Growth of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion): fishing for converts, but are there holes in the net?

Andrew McKinnon* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper contributes to the emerging debate and revaluation of the growth and membership of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). Building on literature which has shown that the Church is unlikely to have nearly the membership of more than 18 million that it usually claims, this paper considers evidence of conversion to and defection from Anglican identification in Nigeria. The analysis uses data from the Pew Research Centre Tolerance and Conflict survey (2010), the only high quality nationally representative survey that asks about religious identification in which the respondent was raised and their current identification. It examines converts to Anglican identities in Nigeria, as well as the adopted identities of those who leave Anglicanism behind them. The study finds evidence of a net loss, primarily to Pentecostalism. This lends added weight to the argument that the growth of the Church of Nigeria in the past few decades has been primarily through natural increase (surplus of births over deaths) and not from converts, which are a net loss to the church.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-200
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Empirical Theology
Issue number2
Early online date29 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Nigeria
  • Anglican
  • demography
  • conversion
  • religious change
  • church growth
  • Pentecostalism


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