Skip links

The 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Follow Jesus in 2024

Almost 5,000 Christians were killed for their faith last year. Almost 4,000 were abducted.

Nearly 15,000 churches were attacked or closed.

And more than 295,000 Christians were forcibly displaced from their homes because of their faith.

Sub-Saharan Africa—the epicenter of global Christianity—remains the epicenter of violence against followers of Jesus, according to the 2024 World Watch List (WWL). The latest annual accounting from Open Doors ranks the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous and difficult to be a Christian.

The concerning tallies of martyrdoms and abductions are actually lower than in last year’s report. But Open Doors emphasizes they are “absolute minimum” figures. It attributed both declines to a period of calm in advance of Nigeria’s last presidential election. Yet Nigeria joined China, India, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia as the countries driving the significant increase in attacks on churches.

Overall, 365 million Christians live in nations with high levels of persecution or discrimination. That’s 1 in 7 Christians worldwide, including 1 in 5 believers in Africa, 2 in 5 in Asia, and 1 in 16 in Latin America.

And for only the fourth time in three decades of tracking, all 50 nations scored high enough to register “very high” persecution levels on Open Doors’ matrix of more than 80 questions. So did 7 more nations that fell just outside the cutoff. Syria and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, entered the tier of “extreme” persecution, raising its count to 13 nations.

The purpose of the annual WWL rankings is to guide prayers and to aim for more effective anger while showing persecuted believers that they are not forgotten.

The 2024 version tracks the time period from October 1, 2022, to September 30, 2023, and is compiled from grassroots reports by teams of Open Doors workers and partners across more than 60 countries. The methodology is audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom.

When the list was first issued in 1993, only 40 countries scored sufficiently high to warrant tracking. This year, 78 countries qualified.

Read more at Christianity Today 

Share with Friends: