Today's post is by UM & Global blogmaster Dr. David W. Scott, Director of Mission Theology at the General Board of Global Ministries. The opinions and analysis expressed here are Dr. Scott's own and do not reflect in any way the official position of Global Ministries.
A few weeks ago, I published links indicating the presence of various World Methodist Council member denominations in countries around the world. Now, with some additional research (using the World Christian Database, the World Methodist Council website, and denominational websites), I have been able to compile maps showing total Methodist/Wesleyan membership by country and Methodism/Wesleyanism as a percentage of each country's population. Those maps are below.
First, a couple of caveats: I did not include the membership of United/Uniting denominations that are part of the World Methodist Council. I did not think it was fair to include all members as "Methodist" when these churches were formed out of the mergers of many Protestant traditions. Also, data is never perfect, and the data these maps are based on may not be perfect, especially in the case of smaller countries or countries with small Methodist/Wesleyan presence. In particular, I was not able to get country-level data for The Wesleyan Church, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, the Methodist Church of the Caribbean and Americas, and the Korean Methodist Church outside Korea directly from those denominations' websites, so I am relying on the less accurate WCD data for them.
Overall, these maps indicate that Methodism/Wesleyanism's areas of greatest strength are the United States, coastal West Africa, South Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, southern Africa, the Caribbean, and parts of the Pacific. Methodism/Wesleyanism has a moderate presence in Latin America, south Asia, and southeast Asia. It is weak in Europe and central Asia. It is mostly non-existent in the Muslim world.
Methodist/Wesleyan Membership Totals
Note that those countries with large Methodist populations have a large total population and/or a large percentage of the population that is Methodist.
The United States has by far the largest number of Methodists/Wesleyans. 6 of the top 10 countries with the most Methodists/Wesleyans are African.
The top 10 countries with the largest Methodist populations are as follows:
1. The United States of America (13,689,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
2. Nigeria (3,304,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
3. India (3,154,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
4. Democratic Republic of Congo (2,910,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
5. South Korea (2,214,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
6. South Africa (1,676,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
7. Ghana (900,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
8. Cote d'Ivoire (688,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
9. Kenya (631,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
10. Brazil (412,000 Methodists/Wesleyans)
Methodism/Wesleyanism as a Percentage of the Population
Most of the countries with the highest percentage of Methodists/Wesleyans in the population are small island nations in the Caribbean or Pacific with low overall populations. Liberia is the non-island nation with the highest percentage of its population that are Methodist/Wesleyan (6.9%), and it does not make the top ten. 6 of the top 10 most Methodist non-island nations are African.
Top 10 countries with the highest Methodist percentage of the population
1. Tonga (46.1% Methodist/Wesleyan)
2. Fiji (30.5% Methodist/Wesleyan)
3. Samoa (24.4% Methodist/Wesleyan)
4. St. Kitts and Nevis (22.0% Methodist/Wesleyan)
5. St. Vincent and the Grenadines (17.0% Methodist/Wesleyan)
6. Anguilla (16.0% Methodist/Wesleyan)
7. Bermuda (15.4% Methodist/Wesleyan)
8. American Samoa (14.9% Methodist/Wesleyan)
9. Turks and Caicos (14.7% Methodist/Wesleyan)
10. Antigua and Barbuda (9.7% Methodist/Wesleyan)
Top 10 non-island countries with the highest Methodist percentage of the population
1. Liberia (6.9% Methodist/Wesleyan)
2. Sierra Leone (5.0% Methodist/Wesleyan)
3. South Korea (4.3% Methodist/Wesleyan)
4. The United States of America (4.2% Methodist/Wesleyan)
5. Belize (3.5 % Methodist/Wesleyan)
6. Democratic Republic of Congo (3.5% Methodist/Wesleyan)
7. Ghana (3.0% Methodist/Wesleyan)
8. South Africa (2.9% Methodist/Wesleyan)
9. Guyana (2.8% Methodist/Wesleyan)
10. Cote d'Ivoire (2.8% Methodist/Wesleyan)
Finally, for those who are interested in the total membership, including United/Uniting churches, of World Methodist Council bodies broken out by continent, here's a map of that: