Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there continuing growth in Christianity around the world or has it stalled/declined? I'm interested in worldwide stats rather than for individual countries.

share|improve this question
1  
I don't think "Is Christianity growing?" is a useful question (although not in a invalid for Christianity.SE sense). I think "Is the number of people who have had the opportunity to hear the Gospel growing?" is a much more important question. –  a_hardin Aug 27 '11 at 12:54
    
@a_hardin: Those two questions probably have the same answer. –  Flimzy Aug 28 '11 at 7:04
2  
@Flimzy I'm not so sure; in much of Europe Christianity has seen a decline in numbers, but there is plenty of opportunity/exposure. –  Marc Gravell Sep 3 '11 at 15:30
2  
In some European countries you are counted as being a Christian unless you pick a different one, so the numbers can be inflated. Also, do you go by practicing Christians or those that claim to be? –  James Black Nov 1 '11 at 22:46
    
I fear a definitive answer is impossible. Just trying to ascertain who or what Christians are is a great debate. –  Neil Meyer Nov 4 '13 at 16:55
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The numbers appear to be inconclusive, at least according to this site.

It appears the number of Christians is growing, but in terms of percentage of population, some studies show a slight growth, while others show a slight decline. Of course the various studies are over different time periods, so it's impossible, with the given data, to draw any conclusive results.

Wikipedia estimates the 2007 growth rate of Christianity at 1.38%, which appears to be within the range of the various studies cited above.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The answer to this question really depends on how you measure the growth. One way to do so would be to measure the languages to which Christianity is becoming available. Bible translation is probably a lagging indicator, as missionaries often precede the work of translation.

According to Wycliffe Translation Statistics, the number of people win the world who speak languages where no translation work has been either begun or completed is 340 million (slightly more than the population of the United States). This is 5% of the World's population.

So, Christianity is, indeed, continuing to spread across more and more language groups. This is a fulfillment of the prophecies in the book of Revelation that spoke of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue.

I can't find where I saw estimates of when the last language would get a Bible translation, but it's quite feasible to reach that goal in the next hundred years, maybe even 50.

share|improve this answer
    
It's not clear to me that the number of languages translated correlates with the number of Christians. If no translation work were being completed does that mean the number of Christians would necessarily be constant? –  DJClayworth Nov 8 '11 at 18:27
    
No, it doesn't. This isn't the full picture, but it is part of the answer. –  Narnian Nov 8 '11 at 19:11
add comment

This is directly copied from a Pew Forum Survey under the title "Religious Affiliation":

Compared with their elders today, young people are much less likely to affiliate with any religious tradition or to identify themselves as part of a Christian denomination. Fully one-in-four adults under age 30 (25%) are unaffiliated, describing their religion as "atheist," "agnostic" or "nothing in particular." This compares with less than one-fifth of people in their 30s (19%), 15% of those in their 40s, 14% of those in their 50s and 10% or less among those 60 and older. About two-thirds of young people (68%) say they are members of a Christian denomination and 43% describe themselves as Protestants, compared with 81% of adults ages 30 and older who associate with Christian faiths and 53% who are Protestants.

Based on this information, as well as the other graphs and questions in that survey, I would venture to say that Christianity is not growing, but rather declining. Of course, for every survey that says it's declining, there is probably one that says it's growing...

share|improve this answer
    
Note that this is specifically American statistics - worldwide the picture is very different - some countries growing rapidly, some declining rapidly. –  neil Dec 31 '12 at 1:58
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.