Philippines still top Christian country in Asia, 5th in world

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03:34 AM December 21st, 2011

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December 21st, 2011 03:34 AM

The Philippines remains to be the bastion of Christianity in Asia with 86.8 million Filipinos—or 93 percent of a total population of 93.3 million—adhering to the teachings of Jesus Christ, a recent study by the US-based Pew Research Center has found.

Using the 2010 population figures of over 200 countries, the nonpartisan data center conducted its “Global Christianity” study produced by its Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life unit to determine the size and breadth of the world’s Christian population.

The study released Monday put the total number of Christians worldwide at 2.18 billion—almost a third—of the estimated global population of 6.9 billion.

Apart from being number one in Asia, the Philippines ranks fifth in the world, hosting four percent of those 2.18-billion Christians, the report said.

Of the Filipino Christians, 81 percent are Catholic, 11 percent Protestant and one percent belong to other Christian groups. The remaining seven percent of the Philippine population are non-Christian, Pew noted.

The largest number of Christians reside in the United States with 246.8 million or 11.3 percent of the total Christian population of the world. It is followed by Brazil (175.8 million), Mexico (107.8 million) and Russia (105.2 million).

Following the Philippines are Nigeria (80.5 million), China (67 million), Democratic Republic of Congo (63.2 million), Germany (58.2 million) and Ethiopia (52.6 million).

“The number of Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled in the last 100 years, from 600 million in 1910,” Pew noted.

“But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly from an estimated 1.8 billion in 1910 to 6.9 billion in 2010. As a result, Christians make up about the same proportion of the world population today (32 percent) as they did a century ago (35 percent),” Pew noted.

In Asia, following the Philippines are China (67.1 million), India (31.9 million), Indonesia (21.2 million) and Australia (16 million).

By region, the bulk of Christians reside in the Americas (36.8 percent), followed by Europe (25.9 percent), sub-Saharan Africa (23.6 percent), Asia Pacific (13.1 percent) and Middle East-North Africa (0.6 percent).

Highlighting a “momentous shift” in the world’s Christian population, Pew noted that although Europe and the Americas still held a majority of the world’s Christians (63 percent), the 1910 figure was much higher (93 percent).

Pew noted that Christianity had “grown enormously” in sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, as their Christian populations climbed from nine percent in 1910 to 63 percent in 2010 in the former, and from three percent to seven percent in the latter.

“Christianity today, unlike a century ago, is truly a global faith,” Pew said. Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research; AFP

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