NEW YORK: Over the next four decades, Islam is expected to grow faster than any other major religion worldwide, with the Muslim population nearly matching Christians in both number and share of the global population, according to projections released on Thursday.
Christians will remain the largest religious group, increasing to 2.92 billion adherents by 2050 if current demographic trends continue. But Muslims will reach 2.76 billion, making each faith group about 30 percent of the world population, analysts from the Pew Research Center said.
The projections in the report, “The Future of World Religions,” are based on birth and death rates, immigration patterns and rates of religious conversions, among other information found in censuses, demographic surveys and additional reports that asked people to identify what faith they follow.
Much of the growth of both Christianity and Islam will occur in Africa. But Muslims will also grow to make up 10 percent of Europe’s population and will outnumber Jews in the US by mid-century.
India is expected to retain a Hindu majority, but the country will surpass Indonesia as the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population. As a group, Muslims are younger and have more children than members of other faiths, driving their global growth, researchers said.