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Pew study shows Christianity's growth will be in global South


Children jump on a trampolines in 2016 in Johannesburg. Most of Christianity's future growth is likely to be in the global South, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the Christian population is relatively young, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. (CNS photo/Kim Ludbrook, EPA)

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Most of Christianity's future growth is likely to be in the global South, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the Christian population is relatively young, according to a new analysis from the U.S.-based Pew Research Center.

And, while at last count more babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion, reflecting Christianity's status as the world's largest religious group, Muslim births will start to outnumber Christian births by 2035.

The share of Christians worldwide who live in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase dramatically between 2015 and 2060, from 26 percent to 42 percent, due to high fertility in the region. At the same time, lower fertility and religion switching are among factors that will lead to a drop in numbers of Christians living in Europe and North America, according to Pew Research Center demographic estimates released April 5.

The center said there are important regional differences in birth and death trends for some religious groups. It noted that among Christians, sub-Saharan Africa experienced the biggest natural increase between 2010 and 2015 -- with 64 million more births than deaths -- followed by smaller Christian increases in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific and North America.

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