Home Interviews & Features Nigeria Holds The Largest Population Of Christians In Africa

Nigeria Holds The Largest Population Of Christians In Africa

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National Church of Nigeria, Christians in Africa, Christians in Nigeria, Nigerian Christians
National Church of Nigeria, Christians in Africa, Christians in Nigeria, Nigerian Christians
Photo/Moises/Flickr — The National Church of Nigeria, Abuja

Christians in Africa continues to increase in numbers although Christianity is an adopted religion in the continent. One thing remains clear amidst data collation and statistics, that is the fact that the spread of the religion bears witness to the scripture.

Research has shown that Christianity is the world’s Largest religion. Although, a decline in Christianity has been recorded in the USA in recent years, the religion continues to grow fast with 2.2 billion Christians in the world as at 2014, according to Pew Research Centre, and it is expected to exceed 3 billion followers by 2050 if current trend continues.

In Nigeria, the domination of Christian population reflects the world trend. 85 million persons belong to the church with various denominations distributed across the country and concentration in the southern, also central region of country. This makes Nigeria hold the largest number of Christians in Africa, according to Pews Research Centre.

The numbers of Christians in Nigeria have grown from 21.4% in 1953 to 49.3% in 2010. In 2015, a study estimates some 600,000 believers in Christ are from a Muslim background living in the country inspite of the violence towards non-muslim especially in the north where muslims are more concentrated.

The  85 million Christians in Nigeria also amount to the largest number in Africa and it is expected to grow between 2010 and 2015 to an estimate of about 154, 840, 000, a percentage of about 5.3% frrom its 4.9% in 2010. Though there were a large number of Christians living in Nigeria in 2010, they were slightly less than half of Nigeria’s population. Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia follows Nigeria with 63,210,000 (2.9%) and 52,070,000 (2.4%) respectively in 2010. However, in 2014, South Africa showed rapid growth with 36.04% of Christians.

The statistics also puts Nigeria at 6 amongst the top 10 countries with the largest number of Christians with United States sitting at the top of the list with 243,060,000 Christians. Followed by Brazil and Mexico with 173,300,000 and 107,910,000 respectively.

In the Northern part of Nigeria, violence towards non-Muslims has increased. Relations with Muslims have been strained, killings of Christians have been rampant since at least 1999 such as the  2010 Jos riots which saw clashes between Muslim herders against Christian farmers near the volatile city of Jos. Officials estimated that 500 people were massacred in night-time raids by rampaging Muslim gangs. Also, on Christmas Day in 2011, the Islamist sect Boko Haram bombed a catholic church near the nation’s capital Abuja killing over 30 people. The BBC reported that on Christmas Eve 2012 six Christians were killed and their church burned down. No group had claimed responsibility for the attack but the broadcaster drew comparisons with similar attacks carried out by Boko Haram at the same time in 2011.

Percentage of Christians in Africa by Country [2014]

Algeria Algeria 38.3 0.6 % 0.23
Angola Angola 21.6 75  % 16.20
Benin Benin 9.6 30 % 2.88
Botswana Botswana 1.9 50  % 0.95
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso 18 23.2 % 4.18
Burundi Burundi 10.9 65  % 7.09
Cameroon Cameroon 20.5 40   % 8.60
Cape Verde Cape Verde 0.5 93  % 0.47
Central African Republic Central African Rep. 4.7 50  % 2.35
Chad Chad 12.2 25   % 3.05
Comoros Comoros 0.8 0.75  % 0.01
Republic of the Congo Congo Republic 4.4 50  % 2.20
Democratic Republic of the Congo Congo, Democratic Republic 71.1 80   % 56.88
Djibouti Djibouti 0.9 % 0.01
Egypt Egypt 84.7 6   % 5.08
Guinea Equatorial Guinea 0.8 69  % 0.55
Eritrea Eretria 5.8 40   % 2.32
Ethiopia Ethiopia 89.2 40  % 35.68
Gabon Gabon 1.6 73  % 1.17
The Gambia Gambia 1.9 % 0.17
Ghana Ghana 26.1 24  % 6.26
Guinea Guinea 11.8 8   % 0.94
Guinea-Bissau Guinea Bissau 1.7 % 0.09
Côte d'Ivoire Ivory Coast 21.1 30  % 6.33
Kenya Kenya 44.4 60  % 26.52
Lesotho Lesotho 2.2 80  % 1.76
Liberia Liberia 4.2 40  % 1.76
Liberia Libya 6.5 1   % 0.07
Madagascar Madagascar 22.5 41  % 9.23
Malawi Malawi 16.3 50  % 8.15
Mali Mali 15.5 % 0.78
Mauritania Mauritania 3.7 0.14 % 0.01
Mauritius Mauritius 1.3 32.2  % 0.42
Mayotte 0.2 % 0.01
Morocco Morocco 33.6 0.05  % 0.02
Mozambique Mozambique 24.3 42   % 10.21
Namibia Namibia 2.4 90  % 2.16
Niger Niger 16.9 0.34  % 0.06
Nigeria Nigeria 173.6 40   % 69.44
Rwanda Rwanda 11.1 84  % 9.32
Reunion 0.8 86   % 0.69
Sao Tome & Principe 0.2 97  % 0.19
Seychelles Seychelles 0.1 96  % 0.10
Senegal Senegal 13.5 % 0.68
Sierra Leone Sierra Lione 6.2 30   % 1.86
Somalia Somalia 10.4 0  % 0.00
South Africa South Africa 53 68   % 36.04
Sudan Sudan 34.2 1.5   % 0.51
Swaziland Swaziland 1.2 55  % 0.66
Tanzania Tanzania 49.1 50  % 24.55
Togo Togo 6.2 29  % 1.80
Tunisia Tunisia 10.9 0.2  % 0.02
Uganda Uganda 34.5 65  % 22.43
Zambia Zambia 14.2 85  % 12.07
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe 13 70  % 9.10

Total

1051.4 420.18

 

Sources: Wikipedia, Pew Research Centre, Religious Population

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