News from our organization

GlobalRize Ranking 2024: the unreached in seven world regions

News from our organization

GlobalRize Ranking 2024: the unreached in seven world regions

News from our organization

GlobalRize Ranking 2024: the unreached in seven world regions

GlobalRize has released the ‘Ranking of the Unreached’ for the fourth year in a row. This ranking shows where in the world the number of Christian believers is the lowest and where evangelism is most needed. The 2024 ranking focuses on the area with the lowest percentage of Christians in seven regions of the world*.

The 2024 Ranking of the Unreached is as follows:

Afghanistan in the North Africa and Central/West Asia region 

Somalia in the Sub-Saharan Africa region

Tibet in the region of China

Uttar Pradesh in the region of India

North Korea in the Other Asia and Pacific region

Kosovo in the region of Europe

Suriname in the region of North and South America**

Top three: Afghanistan, Somalia and Tibet

Afghanistan, Somalia and Tibet top the 2024 rankings released by GlobalRize. Afghanistan and Somalia have been on the list before. They are the two countries in the world where the proportion of Christians is by far the least. Even including foreign Christians living there, there is only one Christian to every 5,000 inhabitants. 

 

Afghanistan, the least Christian country in the world

Afghanistan is the least Christian country in the world and in the region of North Africa and Central/West Asia, home to nearly 700 million people. This region is dominated by Islam. The proportion of Christians in the region is only four percent, a percentage lower than in any other region considered for the Ranking of the Unreached. Coptic Christians in Egypt and Russian Christians in Kazakhstan together make up the majority of all Christians in the region.

 

Somalia exceptional case in Sub-Saharan Africa

Somalia is the least Christian country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the part of the world that is the only region still experiencing rapid population growth. It is now home to nearly 1.2 billion people. The majority of the Sub-Saharan Africa population is Christian, at 57%. So Somalia is the exception at 0.02%. There are incredibly few Christians, and people who become Christians risk their lives. As in Afghanistan, there is no public church, only small groups of believers who congregate in secret.

 

Tibet newcomer to the list

Third on the Ranking of the Unreached is Tibet. Tibet, annexed by China as a province, is a newcomer to the list as a result of how we compiled the ranking this year. Due to the strong growth of the church in China, the percentage of Christians there has now increased to 7%. However, that growth has not yet reached Tibet, the province with the smallest population in all of China. In Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism is pervasive, and only 0.3% of the population is Christian.

 

Large population of Uttar Pradesh has very low percentage of Christians

In fourth place is the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This state, with the highest population of all Indian states, is also the place where Christianity is least represented. With nearly 250 million residents, Uttar Pradesh has more inhabitants than all of Western Europe. Only 0.3% of them are Christians, compared to 5% in all of India. 

In recent years, there have been reports from Uttar Pradesh that large numbers of people are becoming Christians and joining house churches. Because of the pressure on Christians and the challenges in surveying house churches, it is difficult to put a number on this. But it is possible that the percentage of Christians is now higher than stated here, and it is expected to grow substantially in the future.

 

Government violence in North Korea hinders church growth

In fifth place is North Korea, representing the rest of Asia and the Pacific. Excluding the more than 3 billion people in the aforementioned regions, there are still another 1.4 billion in the rest of Asia, of whom 15% are Christians. Half of these are the 100 million Christians in the Philippines. 

In this region, North Korea is the country with the lowest percentage of Christians, at 0.38%. South Korea and North Korea share the same language and culture. After the Philippines, South Korea is the Asian country with the highest percentage of Christians. The fact that North Korea is completely on the other side of the scale shows that strong persecution and extreme government violence severely hinder church growth.  

 

Kosovo exception in Europe

In sixth place is Kosovo, as the least Christian country in Europe. Europe has traditionally been known as a Christian continent.76% of the approx. 750 million Europeans still identify as Christians, although church affiliation among Christian Europeans is a lot less than in all other regions. 

Kosovo is an exception in Europe, as only 6% of its nearly 2 million inhabitants are Christians. These 6% mainly belong to the Serbian minority, although there are also Catholic and Protestant churches among the Albanian majority population.

 

Suriname – religiously diverse country

In seventh place is Suriname, representing the Americas. It feels somewhat out of place to include in a ranking of the unreached, a country that is 51% Christian. However, this showcases that the Americas have a more Christian identity than any other continent. 85% of the 1 billion inhabitants of the Americas are Christians. Suriname has a larger percentage of non-Christians due to the arrival of Hindu and Javanese contract workers in the 19th and early 20th centuries. As a result, it has become one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world.

 

Areas around the world with few Christians

Roughly one-third of the world’s population is Christian. The 2024 Ranking of the Unreached shows that, with the exception of the Americas, there are still countries and areas around the world where there are very few Christians. National churches and missionary organizations are working hard to ensure that the Gospel is spread there, as well. People hear about Jesus Christ, and have the opportunity to join a church. Breaking the ground is done through the internet and other media, but ultimately church planters are needed who are willing to travel to the extremes of the earth. 

 

*For five of the seven regions, the country where the church has the smallest presence is mentioned. India and China are independent countries, as such. Therefore, in the case of India, a state is listed, and in the case of China, a province. 

** The seven world regions were chosen to represent similar populations and shared cultures as much as possible. Europe, as a continent, forms its own region. North and South America together form a region. Sub-Saharan Africa is a region that also largely corresponds with a continent. Only North Africa is not included here which, along with West and Central Asia, is placed in a region dominated by Islam.  

That leaves most of Asia which is, however, still more than half of the global population! It’s possible to divide this part of Asia into three roughly equal regions. We do this by considering China and India, the world’s most populous countries, as separate regions. That leaves us with ‘other Asia’, which includes the Pacific region.

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