Topics Religious Affiliation Christian

Global Christianity

A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population



Sub-Saharan Africa


Sub-Saharan Africa has more than 500 million Christians, which makes it the region with the third-largest number of Christians worldwide.11 Collectively, the region’s 51 countries and territories are home to nearly a quarter of the world’s Christians (24%).

Together, the 10 countries with the largest number of Christians in sub-Saharan Africa have about one-in-six of the world’s Christians.


The majority of Christians in sub-Saharan Africa are Protestant (57%), as broadly defined in this report; this includes members of African Independent Churches and Anglicans.12 About one-in-three Christians in the region (34%) are Catholic. Orthodox Christians account for about 8% of the region’s Christians, and other Christians make up the remaining 1%.


11 To see all the countries and territories in Sub-Saharan Africa, see the Interactive Maps. (return to text) 

12 African Independent Churches are Christian churches in sub-Saharan Africa that developed and function outside the control of Western missions or churches. Some AICs (also called African Initiated, Indigenous or Instituted Churches) incorporate aspects of traditional African religions, including revelatory dreams and visions, healing practices and belief in a spirit world. For more information, see Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2010. (return to text)