Driven primarily by differences in fertility rates and the size of youth populations among the world’s major religions, as well as by people switching faiths, the religious profile of the world is rapidly changing. The number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world.
Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion. Four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa. Christianity is expected to grow, too, but not at Islam’s explosive rate. The Pew study predicts Christians will increase from 2.17 billion to 2.92 billion, composing more than 31% of the world’s population.
Religions In The World
In Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population. India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia. Muslims will be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.
Islam, the world’s fastest-growing faith, will leap from 1.6 billion (in 2010) to 2.76 billion by 2050, according to the Pew study. At that time, Muslims will make up nearly one-third of the world’s total projected population of about 9 billion people.
Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion will make up a declining share of the world’s total population. In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050, and Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion.