Islam catching Christianity as world’s largest religion

Muslims will nearly match Christians by 2050

The Pew Research Center’s Future of World Religions study projects this month that Islam is growing much faster than Christianity and that he two will have nearly equal numbers of followers by mid-century.

Why it is happening

Pew Research Center graphic

Pew Research Center graphic

Pew describes three trends that contribute to the change:
* Muslims have a higher fertility rate than other religions. The rate, 3.1 children per women, is ahead of second-place Christianity, at 2.7. The global average is 2.5 births.
* The Muslim population is, in average, younger than people in other religions, meaning more women will be in their child-bearing years between now and 2050.
* Christians lose more people who convert to other religions than any other faith. Muslims attract more.

In “100 Questions and Answers About Muslim Americans,” we looked at similar circumstances in the United States that make Islam a swiftly growing religion.

Reaching way into the future, Pew projects that Muslims could be more numerous than Christians in 2070. Pew points out that lots can change in long-term population projections, but the general trend is clear.

What it means

This is harder to pin down, though changes will come if Pew’s projections hold up.
* India will surpass Indonesia as the country with the most Muslims
* Hindus will fall to the third largest religion.
* The largest growth among Christians will happen in Africa
* Asia’s share of the global population will decline

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