Americans tally Orthodox Christians

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly one in two Orthodox Christians is Russian. There are 260,380,000 people practising Orthodoxy, the researchers state.

A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 2.18 bn Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians are also geographically widespread – so far-flung, in fact, that no single continent or region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity. The Orthodox Communion, including the Greek and Russian Orthodox, make up 12% of Christians.

Russia (101.4 mln) tops the list of countries where a number of Orthodox Christians is high; Ukraine (34.85 mln). Belarus (5.9 mln), Ethiopia, Romania, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Egypt and Georgia are also on it.

The number of Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled in the last 100 years, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than 2 billion in 2010, the research says. 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 portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%).

Catholics still comprise about half (50%) of Christians worldwide and 16% of the total global population. An estimated 37% of Christians belong to the Protestant tradition, broadly defined to include Anglicans as well as independent and nondenominational churches. The Orthodox Communion, including the Greek and Russian Orthodox, make up 12% of Christians.

Many people may not know that less than 1% of the world’s Christians live in the place where Christianity began — the Middle East-North Africa region. With only about 4% of its residents identifying as Christian, the region’s share of Christians is the smallest in the world, according to a 2011 Pew Research report. There are more Christians living in Indonesia (24 million) than in the region where Jesus of Nazareth was born (13 million as of 2010).

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