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The Tragic Decline of Middle East Christianity

Communities dwindle under pressure

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This article first appeared in the February 2011 edition of
'The Jerusalem Post Christian Edition' published in partnership with the ICEJ


 

Egypt

Out of an estimated population of just over 80,000,000 residents, Christians make up around 8%, with the vast majority being Coptic Christians.

Iran

Out of an estimated population of around 70,000,000, Christians make up no more than 0.5 percent or around 350,000.

Iraq

Out of an estimated population of around 29,000,000 residents, the Christian community is rapidly dwindling to under 2% or less than 500,000, with the vast majority being Chaldean Christians.

Israel

Out of a population of 7.3 million, the Christian sector is holding steady at around 2.2% or roughly 150,000, with the largest communities being the Greek Melkites, Arab Orthodox and Russian Orthodox denominations.

Jordan

Out of an overall population of around 6 million, some 2% or 120,000 are Christians.

Lebanon

Out of a general population of 4 million, the Christian population has dropped from a near majority several decades ago to as low as 35% or approximately 1.5 million, most of whom are Maronite (22%), Greek Orthodox (8%) and Greek Melkite (4%).

Palestinian territories

Demographics vary widely on the general population: West Bank (1.4 to 2.4 million) Gaza (1.2 to 1.5 million). Christians are now less than 2%, down from 10% some 60 years ago. No more than 3,000 Christians are left in Gaza.

Syria

Out of a general population of just over 20 million, Christians make up around 6% or 1.2 million.

Turkey

The general population is around 78 million, while the Christian community is down to under 0.30% or less than 200,000. There have been huge drops in the Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox communities over the past century.

[Sources: US State Department, CIA World Factbook]

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