Islam fastest-growing religion in coming decades

A fresh report has revealed that Islam is expected to grow faster than any other major religion in the world, surpassing Christianity as the largest religion by 2070.

The study, published by the Pew Research Center on Thursday, says Christians will remain the largest religious group, increasing to 2.92 billion adherents by 2050 at the current demographic trend.

Meanwhile, Muslims will reach 2.76 billion in 2050, making the two faith groups about 30 percent of the world population by mid-century, the study said.

By 2070, however, the Muslims are projected to outnumber the Christians. By 2100, about 35 percent of the world’s population will be Muslims. That will be one percent more than the Christian population.

The report also noted that much of the growth of both Christianity and Islam will occur in Africa.

Approximately 40 percent of Christians are expected to be located in Africa by 2050, while they will no longer be a majority in the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

However, Muslims will also increase in number to comprise 10 percent of Europe’s population and will outnumber Jews in the United States by 2050.

Worldwide, the number of Jews is expected to grow by about 16 percent to 16.1 million, the report said.

Protesters demonstrate against insults to Islam at the US Embassy in England’s capital city of London on September 16, 2012 (file photo)

India is expected to surpass Indonesia as the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population, though it will retain a Hindu majority by 2050. Globally, Hindus will grow to reach 1.4 billion people.

The number of Buddhists is predicted to level off, but will comprise a smaller share of the world’s inhabitants due to overall global population growth.

Atheists, agnostics and those who disassociate with a religion will increase in much of Europe and North America, but globally will drop from about 16 percent to 13 percent of the population.

Researchers attribute Islam’s drive in global growth to its followers being younger and having more children than members of other faiths.

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