The Pew Research Centre has revealed that the number of Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the world’s population from now until 2050.
While the world’s population is projected to grow 35 per cent before the middle of the century, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 73 per cent – from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion In 2010, Muslims made up 23.2 per cent of the global population.
Four decades later, they are expected to make up about three-in-ten of the world’s people (29.7per cent), the Washington-based fact tank said.
By 2050, Muslims will be nearly as numerous as Christians, who are projected to remain the world’s largest religious group at 31.4 per cent of the global population.
In Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population by the middle of the century, compared to 5.9 per cent in 2010.
The researchers said the main reason for Islam’s growth was “simple demographics”.
They said: “To begin with, Muslims have more children than members of the seven other major religious groups analysed in the study.
Each Muslim woman has an average of 3.1 children, significantly above the next-highest group (Christians at 2.7) and the average of all non-Muslims (2.3).
In all major regions where there is a sizable Muslim population, Muslim fertility exceeds non-Muslim fertility.”
The researchers also said population growth was also helped by the fact Muslims did not have the problem of ageing populations unlike in the West – with the median age being 23 as opposed to 30 for the rest of the world.
As well as a difference in birth rates, fewer Muslims are expected to switch religions or give up their faith, compared to Christianity which is projected to have a net loss of more than 60 million adherents worldwide.