The number of Christians as a percentage of the global population is expected to increase over the next few decades, according to a report published Dec. 17 by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

From 1900 to 2021, Christians as a percentage of the world population declined by 2.2% to 32.3%. The center expects this trend to begin reversing in the years ahead, with the percentage increasing slightly to 32.5% by 2025 and rising to 35% by 2050.

Since 2000, the most significant growth in Christian adherents has been in Africa, which has seen a 2.81% average annual increase. Asia has had the second fastest increase in Christians at 1.5%, followed by Latin America (1.14%) and Oceania (0.63%).

The slowest average annual growth rate during this time period was in Europe (including Russia) at 0.01%, with North America seeing a 0.27% average yearly increase in Christian adherents.

Pentecostal / Charismatic Christians have had the highest average percentage growth rate since 2000 at 1.89% with evangelicals increasing at 1.80% per year on average.

Independent Christians grew at an average rate of 1.6% during the past two decades, followed by Protestants (1.56%), Roman Catholics (0.95%), unaffiliated Christians (0.65%) and Orthodox (0.62%).

Overall, the total number of Christians globally increased by 1.18% on average each year from 2000 to 2021.

By comparison, the total number of Muslims rose by an average rate of 1.92%, followed by Sikhs (1.71%), Hindus (1.28%), Buddhists (0.94%), Ethnoreligionists (0.89%), Jews (0.68%), agnostics (0.52%), nonreligionists (0.47%), Chinese folk-religionists (0.42%) and atheists (0.22%).

Among the religiously affiliated, Christians had the highest total numbers worldwide at more than 2.54 billion in 2021, followed by Muslims (more than 1.92 billion) and Hindus (more than 1.07 billion).

The full report is available here.

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