This is a sequel to my first post Knowing your Brother, which was about the need to be aware of global Christianity. In this post I want to give a quick demographic overview of global Christianity.
Most of the data, unless otherwise indicated, in this article is from the Pew Research Forums 2010 comprehensive global survey of Christianity in more than 200 countries, which you can read in full here.
Christianity began 2000 years ago in Roman Palestine with perhaps a couple of hundreds of followers. Now there are 2.18 billion Christians of all ages of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%).
This apparent stability, however, masks a momentous shift from Europe and the Americas, it’s home for about a millennium, where they have significantly decreased to sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia pacific region which have significantly increased. Christianity today – unlike a century ago – is truly a global faith being so geographically widespread that there is no indisputable centre of global Christianity.
About 90% of Christians live in countries where Christians are in the majority; only about 10% of Christians worldwide live as minorities. Almost half (48%) of all Christians live in the 10 countries with the largest number of Christians spread representing all global regions. China is projected to be have the largest Christian population of any country by the year 2030 even though they will not be the majority in that country.
Christians are diverse theologically as well as geographically.
There are about 600 million Charismatics and Pentecostals and they are the fastest growing Christian movement of the last century and arguably the fastest growing religious phenomenon in history.