Islam: The World’s Fastest Growing Religion
Islam is currently the second most widely practiced faith in the world. It is also the fastest growing religion and expected to have the largest number of followers by the year 2100. This growth is expected both in countries where Islam is already the majority faith and outside as well. The population in Europe, for example, is expected to be 10% Muslim by 2050. Between 2010 and 2050, Islam has a projected growth rate of around 73%, which is faster than the average global population growth of 35%. This increase represents a worldwide Muslim population size of 2.8 billion. The growth of Christianity lags behind at only 35%, followed by Hinduism at 34%. Experts attribute the rapid growth rate of Islam to a number of factors, including the younger average age of Muslims (22 years of age) and the higher average birth rate of Muslim women (3.2 children per woman). This article takes a closer look at which countries will have the highest Muslim population by the year 2050, according to a 2017 Pew research report.
Currently, India is home to 11% of the global Muslim population (around 172 million), which puts it in the number 2 position after Indonesia. By 2050, however, this country is expected to move to the top position with the largest Muslim population in the world, at 11.2%. This percentage represents a population size of approximately 311 million. Islam has a long history in this country and is already the majority practiced religion in the Lakshadweep Islands and the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Nearly half of the current Muslim population can be found the following Indian states: West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
Pakistan is currently home to 10.5% of the global Muslim population. In fact, Islam is the state religion of this country and practiced by the vast majority of its population, 97%. Sunni Muslims make up between 75 and 95% of the population here, while Ahmadi and Shia Muslims constitute the remaining 5 to 20%. Due to the expected population growth here, Pakistan will have the 2nd largest Muslim population by 2050. By then, approximately 9.9% of all Muslims will live in this country.
By 2050, Indonesia is expected to have the 3rd largest Muslim population in the world. Currently, this country has the largest percentage of followers of Islam at 13.1% of the global population. Muslims are the majority in the following regions: Sumatra, Sulawesi, Java, North Maluku, and West Nusa Tenggara. Over the next 4 decades, this percentage will drop to around 9.3%, although not because of a decrease in the number of Muslims. This change is due to slower overall population growth in Indonesia than the previously mentioned countries are expected to experience.
Other countries that will occupy the top 10 list of the largest Muslim populations in 2050 include: Nigeria (8.4%, up from 4.8%), Bangladesh (6.6%, down from 8.4%), Egypt (4.3%, down from 4.8%), Turkey (3.2%, down from 4.5%), Iran (3.1%, down from 4.6%), Iraq (2.9%), and Afghanistan (2.6%). Of these countries, Iraq and Afghanistan will be on the top 10 list for the first time, replacing Algeria (currently with 2.2% of the global Muslim population) and Morocco (currently with 2%).