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Africa overtakes Latin America for the highest Christian population

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Africa has seen the births or conversions of nearly 50 million people in the last year

New data, released earlier this year, announced that Africa holds the largest number of Christians in the world. This moves the reigning champs of the title, Latin America into 2nd place.

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, produced an infographic which breaks down the world’s Christian population by continent. The results show Africa on top with 631 million Christian residents, Latin America in 2nd place with 601 million Christians, and Europe in 3rd place with 571 million Christians.

CBS News reports the African countries with the highest percentages of Christian residents are Zambia (95.5%), the Republic of Seychelles (94.7%), and Rowanda (93.6).

A 2017 survey by the same group had Africa at 582 million Christians and Latin America at 591 million. This means Africa has seen the births or conversions of nearly 50 million people in the last year. Similarly, Latin America has increased by about 10 million.

North America is 5th on the list as far as population goes, with 277 million. They are however in 3rd place in percentage of the population, with 76% claiming christianity as their religion.

Christian post explains that for the purposes of the poll, Christian is a blanket term:

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, data was obtained from the World Christian Database and “Christians” include Catholics, Protestants, Independents and Orthodox. Excluded are “unaffiliated” Christians and “double-counted.”

They do divide the denominations, however, which is distributed as such:

Catholics have the highest percentage of followers worldwide (49 percent of Christians), followed by Protestants (22 percent), Independents (17 percent), and Orthodox (12 percent).

It is important to note that while Africa has pulled ahead of Latin America in sheer numbers, by percentage, Latin America still lays claim to the highest percentage of Christian citizens in the world, at 92%.

In total, Christians make up 31% of the world’s population, just under one-third at 2.3 billion. 1.8 billion people in the world are Muslim and 1.1 billion people are Hindu. There are 1.2 billion people who do not associate with any religion.

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