By Aaron Earls
Europe birthed Protestantism. North America helped spread it around the world. But the future of Protestant Christianity appears to be in Africa and Asia.
Today, 41 percent of all Protestants live in Africa, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. By 2050, that number is expected to swell to 53 percent.
Out of 560 million Protestants, more than 228 million call Africa home in 2017. That’s more than 2.5 times as many as Europe and almost 4 times as many as North America.
Asia has the second highest Protestant population with almost 100 million.
In 1910, the 10 nations with the largest population of Protestants were all in Europe or former British colonies such as the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Only three of those nations—the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany—remained on the list in 2015. African nations like Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia jumped onto the list, along with Brazil and the Asian countries of China, India, and Indonesia.
Of the 10 nations with the fastest Protestant growth rate from 1910-2015, seven are African, including the top five.
- Rwanda 13.01%
- Burundi 12.62%
- Côte d’Ivoire 12.44%
- Burkina Faso 12.32%
- Chad 11.98%
- Vietnam 11.85%
- Central African Republic 11.38%
- Republic of Congo 10.85%
- Philippines 10.82%
- Nepal 10.22%
More recently, however, Asian countries have experienced significant growth. Among the 10 nations with the fastest Protestant growth rate from 2005-2015, five are Asian and four are African.
- São Tomé and Príncipe 11.50%
- Bhutan 10.21%
- Niger 7.14%
- Singapore 5.66%
- Iran 5.51%
- Benin 5.40%
- Azerbaijan 5.31%
- Senegal 5.13%
- Honduras 5.13%
- Laos 5.07%
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.