Rabat - Over the next four decades, Islam will grow faster than any other major religion, says a new study published on Thursday by the Pew Research Center, a US think tank.
Rabat – Over the next four decades, Islam will grow faster than any other major religion, says a new study published on Thursday by the Pew Research Center, a US think tank.
The research on how religions will develop during the next forty years has predicted that if current trends continue by 2050, the number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world.
As of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31%) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth. Islam was second, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23% of the global population.
The study says that over the course of the next four decades Muslims living in Europe will make up 10 per cent of the overall European population.
Globally, Muslims have the highest fertility rate, with an average of 3.1 children per woman – well above (2.1) replacement level typically needed to maintain a stable population. Christians are second, at 2.7 children per woman. Hindu fertility (2.4) is similar to the global average (2.5).
Jewish fertility (2.3 children per woman) is also above replacement level. All the other groups have fertility levels too low to sustain their populations: folk religions (1.8 children per woman), other religions (1.7), the unaffiliated (1.7) and Buddhists (1.6).
India will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia. Muslims will also be more numerous in the U.S., and Judaism will no longer be the country’s largest non-Christian religion.
According to the Pew Research projections, by the year 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30% of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31%), possibly for the first time in history.
In those four decades, atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion are expected to exceed 1.2 billion. But, the study says, as a share of all the people in the world, those with no religious affiliation are projected to decline from 16% in 2010 to 13% by the middle of this century.
Worldwide, the Hindu population is projected to rise by 34%, from a little over 1 billion to nearly 1.4 billion, while Jews are expected to grow 16%, from a little less than 14 million in 2010 to 16.1 million worldwide in 2050.
Followers of various folk religions – including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions and Australian aboriginal religions – are projected to increase by 11%, from 405 million to nearly 450 million, the study added.
The Pew Research projections take into account the current size and geographic distribution of the world’s major religions, age differences, fertility and mortality rates, international migration and patterns in conversion.
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