The first two, demography and geography, are linked. Since the fifth century, Europe and, more recently, North America, have been the centers of Christian population, clerical leadership and religious thought. Today, thanks to rapid population growth in South America, Africa and Asia, most of the world’s Christians reside in the Southern Hemisphere.
This trend is accelerating even as the number of Christians is holding steady or actually declining in Europe and North America, where Christians and Jews are older and fewer in number than their co-religionists in the rest of the world.
Recent figures report that since 2000, the Catholic population grew by 33% in Asia, by 15.6% in Africa, and by 10.9% in Central and South America. The increase in the European Catholic population since 2000 was only 1%.