Home arrow Religions arrow Religion & society arrow Dynamics of Religions in the World
Dynamics of Religions in the World Print E-mail

Today, the population of the World is 6 055 049 000 people. During the 20th Century the population of the World grew almost four times, and within the next 50 year, it will grow by one third. Experts estimate that by 2050 the population of the World will be around 9 billion people.

The biggest, but not dominating, religion is Christianity (33.0% of the whole population).

The fifth part of the Earth professes Islam (19.6% of the population of the Earth).

13.4% profess Hinduism.
6.4% profess Chinese Folk Religion [Ch-folk].
5.9% are Buddhists.
3.6% profess other folk religions.
1.7% profess new Asian religions.

Less than 1 percent are the following small religious groups:
Sikhs - 23 million people, approx. 0.3%.
Judaists - 14 million people, approx. 0.2%.
Bahaists - 7 million people, approx. 0.1%.

Each of these religions has the same number of adherents as or more than the population of an average European country. For example, there are 1.5 times more Judaists than people living in such countries as Austria, Greece or Portugal. Adherents of almost religious professions or quasi-religions are 80 million people, which is approx. 1.4% of the population of the World.

Non religious people constitute 12.7% of the population of the Earth. People who do not profess any religion must not automatically be attributed to atheists.  Non-religious people can be just beyond religions. Some people just do not want to belong to any confession because of different reasons and they may even not be able to define or formulate their religious attitude and religions feelings. This group of people includes those who are non-religions and those who are beyond religion. There is no good religion for them, therefore there is no religiousness for them either

The people of no religion or opponents of religions are atheists (2.5% of the population of the World). Denying any religions, these people have a lot of attributes of a religious mind. Atheists deeply believe in the absence, the same way the religious believe in the presence.

Non-religious and atheists constitute 15.2% of the population of the World.

The figures above show the distribution of religions in the world. But religion is dynamic. To have full understanding, it is necessary to know dynamics of its development and to compare it with other religions. This way we will have understanding not only of the vitality of our religion, but also about the global processes occurring around religions.

Figures and Processes:

I. Population of the World
Annually 124.3 million people (2.05% of the population of the Earth) are born.
Annually 52.7 million people (0.87% of the population of the Earth) die.
The difference of birth and death rates gives us the growth rate of the population, which is 71.6 million people or 1.18% of the population of the Earth per year.

II. Christianity
The net growth rate of Christian believers is calculated through a more difficult scheme. To make it more evident, we will compare Christians to the rest of the population of the Earth, - non-Christians.
Annually, 36.6 million people (1.83% of Christians) are born to Christian families, 19.0 million people (0.95%) adopt Christianity, 16.5 million people (0.83%) denounce Christianity in favor of religions, 18.4 million Christians (0.92%) die. Thus, adding the born and newly-adopted Christians and subtracting those who leave Christianity or die, we get 20.7 million people as net growth of Christianity of the world (1.04% of Christians per year or 0.34% of the population of the Earth per year).
We will calculate the growth rate of non-Christian population of the Earth using the same method. Every year, there are 87.7 million (2.16% of the population of the Earth) of non-Christians born, 16.5 million (0.41%) leave Christianity, 19.0 million (0.47%) adopt Christianity and 34.3 million (0.85%) of Christians die. The net growth rate of non-Christians is 50.9 million people (1.26% of non-Christians, or 0.84% of the population of the Earth).

The growth of Christian population which is third of the population of the Earth is twice slower than growth of the rest of the population (who is non-Christian).

III. Islam
Among all religions the number of people professing the Islam is growing the fastest. The annual growth rate is 24.9 million people, or 2.1% of all Muslims or 0.4% of all the population of the Earth.

IV. Hinduism
The number of Hinduists growth every year by 1.7%, i.e. 13.8 million people per year.

V. Buddhists
The growth is 1.1% or 3.9 million people per year.

VI. Folk Religions
Growth rate is 1.3% or 2.9 million people per year.  

VII. Chinese Folk Religion
Growth rate is 1.0% or 3.8 million people per year.

VIII. New Asian religions
Growth rate is 1.0% or 1.0 million people per year.

IX. Judaism
Growth rate is 0.9% or 0.13 million (130 thousand) per year.

X. Sikhs
Growth rate is 1.9% or 0.2 million (200 thousand) people per year.

XI. Non-Christian Spiritualists
Growth rate is 2.0% or 0.2 million (200 thousand) people per year.

XII. Shintoists
Growth rate is 1.0% (уменьшается) or -0.03 million. (-30 thousand) people per year.

XIII. Djainists
Growth rate is 0.9% or 0.04 million (40 thousand) people per year.

Dynamics of Christians Confessions:

1. Catholic church - growth of 1.3 % or 13.5 million people per year.

2. Independent Christian churches - growth of 2.5 % or 9.5 million person per year.

3. Protestants - growth of 1.4 % or 4.85 million person per year.

4. Anglicans - growth of 1.56 % or 1.24 million person per year

5. Orthodox - growth of 0.54 % or 1.17 million person per year.

6. Marginal Christian groups - growth of 1.68 % or 0.4 million (440 thousand) person per year.

Some Figures from History:

Since the epoch of Jesus Christ, there were 36 831 million person (36.8 billion) people born on the Earth. It means during this time, there have lived five of today's population.

During all the 20 centuries, Christians were only 24 % (8 816 million people) of all people. The numbers indicate the discrepancy between what the real supporters of the Christianity assert and the influence the Christianity has on the World's history (for example, the strange correlation between the quality and the quantity).

Christian Martyrs:

Martyrs of the early Christianity played a great role in the development and spreading of the Christianity. Their mission was mostly ideological. They revolutionized minds of people. It is amazing how many times the number of the martyrs of the 20th Century exceed the number of all the martyrs of the previous centuries.

Distribution of the Population by Continent:
(in the descending order)
I. Asia
There are 50 countries in Asia, where live 3 696 988 087 people, which is 61% of all the population of the World and whose population is five times more than the population of the second biggest (in population) Continent - Africa.
II. Africa
Africa has more countries than any other continent - 60 countries. 13% of the Global population (784 537 686 people) live in Africa.
III. Europe
Europe closely follows Africa, having only 1% less population, - 728 886 949 people, which 12% of the population of the Earth. There are 48 countries in Europe.
IV. Latin America
The population of the 46 of the Latin America is 8.6% of the population of the World (519 137 936 people).
V. North America
North America is next to the last Continent with its population of 309 631 092 people, which is 5% of the population of the World.
VI. Oceania
0.5% (30 393 392 people) of the Global population live in Australia and on the islands of the Oceania in 28 countries.

Distribution of Religions by Continents:
(% religious people of the population)

Africa - 18%
Asia - 15.6%
Europe - 28%
Latin America - 24%
North America - 13%
Oceania - 1.3%

Africa - 26.7%
Asia - 70%
Europe - 2.7%
Latin America - 0.14%
North America - 0.37%
Oceania - 0.03%

Africa - 0.3%
Asia - 99%
Europe - 0.2%
Latin America - 0.1%
North America - 0.2%
Oceania - 0.04%

Non-Religious and Atheists:
Africa - 0.6%
Asia - 79.5%
Europe - 14%
Latin America - 2.0%
North America - 3.3%
Oceania - 0.4%


Composed with the material of the World Christian Encyclopedia. 2nd edition. A comparative survey of churches and religions in the modern world. Oxford University Press. 2001.

< Prev