Christian Persecution by the Numbers

January 16, 2019 by Lindy Lowry in Persecution updates

The 2019 World Watch List report is based on comprehensive and investigative research of 150 countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith. Each year, our research reveals telling numbers and statistics that give us a glimpse at the depth, prevalence and widespread reach of the persecution believers endure.

Below, we share a quick glance at the numbers during the 2019 reporting period (from Oct. 31, 2017, to November 1, 2018). But by no means do the numbers tell the full story. Each fact and figure represent real people with real lives, families, jobs, churches—fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters—who every day make the dangerous choice to believe in and trust Jesus.

In a Year

(from October 31, 2017 to November 1, 2018)

People from different religions, various organizations gathered at the Indonesian Christian Church to pray for the nation in light of the 2018 church bombing in Surabaya. Every month, 105 churches are attacked, vandalized or burned in the top 50 countries on the World Watch List.

245 Million: In the top 50 World Watch List countries alone, 245 million Christians in the world experience high levels of persecution for their choice to follow Christ.

1 in 9: Christians worldwide experience high levels of persecution

14%: The rise in the number of Christians in the top 50 countries on the 2019 World Watch List (WWL) who experience high levels of persecution. (from the 2018 reporting period to 2019’s)

4,136: Christians killed for faith-related reasons in the top 50 WWL countries.

2,625: Christians detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned in the top 50 WWL countries.

1,266: churches or Christian buildings attacked in the top 50 WWL countries.

7 out of 9: In seven of the countries in the World Watch List’s top 10, the primary cause of persecution is Islamic oppression.

11: countries scoring in the “extreme” level for their persecution of Christians. Five years ago, North Korea was the only one.

18: Consecutive years North Korea has ranked No. 1 as the world’s most dangerous place for Christians.

Watch the 2019 World Watch List video below:

Every Month

105: churches attacked, burned or vandalized each month, in the top 50 WWL countries

Every Day

11: Christians killed every day for their faith, in the top 50 WWL countries.

By the Continent

1 out of 6: Christians in Africa that experience high levels of persecution.

1 out of 3: Christians in Asia that experience high levels of persecution.

1 out of 21: Christians in South America who experience high levels of persecution.

To read more about the World Watch List, click here to see the list and download the full report. To help you pray with these believers, Open Doors has a mobile prayer app that alerts you to prayer requests from believers. Learn more about it and sign up to get regular updates delivered to your phone. 

Recent Stories