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Christianity has become less European over past century, study says

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With the Christmas season underway, a new study finds that the Christian percentage of the world’s population has remained fairly steady over the last century, but its distribution has changed dramatically, with just 25% now found in Europe, a slightly higher percentage than in sub-Saharan Africa.

The study by the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that there are 2.18 billion Christians in the world, about one-third of the estimated 6.9 billion global population. About 37% of those Christians are in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1910, about two-thirds of Christians lived in Europe, where the majority had resided for a millennium. But as Christianity has grown in other parts of the world, the population has seen a shift. The Christian percentage of the population in sub-Saharan Africa rose from 9% in 1910 to 63% in 2010 and in the Asia-Pacific region it went from 3% to 7%. This includes China, where the researchers estimate 5% of the population is Christian, mostly Protestant or Catholic.

The lowest concentration of Christians is found in the regions where the faith began: the Middle East and North Africa, where Christians are about 4% of the population.

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The analysis, ‘Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population,’ is available on the group’s website.

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-- Raja Abdulrahim in Los Angeles


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