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The Top 50 Countries Where It Is Most Dangerous To Live As A Christian

Since 1955, Open Doors has been strengthening Christians where faith costs the most. We partner with the local church in more than 70 countries to help them advance the gospel in their nation even in the face of persecution.

Each year, Open Doors publishes the World Watch List, an indexed ranking of the top 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to be a Christian. This guidebook is perfect for anyone wanting insight into the pressure Christians face for following Jesus.

Each January, Open Doors releases the World Watch List. This list is the outcome of year-round research on the status of Christian persecution around the world. It ranks the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous to live as a Christian. The research looks at all aspects of life to accurately measure both the daily pressure and violence inflicted on more than 360 million Christians globally. The results are audited externally by the International Institute for Religious Freedom and represent the most authoritative data on Christian persecution today.

This year, Afghanistan surpassed North Korea to take the number one place, a position North Korea has held since 2002. It’s not that life has improved for North Korean Christians; in fact, it has become worse. But with the takeover of the Afghan government by the Taliban and the increased pressure on Christians there, Afghanistan now holds the ominous title as the worst place on earth to live as a Christian. Incidentally, this development causes great concern as it has given jihadists worldwide a profound psychological boost.

The pages of this booklet contain numbers and data representing a very important and large part of the Body of Christ. These are family members who suffer, and even put their lives on the line daily, just because they follow Jesus. They teach us so much about what real faith is, and we have the great privilege to stand with them in prayer and support.

I trust this booklet will become a staple in your daily devotions as you take time to pray for our persecuted family members and to educate yourself about the reality of Christian persecution which continues to grow in our world.

Pastor Gary Stagg


Countries are ranked by the severity of persecution of Christians, calculated by analyzing the level of violent persecution plus the pressure experienced in five spheres of life.

These six components are each given a score out of 16 and two thirds. When you add up the six scores, you arrive at a total number out of 100.
  • Countries with scores between 41 and 60 points are categorized as high levels of persecution.
  • Countries with scores between 61 and 80 points are categorized as very high levels of persecution.
  • And finally, countries with scores between 81 and 100 points are categorized as extreme levels of persecution.

Private life
  • Is conversion to Christianity allowed?
  • Can they worship privately and possess religious materials?
  • Do they have freedom of conscience and thought?

Family life
  • How free are Christians to express their faith within their family?
  • Is it possible to live as a Christian family, to celebrate Christian marriages and funerals?

Community life
  • Can Christians live without harassment and discrimination in their local communities?
  • How does their faith affect their education or employment?

National life
  • Is it illegal for Christians to express their faith?
  • Can they call themselves Christians on their ID or passport?
  • Will the police come calling?

Church life
  • Are Christians allowed to meet?
  • And if they can, are they heavily monitored?
  • Can Christian leaders be trained?

As you read through the 2022 World Watch List, you will learn more about the 50 countries where faith costs the most. In addition, you will find information about how you can pray for each country.

Worldwide, more than 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith.

Click HERE to download your copy of the WORLD WATCH LIST 2022