Africa will have the most Christians in the world

Research reveals hotspots for Christian population growth

The African continent is set to hold the largest Christian population in the world during the next four decades.

A list of the top 10 countries with the most Christians, by Pew Research Center projects that, by 2060, six out of ten of these countries will be located in Africa.

Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya are likely to join the top 10 over the next 40 years, pushing out Russia, Germany and China, which were included in a 2015 list of nations with the highest Christian populations.

The United States is set to remain in the Number One position on the 2060 list and Brazil will also keep its spot at Number Two. However, by 2060, Nigeria is expected to pip Mexico as the country with the world’s third largest Christian population, as Nigeria moves up from sixth position (on the 2015 list). D.R. Congo is also likely to move up the ranks, from seventh position in 2015 to fourth by 2060.

Ethiopia – in ninth position in 2015 – is, however, predicted to fall to tenth in 2060 as Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya jump in front. The new Pew Research Center lists projects these nations to be ranked at seventh, eighth and ninth.

Less than half of the Christians in the world (48%) live in the 10 countries identified as having the highest Christian populations.

The research compares the 2015 lists of countries with the largest Christian populations with top 10 lists for the world’s second largest religion, Islam.

There are some surprising results. The comparison shows that less than half of the Christians in the world (48%) live in the 10 countries identified as having the highest Christian populations. In contrast, almost two-thirds (65%) of Muslims live in the 10 countries with the highest Muslim populations. So, “the global Muslim population is more heavily concentrated in Islam’s main population centres” while the global Christian population “is more widely dispersed around the world.”

This is also reflected in the projected future top 10 list of nations for Muslim populations, which has only one country change: Algeria. Ranked ninth in 2015, Algeria is likely to be replaced by Afghanistan, which is expected to have the tenth highest Muslim population in 2060. All other countries remain the same as the 2015 list, with only a slight shuffling of positions.

It’s interesting to note that Nigeria, which has the world’s fifth largest Muslim population (90 million) also houses the sixth-largest Christian population in the world (87 million).

Another key finding is that there is likely to be a levelling out between the total number of Christians and Muslims worldwide in the future: “Overall, there are about 2.3 billion Christians in the world and 1.8 billion Muslims. That gap is expected to narrow by 2060, when Pew Research Center projects there will be 3 billion Christians and nearly 3 billion Muslims. That’s because Muslims, on average, are younger and have more children than do Christians.”