The Pew Forum have just released a new report on the state of Christianity, and I just thought I'd share some of the details, because I think it's quite interesting.
One third of the global population are Christian - that's 2.18 billion people, and around half of those are Catholics. (Muslims make up just under a quarter of the world's population.)
Although Christians make up a third of the global population, they form a majority in about two-thirds of all the countries.
100 years ago, there were 600 million Christians, this figure has quadrupled - but in accordance with rising global population. About one-third of the world's population was Christian in 1910, and this hasn't changed.
In keeping with the themes of books such as The Next Christendom and God Is Back, the major developments are in the geographical spread of Christianity. No continent can now claim to be the center of global Christianity (in 1910 two-thirds of them were in Europe, in 2010 the figure is closer to one-quarter). The proportion of Europeans and Americans who are Christian has dropped from 95% in 1910 to 76% (it doesn't indicate how much of this is due to a rise in non-religiously affiliated or a rise in Muslims), but the proportion for Sub-Saharan Africans has risen from 9% to 63%.
The report also estimates that China has over 67 million Christians, but the actual figure is bound to be higher. It's a politically sensitive issue and most scholars would say there is a lot of underreporting by individuals, churches and state organisations (the underground Catholic Church is bigger than the official one). In the book God Is Back, it is estimated the number is over 100 million. Incidentally, it appears part of the government's reason for underreporting is that there are seemingly more Catholics than members of the Communist Party.
Nigeria now has twice as many Protestants than Germany, birthplace of the Protestant Reformation.