World Facts

Christian Denominations By the Numbers

A list of the major divisions of Christian believers.

Christianity is a religion that is based on the teachings and life of Jesus of Nazareth. In Christianity, Jesus goes by many names such as Christ and Messiah. Jesus, who is the Son of God, is believed to be the deliverer of humanity in the world’s most popular religion.

A Christian denomination is a religious group within the larger Christian umbrella. A denomination is identified by things such as leadership, name, doctrine, and other things. There are several factors that are used to differentiate between denominations. These factors include things like Jesus’s nature, eschatology, and others.

Christian Denominations By the Numbers

The Catholic Church

The Catholic Church considers itself to be a pre-denominational church. That is, it considers itself to belong to no domination since it precedes all other denominations. Within it, there are 24 autonomous Latin Churches and another 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. Catholics make up the biggest percentage of Christians. Within this denomination, there are approximately 1,285,000,000 people.

Protestantism

Protestants are Christians who branched away from the Roman Catholic Church during the times of the Reformation. Branches have also come to be divided into other branches although, strictly speaking, some of the branches cannot be considered to be Protestants.

Other Branches

There are other denominations among Christian that have substantial followings in the world as well. Some of them include the likes of Anglicanism (85,000,000), the Eastern Orthodox Church (270,000,000), and Oriental Orthodoxy (86,000,000).

The Eastern Orthodox Church has the second most followers in the world. This denomination follows the Orthodox jurisdictions and, like Catholicism, the church can track its beginnings to the times of the apostles. However, for this denomination, most of its churches are national churches that emphasize the independence of its building blocks.

Another particularly interesting denomination in this category is the Independent Catholicism one which has a memberships numbering about 18,000,000 worldwide. This particular denomination identifies itself as Catholics, but it is in no way whatsoever associated or acknowledged by the Catholic Church.

Summary

With well over 1 billion people identifying with the beliefs of the Catholic Church, the denomination is the only one to have a following beyond the 1 billion mark. In the second position, Protestantism comes close with 920,000,000 people but still falls short of one billion. However, an interesting argument arises. When it comes to differentiating Protestants from non-protestants, the distinctions are a bit blurry. For example, some religious scholars would argue that Anglicans are part of Protestantism. Going by that logic, then there are roughly 1.5 billion people who practice Protestantism in the world. This figure would then make Protestantism the most popular denomination followed by Catholics with approximately 1.3 billion.


Christian Denominations By the Numbers

RankChristian Denomination Members
1Catholic Church1,285,000,000
2Protestantism 920,000,000
3Anglicanism 85,000,000
4Eastern Orthodox Church270,000,000
5Oriental Orthodoxy86,000,000
6Restorationism and Nontrinitarianism 35,000,000
7Independent Catholicism 18,000,000
8Minor Branches1,000,000

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