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Which country is Christianity growing the fastest?

Christianity remains the world’s largest religion with over 2 billion adherents globally. However, while Christianity continues to decline in parts of the world such as Europe and North America, it is experiencing rapid growth in other regions, especially in the developing world. Some of the countries that are seeing the fastest growth of Christianity are located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In these regions, a combination of high birth rates, evangelization efforts, and shifting religious identities are driving Christian gains. Understanding where and why Christianity is growing so quickly can provide insight into global religious trends.

Measuring Christian Growth by Country

Christian growth rates can be measured in different ways, each providing its own perspective. Some metrics include:

  • Percentage change in total Christian population over time. This shows the rate of growth in absolute Christian numbers.
  • Percentage of population that identifies as Christian. Higher percentages may indicate more conversions and Christian identification.
  • Annual growth rate as a percentage of current Christian population. Indicates annualized growth relative to current Christian population size.

Each metric has advantages and disadvantages. Percentage change in total population reflects overall growth but can be influenced by population size. The Christian share of population reveals prevalence but not raw numbers. Annual growth rates factor out population size but may fluctuate from year to year. Assessing all three measurements can provide a more complete picture of where Christianity is growing most rapidly.

Countries with the Fastest Christian Population Growth

Based on annual growth rates as a percentage of the current Christian population, these countries experienced the fastest growth from 2015 to 2020:

Country Annual Christian Growth Rate (2015-2020)
Oman 7.5%
United Arab Emirates 4.8%
Kuwait 4.6%
Yemen 4.0%
Qatar 3.9%
Mauritania 3.9%

Several Middle Eastern and North African countries top the list, seeing rapid Christian gains albeit from very small starting populations. The fast annual growth indicates significant percentages joining and converting, but does not necessarily mean large total increases in Christian populations.

Countries with Highest Increase in Total Christian Population

Looking at total Christian population change from 2015 to 2020, the countries adding the most Christians were:

Country Christian Population Change (Millions)
Nigeria 13.5
China 10.6
Philippines 5.3
DRC 4.6
Ethiopia 4.5

Nigeria led in total gains with over 13 million more Christians, followed by China and others. High birth rates and large existing Christian populations contributed to the large total increases.

Countries with Highest Increase in Christian Share of Population

The countries with the largest increase in the percentage of Christians as part of total population from 2015 to 2020 were:

Country Increase in Christian Share of Population
Qatar 14.9%
UAE 10.0%
Oman 9.4%
Kuwait 7.5%
Mauritania 3.9%

The same Middle Eastern countries top this list as well. The large percentage increases reflect Muslim-majority countries where Christians still represent a small portion of the total populace. This suggests significant conversions to Christianity in these regions.

Factors Driving Christian Growth

Several factors explain why Christianity is growing fastest in these regions and countries:

High Rates of Religious Switching

Many Middle Eastern and North African countries seeing Christian gains have Muslim-majority populations. The growth indicates that Muslims are converting to Christianity, willingly or forced, at high rates. Evangelism efforts and desire for religious freedom provide motives.

Large Youth Populations

Regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have very young populations with high birth rates. As younger generations come of age, they are adopting Christianity at high rates, driving up the Christian share of the population. This demographic momentum will likely continue.

Freedom to Express Faith

In countries like China, growth comes despite government restrictions. But in other places like Oman, loosened restrictions on religious expression allow more people to openly adopt the Christian faith. Less persecution facilitates gains.

Targeted Evangelism

Evangelical groups have heavily targeted countries in the developing world for conversion efforts. Tactics like media outreach, church planting, education and relief services are supporting rapid Christian adoption.

Diaspora Networks

Migrants from Christian countries often form religious communities in new host countries. This establishes beachheads for evangelism that allow Christianity to take root and spread locally. Especially across Asia due to Philippine, Korean, and Chinese diaspora communities.

Key Takeaways

Several key points emerge from the data on where Christianity is growing fastest:

  • Christianity is advancing most rapidly based on annual growth rates in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa like Oman, UAE, and Qatar.
  • In terms of total numbers, populous developing countries like Nigeria, China, and DRC added the most Christians from 2015-2020.
  • Again, Middle Eastern countries saw the largest increases in Christian share of population, indicating significant conversions.
  • Conversion, demographics, freedom of religion, focused evangelism and migrant networks are powering Christian gains.

The rapid growth of Christianity in developing regions will reshape the geographic center of the faith. If trends continue, the heart of Christianity may no longer lie in the West but in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, China, and elsewhere in the developing world. But restrictions and persecution continue to impact Christian growth in many areas. The coming decades will determine whether these fastest growing Christian communities can maintain their momentum.


Christianity is advancing fastest in terms of annual growth rates in Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East, indicating significant conversions. In absolute numbers, populous developing countries in Africa and Asia are contributing most to Christian growth globally. A young demographic profile combined with relaxed religious restrictions and evangelism efforts make these fertile regions for Christianity to flourish. This southward and eastward shift of Christian populations is set to continue in the coming decades. The future of the faith appears to lie in the developing world rather than in the West where Christianity has traditionally been based. Tracking where Christianity grows fastest provides clues into the changing demographics and influencers of this dominant global religion.