India is poised to top the list of countries across the world with the highest Muslim population across the globe, overtaking Indonesia which currently enjoys the distinction.
According to a report by Pew Research Center, India, while continuing to be a Hindu-majority nation, will be home to the majority of Muslim population with more than 300 million Muslims living in the country by 2050.
The report further identifies Muslims as the fastest-growing religious group in the world. It further states that Muslims could well overtake the Christian population, the world’s largest religion at this point, by the end of this century if the current demographic trends continue.
As per the research, there were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world as of 2010 – roughly 23 per cent of the global population – and while Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion (after Christianity), it is the fastest-growing major religion.
As per a 2015 report of Pew Research Center, while the world’s population is projected to grow 35 per cent in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 73 per cent – from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2050. In 2010, Muslims made up 23.2 per cent of the global population. Four decades later, they are expected to make up about 29.7 per cent of the world’s people.
The current report cites two major factors behind the rapid projected growth of Islam. First, Muslims have more children than members of other religious groups- Muslim women have an average of 3.1 children, compared with 2.3 for all other groups combined.
Second, a larger share of Muslims are either already at a appoint where they begin to have children or will soon be. The second factor is based on the reading that Muslims are the youngest (median age of 23 years old in 2010) of all major religious groups, seven years younger than the median age of non-Muslims.
The research further states that the above factors combined with high fertility rates will fuel the growth of the Muslim population worldwide.
“The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries,” the report states.
The think-tank’s report further states that although many countries in the Middle East-North Africa region, where the religion originated in the seventh century, are heavily Muslim, the region is home to only about 20 per cent of the world’s Muslims.
“A majority of the Muslims globally (62%) live in the Asia-Pacific region, including large populations in Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey,” it says.
The report also states that the Muslim population is growing in Europe as well. “We project 10 per cent of all Europeans will be Muslims by 2050,” it adds.