christianity around the world. Christians make up the largest religious group in the world today, about two billion people, roughly one-third of the world’s population. By comparison, Muslims, the next largest group, make up less than a quarter. Geographically, Christians are quite dispersed. Although 100 years ago the vast majority lived in Europe, today only 26% of Christians are there. Roughly 37% live in the Americas, 13% in Asia and the Pacific, and 24% in sub-Saharan Africa. These numbers reflect the much-noted shift of Christianity to the “Global South” over the last century. With regard to church traditions, the study finds that roughly half of the world’s Christians are Catholic, about 40% Protestant, about 12% Orthodox, and about one percent members of new traditions like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. The report contains helpful interactive maps that illustrate the global distribution of Christians.

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