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The 10/40 Window is a term coined by Christian missionary strategist Luis Bush in 1990[1] [2] to refer those regions of the eastern hemisphere located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator, a general area that in 1990 was purported to have the highest level of socioeconomic challenges [3] [4] and least access to the Christian message and Christian resources [5] [6] [7] on the planet.

The 10/40 Window concept highlights these three elements: an area of the world, with great poverty and low quality of life, combined with lack of access to Christian resources.

The Window forms a band encompassing Saharan and Northern Africa, as well as almost all of Asia (West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and much of Southeast Asia). Roughly two-thirds of the world population lives in the 10/40 Window. The 10/40 Window is populated by people who are predominantly Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Animist, Jewish or Atheist. Many governments in the 10/40 Window are formally or informally opposed to Christian work of any kind within their borders. [3][6][7]



This region of the world was previously known to Christians as the "resistant belt," as noted by Luis Bush at the 1989 Lausanne II Conference in Manila. In 1990, Luis' research led to a meeting with the developer of the first PC-based GIS software[8]. They analyzed the region (see below) using a box between 10 and 40 degrees north latitude and called it the 10/40 Box. A few weeks later, Luis' wife Doris recommended renaming it the 10/40 Window, stating that this region ought to be seen as a "window of opportunity." The analysis and concept was a generalization that focuses on a region, not a sharp boundary defining what is a priority, and what is not. For this reason, many missiologists prefer to use the phrase "10/40 Window Region."

Before being called the "resistant belt," the Islamic portions of this region, as well as selected unreached Buddhist and Hindu areas, were referred to as the "unoccupied fields" by Samuel Zwemer, in his book by that same title, published in 1911 [9].


Some object to the very idea of research to discover whether there is a correlation between alleviated human suffering and access to a faith message, calling it "irresponsible at best and racist at worst". [10] Others object to such a broad-brush term which seems to imply a unifying characteristic of the Window when in fact no large area of the planet is completely homogenous in cultural attributes. Still others note that correlation is not the same as causality, and correlation studies are scientifically replicable and verifiable.

While the conclusions are unsettling to some, to date the 1990 research data stands uncontested:

  • that part of the world was home to the largest populations living in deep poverty and lowest quality of life;[3][11][12]
  • that part of the world did have least access to Christian resources. Note the emphasis on access not percent Christian. The West has ubiquitous access to such resources; this area of the world did/does not.[6][7]

Clearly this research deals in overall population characteristics, with glaring exceptions proving that it is a generalization:

  • The Window article refers to the "poorest of the poor" living in that region (based on late-1980's per-capita GNP under US$500).[3][6] Of 3.0 Billion people living in such poverty-stricken nations, 82% lived in the 10/40 Window. Yet such a result contrasts with 10/40 Window nations such as South Korea and Japan. Japan boasts the world's second largest economy, while South Korea the eleventh. Such nations were strong throughout the late 20th century.
  • Geographically, the Window includes the Philippines, a strong Christian nation, Portugal, a country with a Roman Catholic majority, and South Korea, home to the largest single congregation church in the world,[13] and the second largest missionary sending nation in the world.[14] Yet the Window fails to encompass Indonesia, Sri Lanka or Uzbekistan, nations with very little access to Christian resources.[6]

Gaining widespread use

Over the years, the term 10/40 Window has evolved from a specialist term used by Christian missiologists to assumed vocabulary for Christians in the West[15] (2001),[16] (2002),[17] (2003)[18] (2004),[19] (2006).

The 10/40 Window is emerging as a term in the secular press;[20] it can also be found in press style glossaries[21] . Non-western writers and organizations also refer to the 10/40 Window[22][23][24]

Those opposed to the idea of evangelism also make use of the term.[25] ,[26][27]


The original 1990 GIS 10/40 Window analysis produced several insights, among them showing that the nations of the 10/40 Window represent (as of the research date):

  • 82% of the poorest of the world's poor (per capita GNP less than US$500 per year),[11]
  • 84% of those with lowest quality of life (life expectancy, infant mortality, and literacy),[12]
  • the hub of the world's major non-Christian religions (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc,)[28][29]
  • close to 100% of those who are both most-poor and have least-access to Christian resources (two-dimensional analysis)[30]
  • The least Christian resource investment[31] and least sharing of the Christian message[32]

The GIS analysis utilized country-level data from the Operation World[6] almanac, the World Christian Encyclopedia[7], and the World Factbook[3].


Christians in the 10/40 Window

There are five Christian countries in the 10/40 Window (Cyprus, Greece, Malta, the Philippines and Portugal). In addition, Christians form a plurality in Lebanon and Benin.

Non-Christians in the 10/40 Window by Religion

The first edition GIS analysis maps highlighted the three major religious blocks in the 10/40 Window, specifically the majority Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist nations. Population estimates at the time for the year 2000 (from Operation World) were given as:

  • 28 Muslim Countries, 1.1 Billion population est (2000)
  • 2 Hindu Countries, 1.1 Billion population est (2000)
  • 8 Buddhist Countries, 237 Million population est (2000)

Later updates have been based more on census data and other estimates rather than forward-looking population estimates. The cited reference provides the following estimate of "unreached" non-Christian populations in the Window:

Nations in the 10/40 Window

The nations in the 10/40 Window

The 10/40 Window encompasses Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, China, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Western Sahara, and Yemen. These are all "Old World" nations (mostly in the eastern hemisphere) with at least 50 percent of their land mass falling within 10 to 40 degrees latitude. See the list of nations in the original study.


  1. ^ Bush, Luis (1990). The 10/40 Window, Getting to the Core of the Core. AD2000 & Beyond Movement.   (The original paper)
  2. ^ "The 10/40 Window". Time Magazine. 2003-06-30.  . The link is to the map, which is part of an extensive cover story.
  3. ^ a b c d e World FactBook.  , edition available in 1990. At the time, the authoritative source for socioeconomic and political metrics for every nation. Extreme poverty was denoted as under US$500 per capita GNP (in 1990 dollars). Human suffering was measured by the Quality of Life index, precursor to today's Human Development Index
  4. ^ See the Analysis section of this article for research-based details and cited references.
  5. ^ "Access" is generally defined using a variety of metrics. What is least controversial is those areas with least access throughout history, as all metrics for such areas are zero or close to zero. Examples of metrics used include the presence of (Christian) work and workers (of any kind, whether community development, health, business, child care, house servants, etc), media in an appropriate language (print, TV, radio, web, etc).,
  6. ^ a b c d e f Operation World provides a concise well-researched/cited data summary for each nation
  7. ^ a b c d Barrett, David B.; Kurian, George T. and Johnson, Todd M. (eds.). World Christian Encyclopedia (2nd edition ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 1739pp. ISBN 0-19-507963-9.   Much of its data is available online at the ("World Christian Database". Brill.  ) Mind-numbing in its details (with some areas of unique value), but the introduction and definitions in the paper edition are quite helpful to understanding.
  8. ^ Atlas GIS, produced by Strategic Mapping Inc., was the first PC Geographic Information System."ESRI Retires ArcCAD and Atlas GIS".  
  9. ^ Zwemer, Samuel M.. The Unoccupied Mission Fields of Africa and Asia. New York : Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions. pp. 260.  
  10. ^ See the Neutrality discussion for this article.
  11. ^ a b AD2000. The Poorest Countries & The 10/40 Window [map], August 1, 1990 edition. Cartography by GMI/GRDB.
  12. ^ a b AD2000. Quality of Life & The 10/40 Window [map], August 1, 1990 edition. Cartography by GMI/GRDB.
  13. ^ The largest congregation is in Seoul (Yoido Full Gospel Church) "The Top 10 Churches in the World (by size)".  ; in fact, 11 of the world's 12 largest megachurches are in Seoul
  14. ^ "Missions Incredible".  
  15. ^ Becoming Global Christians in the 21st Century By Justin Long - Charisma Magazine
  16. ^ Islam and China's Christmas By David Aikman - Charisma Magazine
  17. ^ Marli Spieker | Today's Christian Woman | Your Life. Your Faith. Your World
  18. ^ The Faith at Work Movement: Opening "The 9 to 5 Window" -
  19. ^ Evangelicals look to '10/40 window' | National Catholic Reporter Conversation Cafe
  20. ^ TIME: The 10/40 Window
  21. ^ ANN Glossary
  22. ^
  23. ^ Welcome to Open Doors South Africa
  24. ^ (Korean) Society for world mission/mission network/Srilanka-ŔĚ˝ÂČŻźąąłťç
  25. ^ Guerrillas for God : Inside Colorado Springs' modern day missionary boot camp : Local News : Cover Story : Colorado Springs Independent : Colorado Springs
  26. ^ Onward Christian soldiers -
  27. ^ otherwise
  28. ^ AD2000. Three Religious Blocks & The 10/40 Window [map], August 1, 1990 edition. Cartography by GMI/GRDB.
  29. ^ AD2000. Islam & & The 10/40 Window [map], August 1, 1990 edition. Cartography by GMI/GRDB.
  30. ^ AD2000. The Poor, The Unevangelized, & The 10/40 Window [map], August 1, 1990 edition. Cartography by GMI/GRDB.
  31. ^ Well below 10 percent in any of the study populations. Each of the cited maps provides side data on population, Christian involvement, etc in the various study populations (poor, low quality of life, non-Christian, etc)
  32. ^ AD2000. The 55 Least Evangelized Countries & The 10/40 Window [map], August 1, 1990 edition. Cartography by GMI/GRDB.
  33. ^ Note that this number is higher than the census-based world total of 14 million. However, even authoritative Jewish sources state that many Jews do not identify themselves in population censuses.

See also


External links


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