The church of the future resides in an urban setting, consists of multiple minorities and espouses progressive social values, according to two recently released reports.
While most church futurists have focused on church models (that is, house churches vs. megachurches) in their predictions of the shape of churches in the next 50 years, the demographic forces shaping future churches are at work now on a global scale.
The report of the Population Reference Bureau, which published its comprehensive World Population Data Sheet findings in October, and the Center for American Progress’ New Progressive America: The Millennial Generation report contain valuable insights for church thinkers.
Here are some of the findings of the World Population Data Sheet:
1. The world’s population will reach 7 billion by 2011 or 2012. By 2050, 10 billion people will occupy an increasingly crowded planet. We are adding approximately 1 billion people every 12 years.
2. By 2050, 90 percent of Americans will live in urban areas.
3. Most of the population growth in the U.S. will come from immigrants already in the U.S. or those who will migrate to the U.S. The U.S. population in 2050 will stand at 439 million, up 135 million from the 304 million today – an increase of almost 50 percent.
4. By 2050, India will lead the world population with almost 2 billion. China will have 1.4 billion people, and the U.S. will be the third most populous country in the world with 439 million.
5. No majority ethnicities will exist by 2050 in the United States.
6. In the 20th century, 90 percent of population growth came from less-developed countries. In the 21st century, virtually all global population growth will come from less-developed countries, with some more-developed country populations actually declining or being bolstered by increased immigration.
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