Pew: Islam Will Become World’s Largest Religion Before End of the Century

muslims pray
AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion and will overtake Christianity as the world’s largest religion before the end of this century, according to a recent analysis published by the Pew Research Center.

Current projections estimate that by 2050, the world’s Muslim population will have increased by a staggering 73 percent to 2.8 billion, compared to just a 35-percent increase in world’s Christian population.

One of the key areas of growth will be in India, which has the world’s fastest growing Muslim population. Although Hinduism will remain the country’s dominant religion, India is expected to have 311 million Muslims by 2050, comprising 11 percent of the world’s total Muslim population.

Europe’s Islamic population is also growing rapidly, with 10 percent of European’s likely to be Muslim by 2050. The growth will likely have been accelerated by recent mass Muslim migration towards the European continent from the Middle East, rubber-stamped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who let in over 1 million undocumented migrants into Germany in 2015.

Although small compared to other parts of the world, America’s Muslim population remains at 3.3 million, 1 percent of the American population. However, when asked, Americans reportedly believed that the Muslim population stood at 17 percent.

Had Hillary Clinton won two successive terms in office and continued Barack Obama’s common asylum policy, America’s Muslim population would exceed Germany’s current Muslim population by 2024, which as of 2015 stood at 4.8 million.

However, given President Donald Trump’s policy towards Islamic immigration, that figure is now unlikely. Since coming into office, Trump has signed an executive order to limit refugee flow from seven war-torn Muslim-majority countries to ensure proper vetting. While that order has generated some controversy, Trump has vowed to rewrite the policy in a new executive order to address legal concerns with the first such order.

Pew describes two key factors in Muslim population growth: the average age of Muslims, who are significantly younger than other religious groups with a median age of 23. The second factor is the fact Muslims have the highest fertility rate in the world, with an average of 3.1 children per woman, well above the replacement level of 2.1, considered the minimum needed to maintain a stable population.

Christians, meanwhile, have a fertility rate significantly lower than Muslims, at 2.7 children per woman, helping to explain the trend toward parity and eventually Muslim numeric dominance.

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