By Kumar Balani
NEW YORK, NY –The Philippines has the fifth largest number of Christians among all countries of the world. A Pew Research Center report dated April 1, 2019 on the results of a 2015 poll indicated that the Philippines had 94.3 million Christians during that year, constituting 92.5 percent of its nearly 102 million people. Today – on 7 April, 2019 – there are 107.7 million people in the Philippines, according to the World Population Clock (WPC).
While the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 2015 Christian portion was larger at 95.9 percent, its total population was much smaller at 75.2 million, so its Christians numbered only a little over 72 million, much fewer than in the Philippines. But Mexico’s larger 94.6 percent Christian share of its 120 million people in 2015 amounted to over 113 million Christians.
What’s important is getting an updated picture of the populations of predominantly Christian countries, while assuming that currently, the same percentages of people are of Christian faith. As of 10 pm US East Coast time today, April 7, the WPC’s Philippine population estimate of 107,736,865 means that there are nearly a hundred million Christians in the Philippines.
More Christians than in Philippines: U.S., Brazil, Mexico, and Russia
In absolute numbers rather than in percentages, presently, there are only four countries where there are more Christians than in the Philippines. They are the United States with nearly 253 million, representing 77 percent of its population of 329 million people; Brazil with around 188 million Christians, amounting to over 88 percent of its 212 million people; Mexico with about 125 million Christians, constituting nearly 95 percent of its population of almost 132 million; and Russia with 105 million Christians, comprising 73 percent of its 144 million residents.
On a broader scale, the Pew Research Center report looked at the comparative spread of Christianity and Islam around the world. Entitled The countries with the 10 largest Christian populations and the 10 largest Muslim populations, its author Jeff Diamant pointed out that in 2015, there were around 2,276,250,000 Christians around the world, compared to about 1,752,629,000 Muslims. The followers of these two religions total nearly 4.03 billion, comprising more than 52 percent of the world’s almost 7.695 billion people
Top 10 countries had 1.081 billion Christians
In the top 10 countries with the largest numbers of Christians there were 1.081 billion of them representing 52.5 percent of the total 2.276 billion worldwide. These countries (largest to smallest in number) were: the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, the Philippines, Nigeria, D.R. Congo, China, Ethiopia, and Germany.
In the 10 countries with the largest Muslim populations, people of this faith totaled 1,143,200,000, constituting more than 65 percent of the world’s total 1.753 billion Muslims. Topping the list were four countries with an almost 65 percent share of the total 1.753 million Muslims in the top 10 Muslim nations in 2015:
- Indonesia’s 220 million Muslims are a very large 87 percent of its population
- India’s almost 195 million Muslims make up about 15 percent of its residents
- Pakistan’s 184 million Muslims constitute more than 96 percent of its inhabitants
- Bangladesh’s 144 million Muslims are over 90 percent of its people
By 2060, there will be almost as many Muslims as Christians
Globally, there were 1.753 billion Muslims compared to 2.276 billion Christians in 2015. But because Muslims on average are younger and procreate more children, there will be nearly as many Muslims (2.987 billion) as there will be Christians (3.054 billion) by the year 2060, writes the study author.