LONDON – A new report by Pew Research Center analyzing demographic change over the coming decades has found that Muslims are expected to outnumber Christians by 2070, if the world population maintained it current growth rate.
Analyzing the world’s major religions, the US-based center found that the world’s population of Muslims will grow by 73 per cent between 2010 and 2050, compared to 35 per cent for Christians, the next fastest-growing faith.
The world’s population will grow by 37 per cent over the same period. If those rates of growth continue past 2050, Muslims will outnumber Christians by 2070, the report found.
It also says that Muslims will make up 10 per cent of Europe’s population.
In 2010 there were 1.6bn Muslims in the world, and 2.17bn Christians. By 2050, there will be 2.76bn Muslims and 2.92bn Christians.
If both religions maintained the same rate of growth, Islam will have a larger number of followers than Christianity by 2070.
The changes are partly due to the various fertility rates each religion has. Muslims have the highest, at 3.1 children per woman, followed by Christians, at 2.7.
Islam also has a much younger follower-base than other religions, meaning believers still have childbearing years ahead.
Among Muslims, 34 per cent are aged under 15, compared to a global average of 27 per cent.
The report also summarizes findings from a survey last year into European attitudes towards Muslims.
“Majorities in Hungary, Italy, Poland and Greece say they view Muslims unfavorably, while negative attitudes toward Muslims are much less common in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Northern and Western Europe,” it said.
“People who place themselves on the Right side of the ideological scale are much more likely than those on the Left to see Muslims negatively.”