The world Christian population continues to grow, but at a slower rate than Hinduism and Islam, according to statistics from a U.K.-based research institute.
Christian Research indicates that by the middle of last year, 2.14 billion people made up the worlds Christian population a 140-million-person increase from five years earlier. Christians, therefore, now make up one-third of the worlds population of 6.45 billion people.
Furthermore, the increase in the Christian population is growing at a slightly higher rate than the population in general 1.3 percent per year versus 1.2 percent.
Christian Research attributes the increase to huge continuing growth in Asia and Africa, 2.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively. However, the rate of Christian population is decreasing in Europe.
Islam and Hinduism, meanwhile, have also seen growths in their population, experiencing even higher rates, according to Christian Research. Although the overall number of Muslims and Hindus 1.31 billion Muslims in 2005 and 870 million Hindus are less than Christians, the Islam population has grown at a rate of 1.9 percent per year and the Hindu population has grown at a rate of 1.5 percent per year.
Out of all Christian groups, charismatic independent churches are growing the fastest, at 2.4 percent per year.
Dr. Brierley, Executive Director of Christian Research, noted that charismatic black churches in the United Kingdom have also seen rapid growth.
Christian Research has been involved in major research projects including national church censuses and the 1998 English Church Attendance Survey. It holds a database of churches throughout the United Kingdom, information on ministers, and all organizations in the UK Christian Handbook. Recent clients of Christian Research include Scripture Union, Church of Scotland, Church of England Newspaper, World Vision, and Youth for Christ.