Christian population growth

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Christian population growth refers to the growth of population of the global Christian community.

Fertility rate[edit]

The Christian fertility has varied throughout history, but it has declined along with most other fertility figures. It is also important to point out that the Christian fertility varies from country to country. Over the last 20 years (1989–2009), the average world fertility rate decreased from 3.50 to 2.58, a fall of 0.92 children per women or 26%. The weighted average fertility rate for Christian nations decreased in the same period from 3.26 to 2.58, a fall of 0.68 children per women or 21%. The weighted average fertility rate for Muslim nations decreased in the same period from 5.17 to 3.23, a fall of 1.94 children per women or 38%. The gap in fertility between the Christian- and Muslim-dominated nations fell from 67% in 1990 to 17% in 2010. If the trend continues, the Muslim and Christian fertility rates will converge in around 2015.

10 countries with highest percentage of Christians Christian and Muslim fertility rate[1][2] Birth surplus by religion[3]
UN Ranking Country Fertility rate
(2005–2010)
(births/woman)[4]
Percent Christian
1   Vatican City 100.0%
2  Pitcairn Islands 100.0%
3  Ecuador 2.58 99.0%
4  East Timor 6.53 99.0%
5  Armenia 1.39 98.7%
6  Equatorial Guinea 5.36 98.6%
7  Moldova 1.40 98.3%
8  American Samoa 3.22 98.3%
9  Venezuela 2.55 98.0%
10  Greece 1.42 98.0%
Year Avg. world fertility Avg. Christian fertility Avg. Muslim fertility
1989 3.50 3.26 5.17
1990 3.40 3.14 5.25
1991 3.30 3.08 5.05
1992 3.30 2.95 4.92
1993 3.20 2.87 4.78
1994 3.10 2.84 4.75
1995 3.10 2.84 4.60
1996 2.90 2.66 4.28
1997 2.90 2.62 4.18
1998 2.90 2.63 4.05
1999 2.80 2.61 3.81
2000 2.80 2.62 3.69
2001 2.73 2.55 3.62
2002 2.70 2.54 3.56
2003 2.65 2.51 3.56
2004 2.62 2.49 3.52
2005 2.60 2.46 3.47
2006 2.59 2.50 3.44
2007 2.59 2.52 3.37
2008 2.61 2.60 3.30
2009 2.58 2.58 3.23
2010 2.56 2.56 3.00
Religion Birth surplus[1]
Christianity 22,708,799
Islam 21,723,118
Hinduism 13,194,111
Buddhism 3,530,918
Sikhism 363,677
Judaism 194,962
Bahá'í 117,158
Jainism 74,539
Confucianism 55,739
Zoroastrianism 45,391
Taoism 25,397
Shinto 8,534
Global population 78,860,791
Total 78,860,791

Conversion[edit]

Religion Conversions[1] Rate to total growth Rate to size Number of adherents to each new convert
Christianity 2,501,396 9.92% 0.13% 799
Islam 865,558 3.83% 0.07% 1,373
Buddhism 156,609 4.25% 0.04% 900
Sikhism 28,961 7.38% 0.12% 803
Bahá'í 26,333 18.35% 0.37% 270
Zoroastrianism 13,080 22.37% 0.51% 194
Taoism −155
Confucianism −11,434
Jainism −39,588
Shinto −40,527
Judaism −70,447
Hinduism −660,377 [Romanism]

Absolute growth[edit]

Religion Births Conversions New adherents per year[1] Growth rate
Christianity 22,708,799 2,501,396 25,210,195 1.56%
Islam 21,951,118 865,558 22,588,676 1.84%
Hinduism 13,194,111 -660,377 12,533,734 1.69%
Buddhism 3,530,918 156,609 3,687,527 1.09%
Sikhism 363,677 28,961 392,638 1.87%
Judaism 194,962 −70,447 124,515 0.91%
Bahá'í 117,158 26,333 143,491 2.28%
Confucianism 55,739 −11,434 44,305 0.73%
Jainism 74,539 −39,588 34,951 0.87%
Shinto 8,534 −40,527 -31,993 −1.09%
Taoism 25,397 −155 25,242 1.00%
Zoroastrianism 45,391 13,080 58,471 2.65%
Global population 78,860,791 78,860,791 1.41%
Religion Adherents (2000)[1] Percent of world Adherents (2025)[1] Percent of world Adherents (2050)[1] Percent of world Growth (number) Growth (percent of adherents) Growth (percent of world)
Christianity 1,999,563,838 33.0% 2,616,670,052 33.4% 3,051,564,342 34.3% 1,052,000,504 52.61% 1.3%
Islam 1,188,242,789 19.6% 1,784,875,653 22.8% 2,229,281,610 25.0% 1,041,038,821 87.61% 5.4%
Hinduism 811,336,265 13.4% 1,049,230,740 13.4% 1,175,297,850 13.2% 363,961,585 44.86% −0.2%
Buddhism 359,981,757 5.9% 418,344,730 5.3% 424,607,060 4.8% 64,625,303 17.95% −1.1%
Sikhism 23,258,412 0.4% 31,377,860 0.4% 37,058,960 0.4% 13,800,548 59.34% 0.0%
Judaism 14,434,039 0.2% 16,053,350 0.2% 16,694,500 0.2% 2,260,461 15.66% 0.0%
Bahá'í 7,106,420 0.1% 12,062,150 0.2% 18,000,900 0.2% 10,894,480 153.30% 0.1%
Confucianism 6,298,597 0.1% 6,817,950 0.1% 6,952,900 0.1% 654,303 10.39% 0.0%
Jainism 4,217,979 0.1% 6,115,650 0.1% 6,732,770 0.1% 2,514,791 59.62% 0.0%
Shinto 2,761,845 0.0% 2,122,950 0.0% 1,655,400 0.0% -1,106,445 −40.06% 0.0%
Taoism 2,654,514 0.0% 3,066,300 0.0% 3,272,200 0.0% 617,686 23.27% 0.0%
Zoroastrianism 2,543,950 0.0% 4,439,930 0.1% 6,964,700 0.1% 4,420,750 173.78% 0.1%
Others 1,632,648,595 27.0% 1,872,525,685 24.0% 1,931,011,808 22.0% 298,363,213 18.27% −5.6%
Total 6,055,049,000 100.0% 7,823,703,000 100.0% 8,909,095,000 100.0% 2,854,046,000 47.13% -

By branches[edit]

Catholicism[edit]

Roman Catholic Church[edit]

  • Church membership in 2007 was 1.147 billion people,[5] (17% of the global population at the time) increasing from the 1950 figure of 437 million[6] (17% of the global population at the time) and the 1970 figure of 654 million.[7] On 31 December 2008, membership was 1.166 billion, an increase of 11.54% over the same date in 2000, only slightly greater than the rate of increase of the world population (10.77%). The increase was 33.02% in Africa, but only 1.17% in Europe. It was 15.91% in Asia, 11.39% in Oceania, and 10.93% in Americas. As a result, Catholics were 17.77% of the total population in Africa, 63.10% in Americas, 3.05% in Asia, 39.97% in Europe, 26.21% in Oceania, and 17.40% of the world population. Of the world's Catholics, the proportion living in Africa grew from 12.44% in 2000 to 14.84% in 2008, while those living in Europe fell from 26.81% to 24.31%.[8] Membership of the Catholic Church is attained through baptism.[9] from 1983 to 2009, if someone formally left the Church, that fact was noted in the register of the person's baptism.
  • Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiles the Vatican's yearbook, said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that "For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us". He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population—a stable percentage—while Muslims were at 19.2 percent. "It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer," the monsignor said.[10]

Also see

Eastern Orthodoxy[edit]

Main article: Orthodoxy by country

Protestantism[edit]

By country[edit]

  • According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the World Christian Database as of 2007 estimated the six fastest-growing religions of the world to be Islam (1.84%), the Bahá'í Faith (1.7%), Sikhism (1.62%), Jainism (1.57%), Hinduism (1.52%), and Christianity (1.32%). High birth rates were cited as the reason for the growth.[11]
  • The U.S. Center for World Mission stated a growth rate of Christianity at 2.3% for the period 1970 to 1996, (slightly higher than the world population growth rate at the time). This increased the claimed percentage of adherents of Christianity from 33.7% to 33.9%.[12]
  • The World Christian Database as of 2007 estimated the growth rate of Christianity at 1.32%. High birth rates and conversions were cited as the main reason.[13]
  • Using data from the period 2000–2005 the 2006 Christian World Database estimated that by number of new adherents, Christianity was the fastest growing religion in the world with 30,360,000 new adherents in 2006. This was followed by Islam with 23,920,000 and Hinduism with 13,224,000 estimated new adherents in the same period.[14]
Country or subnational unit Regular church attendance (%)
Alabama Alabama 58%[15]
Poland Poland 56.7%[16]
Texas Texas 49%[15]
United States United States average 42%[15]
California California 32%[15]
Canada Canada 25%
Vermont Vermont 24% [15]
France France 15%
United Kingdom United Kingdom 10%[17]
Australia Australia 7.5%[18]
Norway Norway 5%[19]

Africa[edit]

Further information: Christianity in Africa
  • Christianity has been estimated to be growing rapidly in South America, Africa, and Asia. In Africa, for instance, in 1900, there were only 8.7 million adherents of Christianity; now there are 390 million, and it is expected by 2025 there will be 600 million Christians in Africa. The number of Catholics in Africa has increased from one million in 1902 to 329,882,000. There are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people.

Nigeria Nigeria[edit]

Further information: Christianity in Nigeria
  • The numbers of Christians in Nigeria has grown from 21.4% in 1953 to 48.2% in 2003.[20] This is due to the high number of missionaries in Nigeria.

South Africa South Africa[edit]

America[edit]

Canada Canada[edit]

Further information: Christianity in Canada

In the Canada 2001 Census[21] [2] [3] [4] [5] 72% of the Canadian population list Roman Catholicism or Protestantism as a religion. The Roman Catholic Church in Canada is by far the country's largest single denomination. Those who listed no religion account for 16% of total respondents. In British Columbia, however, 35% of respondents reported no religion—more than any single denomination and more than all Protestants combined. [6]. For further information on historically significant religions in Canada, please see Religion in Canada.

Top Religious Denominations in Canada
2001 1991 % change
(in numbers)
Number  % Number  %
Total Population 29,639,035 26,944040 +9.8
Christian 22,851,825 77 22,503,360 83 +1.5
Roman Catholic 12,793,125 43.2 12,203,625 45.2 +4.8
– Total Protestant 8,654,845 29.2 9,427,675 34.9 −8.2
United Church of Canada 2,839,125 9.6 3,093,120 11.5 −8.2
Anglican Church of Canada 2,035,495 6.9 2,188,110 8.1 −7.0
– Christian, not included elsewhere¹ 780,450 2.6 353,040 1.3 +121.1
- Baptist 729,470 2.5 663,360 2.5 +10.0
Lutheran 606,590 2.0 636,205 2.4 −4.7
– Protestant, not included elsewhere² 549,205 1.9 628,945 2.3 −12.7
Presbyterian 409,830 1.4 636,295 2.4 −35.6
Christian Orthodox 495,245 1.7 387,395 1.4 +27.8
No Religious Affiliation 4,900,090 16.5 3,397,000 12.6 +44.2
Other
Muslim 579,645 2.0 253,265 0.9 +128.9
Jewish 329,990 1.1 318,185 1.2 +3.7
Buddhist 300,345 1.0 163,415 0.6 +83.8
Hindu 297,200 1.0 157,010 0.6 +89.3
Sikh 278,415 0.9 147,440 0.5 +88.8
¹ Includes persons who report “Christian”, and those who report “Apostolic”, “Born-again Christian” and “Evangelical”.
² Includes persons who report only “Protestant”.
* For comparability purposes, 1991 data are presented according to 2001 boundaries.

United States United States[edit]

The United States government does not collect religious data in its census. The survey below, the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) 2008, was a random digit-dialed telephone survey of 54,461 American residential households in the contiguous United States. The 1990 sample size was 113,723; 2001 sample size was 50,281.

Adult respondents were asked the open-ended question, "What is your religion, if any?" Interviewers did not prompt or offer a suggested list of potential answers. The religion of the spouse or partner was also asked. If the initial answer was "Protestant" or "Christian" further questions were asked to probe which particular denomination. About one third of the sample was asked more detailed demographic questions.

Religious Self-Identification of the U.S. Adult Population: 1990, 2001, 2008[22]
Figures are not adjusted for refusals to reply; investigators suspect refusals are possibly more representative of "no religion" than any other group.

Source:ARIS 2008[22]
Group
1990
adults
x 1,000
2001
adults
x 1,000
2008
adults
x 1,000

Numerical
Change
1990–
2008
as %
of 1990
1990
% of
adults
2001
% of
adults
2008
% of
adults
change
in % of
total
adults
1990–
2008
Adult population, total 175,440 207,983 228,182 30.1%
Adult population, Responded 171,409 196,683 216,367 26.2% 97.7% 94.6% 94.8% −2.9%
Total Christian 151,225 159,514 173,402 14.7% 86.2% 76.7% 76.0% −10.2%
Catholic 46,004 50,873 57,199 24.3% 26.2% 24.5% 25.1% −1.2%
non-Catholic Christian 105,221 108,641 116,203 10.4% 60.0% 52.2% 50.9% −9.0%
Baptist 33,964 33,820 36,148 6.4% 19.4% 16.3% 15.8% −3.5%
Mainline Christian 32,784 35,788 29,375 −10.4% 18.7% 17.2% 12.9% −5.8%
Methodist 14,174 14,039 11,366 −19.8% 8.1% 6.8% 5.0% −3.1%
Lutheran 9,110 9,580 8,674 −4.8% 5.2% 4.6% 3.8% −1.4%
Presbyterian 4,985 5,596 4,723 −5.3% 2.8% 2.7% 2.1% −0.8%
Episcopalian/Anglican 3,043 3,451 2,405 −21.0% 1.7% 1.7% 1.1% −0.7%
United Church of Christ 438 1,378 736 68.0% 0.2% 0.7% 0.3% 0.1%
Christian Generic 25,980 22,546 32,441 24.9% 14.8% 10.8% 14.2% −0.6%
Christian Unspecified 8,073 14,190 16,384 102.9% 4.6% 6.8% 7.2% 2.6%
Non-denominational Christian 194 2,489 8,032 4040.2% 0.1% 1.2% 3.5% 3.4%
Protestant – Unspecified 17,214 4,647 5,187 −69.9% 9.8% 2.2% 2.3% −7.5%
Evangelical/Born Again 546 1,088 2,154 294.5% 0.3% 0.5% 0.9% 0.6%
Pentecostal/Charismatic 5,647 7,831 7,948 40.7% 3.2% 3.8% 3.5% 0.3%
Pentecostal – Unspecified 3,116 4,407 5,416 73.8% 1.8% 2.1% 2.4% 0.6%
Assemblies of God 617 1,105 810 31.3% 0.4% 0.5% 0.4% 0.0%
Church of God 590 943 663 12.4% 0.3% 0.5% 0.3% 0.0%
Other Protestant Denominations 4,630 5,949 7,131 54.0% 2.6% 2.9% 3.1% 0.5%
Churches of Christ 1,769 2,593 1,921 8.6% 1.0% 1.2% 0.8% −0.2%
Seventh-Day Adventist 668 724 938 40.4% 0.4% 0.3% 0.4% 0.0%
Jehovah's Witnesses 1,381 1,331 1,914 38.6% 0.8% 0.6% 0.8% 0.1%
Mormon/Latter Day Saints 2,487 2,697 3,158 27.0% 1.4% 1.3% 1.4% 0.0%
Total non-Christian religions 5,853 7,740 8,796 50.3% 3.3% 3.7% 3.9% 0.5%
Jewish 3,137 2,837 2,680 −14.6% 1.8% 1.4% 1.2% −0.6%
Eastern Religions 687 2,020 1,961 185.4% 0.4% 1.0% 0.9% 0.5%
Buddhist 404 1,082 1,189 194.3% 0.2% 0.5% 0.5% 0.3%
Muslim 527 1,104 1,349 156.0% 0.3% 0.5% 0.6% 0.3%
New Religious Movements & Others 1,296 1,770 2,804 116.4% 0.7% 0.9% 1.2% 0.5%
None/ No religion, total 14,331 29,481 34,169 138.4% 8.2% 14.2% 15.0% 6.8%
Agnostic+Atheist 1,186 1,893 3,606 204.0% 0.7% 0.9% 1.6% 0.9%
Did Not Know/ Refused to reply 4,031 11,300 11,815 193.1% 2.3% 5.4% 5.2% 2.9%

Highlights:[22]

  1. The ARIS 2008 survey was carried out during February–November 2008 and collected answers from 54,461 respondents who were questioned in English or Spanish.
  2. The American population self-identifies as predominantly Christian but Americans are slowly becoming less Christian.
    • 86% of American adults identified as Christians in 1990 and 76% in 2008.
    • The historic Mainline churches and denominations have experienced the steepest declines while the non-denominational Christian identity has been trending upward particularly since 2001.
    • The challenge to Christianity in the U.S. does not come from other religions but rather from a rejection of all forms of organized religion.
  3. 34% of American adults considered themselves "Born Again or Evangelical Christians" in 2008.
  4. The U. S. population continues to show signs of becoming less religious, with one out of every seven Americans failing to indicate a religious identity in 2008.
    • The "Nones" (no stated religious preference, atheist, or agnostic) continue to grow, though at a much slower pace than in the 1990s, from 8.2% in 1990, to 14.1% in 2001, to 15.0% in 2008.
    • Asian Americans are substantially more likely to indicate no religious identity than other racial or ethnic groups.
  5. One sign of the lack of attachment of Americans to religion is that 27% do not expect a religious funeral at their death.
  6. Based on their stated beliefs rather than their religious identification in 2008, 70% of Americans believe in a personal God, roughly 12% of Americans are atheist (no God) or agnostic (unknowable or unsure), and another 12% are deistic (a higher power but no personal God).
  7. America's religious geography has been transformed since 1990. Religious switching along with Hispanic immigration has significantly changed the religious profile of some states and regions. Between 1990 and 2008, the Catholic population proportion of the New England states fell from 50% to 36% and in New York it fell from 44% to 37%, while it rose in California from 29% to 37% and in Texas from 23% to 32%.
  8. Overall the 1990–2008 ARIS time series shows that changes in religious self-identification in the first decade of the 21st century have been moderate in comparison to the 1990s, which was a period of significant shifts in the religious composition of the United States.

Asia[edit]

India India[edit]

Further information: Christianity in India
  • The Christian population of the Kandhamal district in Orissa was 117,950 in 2001, an increase from 75,597 in 1991, or a 66% growth, higher than the overall population at 18.6%. 42,353 converted to Christianity between 1991 and 2001, and two of them converted back to Hinduism.[23]

Malaysia Malaysia[edit]

Further information: Christianity in Malaysia
  • According to a Hindu organization, 130,000 people have converted from Hinduism to Christianity between 1965 and 1990. Around 97,000 joined the Methodist Church and the rest mostly joined various Protestant denominations, as well as 2,500 who joined the Catholic Church.[24]

Mongolia Mongolia[edit]

Further information: Christianity in Mongolia

Singapore Singapore[edit]

Further information: Christianity in Singapore
  • The percentage of Christians among Singaporeans increased from 12.7% in 1990 to 17.5% in 2010.[26]

South Korea South Korea[edit]

Further information: Christianity in Korea
  • In South Korea, Christianity has grown from 20.7% in 1985 to 29.5% in 2005 according to the World Christian Database.[20][27]

Vietnam Vietnam[edit]

Further information: Christianity in Vietnam

Europe[edit]

Norway Norway[edit]

Further information: Christianity in Norway

Continents and countries with the largest Christian population in 2050 if the percentage remains the same as today[edit]

Table based on statistics from "xist.org":[30][31]

Rank Continent Christians (2010) Rank Continent Christians (2050)
1. Americas 804,140,000 1. Americas 1,005,838,000
2. Europe 550,911,000 2. Africa 951,270,000
3. Africa 482,240,000 3. Europe 670,607,000
4. Asia 278,273,000 4. Asia 353,125,000
5. Oceania 25,754,000 5. Oceania 37,662,000
Rank Country Christians (2010) Rank Country Christians (2050)
1.  United States 243,186,000 1.  United States 329,343,000
2.  Brazil 174,700,000 2.  Brazil 235,666,000
3.  Mexico 105,095,000 3.  Ethiopia 179,493,000
4.  Russia 99,775,000 4.  Congo, Democratic Republic of 170,380,000
5.  Philippines 90,530,000 5.  Philippines 158,895,000
6.  Nigeria 76,281,000 6.  Mexico 139,773,000
7.  China, People's Republic of 66,959,000 7.  Nigeria 127,374,000
8.  Congo, Democratic Republic of 63,825,000 8.  Uganda 113,415,000
9.  Italy 55,070,000 9.  Russia 76,759,000
10.  Ethiopia 54,978,000 10.  China, People's Republic of 71,208,000

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Fastest Growing Religion – Numbers". 
  2. ^ CIA – The World Factbook
  3. ^ FASTEST GROWING RELIGION
  4. ^ United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2007). "United Nations World Population Prospects: 2006 revision, Table A.15". New York: UN. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "Vatican: Priest numbers show steady, moderate increase". Catholic News Service. 2 March 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2008. 
  6. ^ Froehle, pp. 4–5
  7. ^ Bazar, Emily (16 April 2008). "Immigrants Make Pilgrimage to Pope". USA Today. Retrieved 3 May 2008. 
  8. ^ "Number of Catholics on the Rise". Zenit News Agency. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010. . For greater details on numbers of Catholics and priests and their distribution by continent and for changes between 2000 and 2008, see "Annuario Statistico della Chiesa dell'anno 2008". Holy See Press Office. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 2 May 2010.  (in Italian)
  9. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 11. Retrieved 9 March 2008
  10. ^ "– Vatican: Islam Surpasses Roman Catholicism as World's Largest Religion – International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News". Foxnews.com. 30 March 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 
  11. ^ Staff (May 2007). "The List: The World’s Fastest-Growing Religions". Foreign Policy (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). 
  12. ^ "GROWTH RATE OF CHRISTIANITY & ISLAM Which will be the dominant religion in the future?". 
  13. ^ "The List: The World's Fastest-Growing Religions". Foreign Policy (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). May 2007. 
  14. ^ "What is the fastest growing religion in the world? A Secularist Evaluation.". FastestGrowingReligion.tk. 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008. 
  15. ^ a b c d e "2006 Gallup survey". San Diego Times. May 2, 2006. 
  16. ^ "Polish lead EU in Sunday church attendance". 
  17. ^ "'One in 10' attends church weekly [1] publisher = BBC News". 
  18. ^ NCLS releases latest estimates of church attendance, National Church Life Survey, Media release,
  19. ^ NorgeIDAG – Hvor mange aktive kristne finnes i Norge?
  20. ^ a b c Religious Demographic Profiles – Pew Forum
  21. ^ Religions in Canada—Census 2001
  22. ^ a b c Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar (2009). "AMERICAN RELIGIOUS IDENTIFICATION SURVEY (ARIS) 2008" (PDF). Hartford, Connecticut, USA: Trinity College. Retrieved 1 April 2009. 
  23. ^ Kandhmal: 66 percent Christian population growth in 10 years
  24. ^ 160,000 Have Converted Out of Hinduism in Malaysia in 25 Years
  25. ^ Religions in Mongolia
  26. ^ Better-educated S'pore residents look to religion
  27. ^ Pew Forum – Presidential Election in South Korea Highlights Influence of Christian Community
  28. ^ "Annual Report on International Religious Freedom for 2005 – Vietnam". U.S. Department of State. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 11 March 2007. 
  29. ^ Statistics Norway
  30. ^ Total Population of the Continents
  31. ^ Countries with highest population for 1950, 2010 and 2050