By Aaron Earls
The geographical center of Christianity is on the move again.
The Christian faith started in the Middle East, spread to Europe, became dominant in the Americas, and is now experiencing rapid growth in Africa.
Pew Research identified the 10 countries with the largest Christian populations, along with projections for 2060.
In 2015, three African nations ranked in the top 10—Nigeria (6th), Democratic Republic of Congo (7th), and Ethiopia (9th).
By 2060, more than half of the top 10 will be African—Nigeria (3rd), Democratic Republic of Congo (4th), Tanzania (7th), Uganda (8th), Kenya (9th), and Ethiopia (10th).
Russia (4th), China (8th), and Germany (10th) are expected to drop out of the top 10 by 2060.
Projections have the United States remaining the nation with the greatest number of Christians and increasing in raw numbers from 248 to 262 million in 2060.
However, the U.S. will decrease in terms of percentage of the world’s Christians. In 2015, 10.9% lived in America. By 2060, that is projected to fall to 8.6%.
As a whole, Christianity is a more globally diverse religion than Islam, the world’s second largest religion.
Currently and in projections, more than 6 in 10 of the world’s Muslims live in the countries with the 10 largest Muslim populations, all centered in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
By contrast, less than half of the world’s Christians reside in the top 10 Christian population nations, with countries in North America, South America, Africa, and Asia.
In 2015, 47.5% of Christians lived in one of the 10 nations with largest Christian populations. That is expected to remain steady, rising only to 47.7% by 2060.
According to Pew Research, there are 2.3 billion Christians in the world and 1.8 billion Muslims. By 2060, that gap is projected to narrow somewhat with 3 billion Christians and nearly 3 billion Muslims.
The more rapid growth projections for Islam is due to Muslims being younger and having more children, on average, than Christians.
Aaron Earls is senior writer/editor of LifewayResearch.com.