There will be over 2.6 billion Christians worldwide by the middle of 2023 and around 3.3 billion by 2050, according to a report published in early January by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.
The 2,604,381,000 estimate for mid-year 2023 Christian population total is a 44,506,000-person increase from the mid-year 2022 total.
The new estimates of the worldwide Christian population for both 2025 and 2050 are higher than the 2022 report’s estimates. The 2023 report projects a Christian population of 2,662,979,000 in 2025 (up 25.8 million from the 2022 estimate) and a population of 3,342,878,000 in 2050 (up 8.8 million).
The number of Christians as a percentage of the world population declined from 34.5% to 32.3% from 1900 to 2000, before rising 0.1% from 2000 to 2022. If the report’s estimates prove accurate, Christians would comprise 34.4% of the global population in 2050.
From 2000 to 2022, the global Christian population increased by 1.18% annually, with Pentecostals / Charismatics seeing the highest annual growth rate (1.88%), followed by evangelicals (1.79%), independents (1.65%), Protestants (1.58%), Roman Catholics (0.93%), unaffiliated Christians (0.82%) and Orthodox Christians (0.53%).
In 2050, Roman Catholics are projected to remain the most populous Christian tradition (1.5 billion), followed by Pentecostals / Charismatics (1 billion), Protestants (881 million), evangelicals (620 million), independents (616 million), Orthodox (307 million) and unaffiliated (131 million).
Annual Christian population growth rates from 2000 to the present have been highest in Africa (2.76%), followed by Asia (1.62%), Latin American (1.03%), Oceana (0.92%), Northern America (0.29%) and Europe (0.04%). Overall, the Global South’s Christian population has increased by an annual percentage rate of 1.8% during this time period, compared to a rate of 0.12% for the Global North.
From 2000 to the present, the global Muslim population increased at the highest annual rate of all faith traditions at 1.87%, increasing by 697.8 million adherents to 2,007,352,000 (mid-year 2023 projection).
The global Sikh population increased at the next highest annual rate (1.56%), followed by Hindus (1.2%), Christians (1.18%), ethnoreligionists (1.16%), Buddhists (0.77%), Jews (0.7%), Agnostics (0.61%), nonreligionists (0.56%), Chinese folk-religionists (0.34%), atheists (0.29%) and new religionists (0.26%).
The full report is available here.