The world’s 801 million Protestants, as broadly defined in this report (see Defining Christian Traditions), make up 37% of the global Christian population.
The Protestant Reformation, which split Western Christianity and gave birth to Protestantism, took place in Europe in the 16th century. Today, however, only two of the 10 countries with the largest Protestant populations are European.
The United States has more Protestants than any other country – about 160 million, or 20% of the worldwide total. Nigeria is second, with nearly 60 million Protestants, or more than 7% of all Protestants worldwide. China has the world’s third-largest Protestant population (approximately 58 million), although less than 5% of China’s total population is Protestant. (See Appendix C [PDF] for more details on the range of estimates available for China.)
The 10 countries with the largest number of Protestants collectively account for 61% of the world’s Protestants. Protestants form a majority of the total population in 49 countries.
Despite Europe’s historical links to Protestantism, its share of the global Protestant population (13%) is eclipsed by the share in sub-Saharan Africa (37%), the Americas (33%) and the Asia-Pacific region (17%). Only the Middle East-North Africa has a smaller share of Protestants (less than 1%) than Europe.