New York - Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, ahead of Christianity, according to a 2015 demographic study by American think tank Pew Research Center.
New York – Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, ahead of Christianity, according to a 2015 demographic study by American think tank Pew Research Center.
“The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050” indicates that for the first time in history, Muslims could outnumber Christians by the end of the century.
“Another way of thinking about it is Christianity had a seven-century head-start on Islam, and Islam is finally catching up,” Director of Religion research at Pew said.
According to the study’s projections, the number of Muslims will nearly equate the number of Christians worldwide by 2050.
Currently, there are 2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims. The study revealed that those numbers could increase drastically for Islam followers by more than one billion, to reach 2.76 billion by 2050.
Although Christianity is currently the world’s most numerous religion, covering two thirds of the world population (31.4 percent), its growth is expected to slow down by 2050, growing from 2.2 to 2.9 billion.
According to Pew’s study, if Islam’s growth occurs as forecast, there will be more Muslims in the world than Christians by 2070.
The change in both religions is mostly related to “differences in fertility rates and the size of the youth populations,” as well as by “people switching faiths,” the study noted.
Muslims have a higher fertility rate than Christians. Muslim women have an average of 3.1 children each, while Christian women’s rate is lower, at 2.7.
Between now and 2050, the center of Christianity will move from Europe to sub-Saharan Africa. Christians living in sub-Sharan Africa have the highest fertility rates (4.4 children each) among all other Christians, research said.
By 2050, Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa will amount to nearly 40 percent of the world’s Christians.
In the next decades, about 40 million people are expected to switch into Christianity, while 106 million are forecast to switch out into another religion, mostly of the unaffiliated kind.
Christian-majority countries, such as France, United Kingdom, U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, are projected to decline from 159 to 151 countries, by 2050.
However, the United States, Brazil, and Nigeria will become the world’s top Christian-majority countries, according to Pew.
Conversely, Muslims are projected to make up more than 50 percent of the population in 51 countries.
In Europe, 10 percent of its continental population are expected to be Islam followers by 2050, the study revealed.
Nonetheless, these are just projections and according to Pew Research Center’s Director, a lot could change in the next few decades.
“We’re not saying that this will happen; it’s if current patterns and trends continue,” Cooperman said.
“We do not know what’s going to happen in the future. There could be war, revolution, famine, disease. These are things no one can predict and that could change the numbers,” he concluded.