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Should We Add New Terms To The UPG Task?

Original email to everyone – We know that Paul introduced the term “unengaged” at Cape Town 2010, and others have begun using it. I do not think it is the best term, and prefer less-reached, or un-reached. It translates better into, at least, Spanish and Portuguese. Paul, for strategic purposes, has focused primarily only on those people groups of over 100K. Even Luis Bush went down to 10K.


Hello Everyone, we have discussed the possibility of using new terms over the years. Unengaged as well as least-reached. I think we have been discussing all this since 2005.

I feel that we have worked very hard to help Latin America understand the one term unreached. And still many millions of Christians in Latin America have not yet heard the term unreached. So to add any new terms will be going backwards or confusing the few that understand and know what unreached is.

From a researchers standpoint, we UPG researchers have not even gotten a good handle on how many people groups are unreached. So until we do, should we be trying to track unengaged or least reached?

You can track these things when you have a small people list like Paul does. Paul made no error, we did by running with a term he uses in his movement.

*******UPG NUMBERS****5000 UPGs******

Depending on which database you look at you will get a different number for people groups and unreached people groups. The last time I did a deep comparison of people group databases was 2009 for the Ethne meeting in Colombia.

The first column is the Database Name – Word Christian Database, Global Status of Evangelical Christianity, Joshua Project, Harvest Information System,
The second number is People Groups Across Country figure – counts the people for every country they live in.
Third number is People Groups In country figure. Peoples are counted only once – not counted every time they are in two or more countries.

WCD 13,601 8,699
GSEC/IMB 11,601 8,313
JP 16,304 9,763
HIS n/a 10,609
Etnopedia n/a 10,478

The unreached numbers very even more, because every effort has a different definition of what is unreached and/or use different sources.

But for those who are looking for a round number, the average between all the Databases above is about 4,800 unreached people groups.

I always say 5,000 UPGs because we still do not know how many people groups there are.

Joshua Projects people group number has grown to about 10,000 now, 250 more than in 2009. So the lists are growing, they are not complete.

Take care!