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There are thousands of unreached people groups that have almost no chance of hearing about Jesus from someone in their community. The largest of these UPGs have populations in the millions. How are there groups of people this large that have not heard the gospel when it is so easily accessible in the U.S.? Multiple factors could contribute to this problem, including lack of resources going toward UPGs and a lack of knowledge of the need to reach them.

The Joshua Project reports that the top five largest unreached people groups are found in Bangladesh, Japan, India, and Turkey and total more than 450 million people combined. All of these people groups, except for those in Japan, are classified by the Joshua Project as frontier people groups, meaning there are “0.1% or fewer Christians of any kind, and no evidence of a self-sustaining gospel movement.”

Here is some more information about the top five largest unreached people groups in the world:

World's Largest Unreached People Groups Map

Shaikh of Bangladesh

Population: 135.2 million
Christian adherent: 0%
Evangelical: 0%
Bangladesh is located in South Asia, due East of India on the Bay of Bengal. The major religion of the Shaikhs is Islam, and they practice both Sunni and Shia traditions. There are many subgroups within the Shaikh people groups.

Japanese of Japan

Population: 120.9 million
Christian adherent: 1.2%
Evangelical: 0.3%
Japan is a group of islands between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. The Japanese are one of the most homogenous people groups in the world racially, culturally, and ethnically. The predominant religion is Buddhism, reflecting about 70% of the overall population’s beliefs. Shintoism is the native religion to Japan, and Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the sixth century.

Shaikh of India

Population: 85.4 million
Christian adherent: 0%
Evangelical: unknown
This people group is spread out over India but is highly concentrated along the Pakistan border. Islam is the major religion within this people group and they follow Sunni and Shia traditions.

Turks of Turkey

Population: 59.3 million
Christian adherent: 0.01%
Evangelical: 0%
Turkey is located partially in Western Asia and also in Southeastern Europe. According to the Joshua Project, Turkey is the only secular republic with a majority of the population (97%) professing to be Muslim. Turks are unique compared with the other unreached people groups because there are many Turks leaving their home country because of political tensions and armed conflict. This dispersion is known as diaspora.

Brahmin of India

Population: 58.8 million
Christian adherent: 0%
Evangelical: unknown
The Brahmin are densely populated throughout India and speak all of the major languages of India. The predominant religion among this people group is Hinduism, reflecting about 99% of the population’s beliefs. There are hundreds of denominations of Hinduism, and Brahmans have a presence in many. Therefore, the religion of the Brahmin cannot be generalized.

For many of these people groups, Christianity is viewed as a competing political and religious force that threatens to break up families and communities. These people need to be reached through a gospel movement that emphasizes God’s blessing to heal and strengthen families. Many of these people groups have deep roots in their traditions, which can make it difficult for them to choose the gospel. The goal with church planting is for the movement to continue on within the community without the need for outsiders to continue the multiplication of believers. It would be even more impactful when these people can hear the gospel from others in their community who believe in Jesus rather than a foreigner.

Let us commit to praying for these unreached people groups and the salvation of each individual! The gift we have in the gospel is for all people, and in response to the Great Commission we must spread it with great fervor.

To learn more, check out East-West's guide to unreached people groups.