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article imageChristianity is world's largest religion, says Pew Forum survey

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 20, 2011 in World
Christianity is the world's largest religion, so says a new Pew Forum Survey called "Global Christianity." According to the survey, about half of all the world's Christians are Catholics, with Protestants accounting for 37%, and Orthodox Christians 12%.
The Pew Forum reports about one-third of the world's people, that is, 2.2 billion, are Christians and about one-third of the total number of Christians in the world live in the West. The countries with the largest Christian population are the U.S., Brazil and Mexico.
CNN reports that this proportion makes Christians by far the largest religious group on Earth. Christianity has also gone global with the major centers of population having shifted from Europe. The Washington Post says the survey showed that Brazil has as many Roman Catholics as Italy, Nigeria twice as many Protestants as Germany (where the Reformation began).
Although modern Christianity had its origin in Europe, the United States has the world's largest Christian population with more than 247 million American Christians.
The Pew Forum reports that the regions with the smallest Christian population are where the faith began in ancient times, the Middle East and North Africa. In this region, Christians are only about 4 percent of the population. Egypt has the largest Christian population in the Middle East with about 4.3 million Christians mostly of the Coptic Church.
Islam is the second largest religion in the world. There are about 1.6 billion Muslims, about a quarter of the world's population, based on the 2010 estimate of world population as 6.9 billion.
The survey says Sub-Saharan Africa has posted the fastest rate of growth of Christian population in the past century. The population of Christians on the continent increased from about 9 million in 1910 to about 516 million at the beginning of the 21st century. This amounts to about a quarter of the world's Christians. Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia have the largest Christian populations on the continent.
China, for the first time, also appeared on the list of countries with the highest number of Christians. The study found that China has more practicing Christians than any country in Europe. The Pew Forum reports that about 5 percent of China's population, about 67 million, are Christian. Estimating China's Christian population was difficult because of government restrictions which drives some churches underground.
The "Global Christianity" study is based on demographic data collected from national censuses, population surveys and estimates of church groups, and other opinion surveys in 232 countries and territories. According to CNN, the study is part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project and includes data on present and projected number of Muslims.
More about Christianity, Pew forum, Catholics, Protestants
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