Young Iraqi refugees in Erbil, Kurdistan, in 2014.

The World Watch List is an annual report prepared and published by the World Watch Research team of Open Doors. It ranks the 50 countries where it is most difficult to profess and practice the Christian faith.

The research team surveys religious freedom for Christians in five areas of life:

• Private
• Family
• Community
• National
• The Church

Separately, the team also measures violence against Christians.

Learn more: A description of the 5 affected areas of life

For each country surveyed, scores for each of the six categories are combined to create a total score. The scores determine the country’s ranking on the World Watch List.

See the 2018 World Watch List here

Interactive map of 2018 World Watch List countries. Dark red equals extreme persecution. Zoom out to see all 50 countries. Click on individual countries for details.

Note: This interactive map does not include the Maldives, ranked No. 13, an archepelago about 400 kilometres southwest of India, in the Indian Ocean

The list is published in January each year. The survey period beings Nov. 1, and concludes Oct. 31 of the following year. Thus, the list released January 2018 – The “2018 World Watch List” – is the product of the survey that covers the period from 1 Nov. 2016 to 31 Oct. 2017.

Beginning with the 2014 World Watch List, the research methods used by Open Doors have been audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom, which researches the persecution of adherents of any religion. The institute, which is independent of Open Doors, assesses the methodology, processes, design and questionnaire of the World Watch List.