TRENDS & 5 Global Trends Impacting Religion in 2017 and Beyond

by Aaron Earls, Facts & Trends, LifeWay, 12/7/16.

Gordon-Conwell’s Status of Global Christianity:

The world is becoming more religious.

Despite how it may seem, religion continues to thrive in the world—growing at a 1.33 percent rate, higher than the population growth (1.21).

In 2017, almost 6.7 billion people will identify with a religion, which equals 89 percent of the world’s population. By 2050, almost 92 percent will be religious in some way.

Atheism is on the decline.

Non-religionists continue to fall behind global population rates. Their 0.31 percent growth will bring them up to almost 834 million in 2017.

While agnostics are growing around 0.36 percent, atheists have the smallest growth percentage of any belief system—0.05…

Christianity is growing, but not as fast as Islam.

The overall global population is growing at a 1.21 rate. Only Islam (1.93 percent), Sikhs (1.62 percent), Hinduism (1.34 percent), and Christianity (1.31 percent) are growing faster.

In 2017 and the foreseeable future, Christianity should remain the largest religion in the world with almost 2.5 billion adherents. Islam will have slightly less than 1.8 billion followers, while Hindus will cross the 1 billion mark.

The world is more urban than ever.

In 1900, there were 20 megacities, cities with more than 1 million people. In 2017, there will be 522 such cities.

Next year, 55 percent of the world’s population will live in an urban environment…

Literacy continues to expand.

From 1900 to 2000, literacy rates among adults jumped from 27.6 percent to 76.7 percent. By next year, more than 8 in 10 global adults will be able to read.

Christians are working to produce more Bibles to keep up…

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