December 19, 2011

Global Christianity - A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population

Living as Majorities and Minorities

Most Christians live in countries where Christians are in the majority, but nearly 208 million (10%) live in countries where they are a religious minority. If all these Christians were in a single country, it would have the second-largest Christian population in the world, after the United States.

More than 80% of the Christians who live as religious minorities around the world are found in just 10 countries. China has the world’s largest Christian-minority population, although Christians make up only about 5% of China’s total population. Indeed, China probably has more Christians than any European nation except Russia. (See Appendix C [PDF] for more details on the range of estimates available for China.)
Of the 232 countries and territories included in this study, 158 have Christian majorities. However, most of the Christian-majority countries are relatively small: about seven-in-ten have fewer Christians than the Christian-minority country Vietnam (7 million Christians).

All 51 countries in the Americas have a Christian majority. In Europe, 46 of the 50 countries have a Christian majority, as do 34 of the 51 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and 27 of the 60 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.7 Christians are a minority, however, in all 20 countries in the Middle East-North Africa.


7 The newly independent country of South Sudan, which has a Christian majority, is considered part of sub-Saharan Africa in this report. (return to text)