According to a US-based research center, In the next half-century or so, Christianity’s long reign as the world’s largest religion will come to an end. Indeed, Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2015 and 2060 and will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group.
For more than two centuries Christianity is the world’s largest religion. Islam holds the position of the world’s second-largest religion. The world’s population is projected to grow 32% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 75%, while the number of Christians will increase by 35%. By 2050, the population of Christian and Muslims in the world will be the same. Thus the growth of Islam will be greater than the growth of all the religions combined.
In projecting the future of the religions, the following fac tors were taken into account by the research center. the current size and geographic distribution of the world’s major religions, age differences, fertility and mortality rates, international migration, and patterns in conversion.
The research compares the growth of various religions from 2010 to 2050.
In 2010, the number of Muslims in the world was 1.6 billion which at that time made up 23.2% of the total world population. In 2010 the Christian population was 2.17 billion, 31.2% of the total population. Considering various factors it was predicted that in 2050 Muslim population will jump to 2.76 billion, while the number of Christians will increase to 2.92 billion.
Thus in 2050, almost 30% of the world population will be Muslim, and 31% of the world population will be Christians. Thus Muslims and Christians will make up nearly equal shares of the total world population. The report further predicted the trend beyond the year 2050. If the trend continues, Muslims would outnumber Christians by 1% by2100. They conducted another research which shows that Islam is the religion with the most number of young people. 34% of Muslims are under 15 years old. 60% of the Muslims are between the age of 15 to 59. Youth is the main reason why Islam is growing so fast.
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This also shows that the percentage of the Hindu population will almost remain the same and there will be a decline in the number of people who are not affiliated with any religion. With exception of Buddhism, all the major religious groups are expected to rise. but some will not keep pace with global population growth so will make a smaller percentage of the world’s population in 2050 than they did in 2010.
Important points in the report
This report further mentioned that in the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population. In Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population. People who are not affiliated with religion will make up a declining share of the world population. Four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa. India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world.
Why is Islam the fastest growing religion?
Muslims have the highest fertility rate, an average of 3.1 children per woman while the minimum typically needed to maintain a stable population is 2.1 children per woman. Christians have the second-highest mortality rate with an average of 2.7 children per woman.
The growth of the Muslim population also is helped by the fact that Muslims have the youngest median age of all major religious groups, more than seven years younger than the median age of non-Muslims. A larger share of Muslims will soon be at the point in their lives when people begin having children. This, combined with high fertility rates, will accelerate Muslim population growth.
In addition to fertility rates and age distributions, religious switching is likely to play a role in the growth of religious groups. Research shows that most people will turn atheist. A net of 3.3 million people will enter Islam after switching religion. On the other hand, a net of 6.6 million people will leave Christianity.