How Many Christians Are In the World Today?

The Globe and Satistics

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In the last 100 years, the number of Christians in the world has quadrupled from about 600 million in 1910 to well past 2 billion presently. Today, Christianity remains the world's largest religious group.

At a Glance: How Many Christians in the World Today

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, there were 2.3 billion Christians of all ages living in the world. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, reported that the number of Christians in the world edged past 2.5 billion in 2019.

Percentage of Christians Worldwide

Nearly one-third or 31.2% of the world's population is considered to be Christian. The term Christian encompasses a broad range of denominations, with Roman Catholicism comprising the largest group made up of around 1.3 billion adherents. Protestants, Evangelicals, Orthodox, Anglicans, and many other sub-denominations are included in the count. 

Map showing the % Christian population in each nation, worldwide.
Map showing the % Christian population in each nation, worldwide. M Tracy Hunter

Top 3 Largest National Christian Populations

About half of all Christians live in just 10 countries. In 2010, the top three populations were the United States, Brazil, and Mexico:

  • United States: 246,780,000 (78% of the Population in 2010).
  • Brazil: 175,770,000 (90% of the Population in 2010).
  • Mexico: 107,780,000 (95% of the Population in 2010).

Number of Christian Denominations

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world today. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions between denominations in different countries, so there is an overlapping of many denominations.

Major Christian Traditions

  • Roman Catholic: The Roman Catholic Church denomination is the largest Christian group in the world today with more than a billion followers constituting about half of the world's Christian population. Brazil has the largest number of Catholics (134 million), more than in Italy, France, and Spain combined.
  • Protestant: There are approximately 800 million Protestants in the world, comprising 37% of the global Christian population. The United States has more Protestants than any other country (160 million), which is about 20% of the worldwide total number of Christians.
  • Orthodox: Approximately 260 million people worldwide are Orthodox Christians, comprising 12% of the global Christian population. Nearly 40% of Orthodox Christians worldwide live in Russia.
  • Other: About 28 million adherents worldwide (1%) do not belong to one of these three largest Christian traditions, but do fit within the broad umbrella of Christianity.

Christianity in America

Today in the United States, the number of adults who identify as Christians has dropped from 78% in 2010 to 65% at present. That means about 230 million Americans call themselves Christians. By comparison, the next largest religions in America are Judaism and Islam. Combined, these faiths represent less than three percent of the United States population.

However, according to ReligiousTolerance.org, there are more than 1500 different Christian faith groups in North America. These include mega-groups like Roman Catholic and Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, Baptists, Pentecostals, Amish, Quakers, Adventists, Messianic, Independent, Communal, and Non-Denominational.

World Distribution of Christian Population
World Distribution of Christian Population. Pew Research Center 

Christianity by Continent

  • Africa: More than 600 million Christians live in Africa (5 regions).
  • Asia: Nearly 400 million Christian live in Asia (5 regions).
  • Europe: About 550 million Christians live in Europe, representing about one fourth (26%) of the global Christian population. The highest number of Christians in Europe reside in Russia (105 million) and Germany (58 million).
  • Latin America: About 600 million Christians live in Latin America (3 regions).
  • North America: Around 230 million Christians live in North America.
  • Oceania: Approximately 25 million Christians live in Oceania (4 regions).

Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Evangelicals

Of the approximate 2.5 billion Christians in the world today, 279 million (12.8% of the world's Christian population) identify themselves as Pentecostals, 304 million (14%) are Charismatics, and 285 million (13.1%) are Evangelicals or Bible-believing Christians. (These three categories are not mutually exclusive.)

Pentecostals and Charismatics make up about 27% of all the Christians in the world and about 8% of the total population in the world.

Missionaries and Christian Workers

  • Unevangelized World: In the not evangelized world, there are 20,500 full-time Christian workers and 10,200 foreign missionaries.
  • Evangelized Non-Christian World: In the evangelized non-Christian world, there are 1.31 million full-time Christian workers and about 5,400 foreign mission sending agencies.
  • Christian World: In the Christian world, there are 450,000 foreign missionaries to other Christian lands. Also, 4.19 million full-time Christian workers (95%) work within the Christian world.

Books and Bibles

  • Approximately 93 million Bibles are distributed globally per year.
  • There are approximately 9.5 million books about Christianity in print today.

Christian Martyrs Worldwide

On average, about 160,000 Christians worldwide are martyred for their faith per year. According to Open Doors, 11 Christians are killed in the world each day for their decision to follow Jesus Christ. And the ten most dangerous places to be a Christian are North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lybia, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, and India.

Sources

  • Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/05/christians-remain-worlds-largest-religious-group-but-they-are-declining-in-europe/
  • The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
  • ReligiousTolerance.org. http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_deno.htm
View Article Sources
  • Liu, Joseph. “The Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population.” Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, 5 Aug. 2016, www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-exec/.

    Liu, Joseph. “Christian Traditions | Pew Research Center.” Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project, 7 Aug. 2013, www.pewforum.org/2011/12/19/global-christianity-traditions/.

    World Christian Database, www.worldchristiandatabase.org/.

    World Religion Database, www.worldreligiondatabase.org/wrd_default.asp.