Islam Projected to Overtake Christianity as World’s Largest Religion by End of Century

Muslim men pray in Dearborn, Michigan. (REBECCA COOK/REUTERS)

Muslim men pray in Dearborn, Michigan. (REBECCA COOK/REUTERS)

By the middle of this century, the number of Muslims worldwide will roughly equal those of Christians and by the century’s end will exceed them, making Islam the world’s largest religion.

That’s according to projections in a new analysis by the Pew Research Center, which identifies Islam as the world’s fastest-growing religion, owing to higher fertility rates and the fact Muslims have the youngest median age of all religious groups.

In 2010, 1.6 billion Muslims accounted for 23.2 percent of the total world population; Pew says that proportion could grow to 29.7 percent by 2050, and to 34.9 percent by 2100.

By contrast Christians comprised 31.4 percent of the population in 2010, and will account for about 33.8 percent in 2100, Pew projects.

Current demographic trends indicate that the Muslim population will soar by 73 percent between 2010 and 2050, compared to an increase of 35 percent for Christians – which is in line with overall global population growth over that period – 34 percent for Hindus and 16 percent for Jews.

Also by 2050, the size of the Muslim community in the United States will have doubled in size – albeit only from one to 2.1 percent of the population; while the estimated size of the Muslim population in Europe will be ten percent by mid-century.

Each Muslim woman has an average of 3.1 children, compared to 2.7 children for Christian women, and an average of 2.3 children for all non-Muslim women.

The median age of Muslims in 2010 was 23, compared to 30 for all non-Muslims.

The patterns could have a significant impact in some countries with large Muslim populations.

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SOURCE: CNS News
Patrick Goodenough

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