Muslims expected to rival Christians for most believers by 2060

In the period between 2010 and 2015, births to Muslims made up an estimated 31 per cent of all babies born around the world - far exceeding the Muslim share of the global population, which stood at 24 per cent in 2015.

Islam is already the world's fastest-growing religion, because even though Christian births still outpace Muslim births, more Christians are dying in European nations such as England, Germany, Italy and Russian Federation, than are being born.

By 2060, when the world's population is expected to number 9.6 billion (a third more than today's), one in seven members of the human race will either be Muslim (3 billion people, or 31%) or Christian (3.1 billion, or 32%).

Pew predicts that except for Islam and Christianity, all major world religions are projected to make up a smaller percentage of the global population in 2060 than they did in 2015.

The study also found that Christians have had "a disproportionately large share" of the world's deaths - 37 percent - from 2010 and 2015.

But among Christians in Europe the reverse is true: Deaths outnumbered births by almost 6 million during this brief period.

The study projects that two decades later, between 2055 and 2060, around 36 percent of babies will be born to Muslim mothers and 35 percent to Christian women.

More news: Pence breaks Senate tie on killing family-planning grants rule

The study also assumes there will be a massive net change in the number of Christians who either convert to another religion or choose to no longer affiliate with any religion. Globally, however, the effect of religious switching is overshadowed by the impact of differences in fertility and mortality.

Christians had the most births and deaths of any religious group in recent years, according to our demographic models. Births to Muslims around the world outnumbered deaths 213 million to 61 million, for a natural increase of 152 million.

Islam is already world's fastest-growing religion. And the number of people who profess no religion is expected to shrink, given current birth rates.

The lower average age of Muslims in Europe - 33 as opposed to 43 for Christians - is said to be a factor along with higher fertility rates.

In total, Christians were the largest religious group on Earth in 2015, while Muslims were the second largest group. "Over that same period, the number of Muslims - the major religious group with the youngest population and the highest fertility - is projected to increase by 70 percent", the report claims.

Other religious groups, including Hindus and Jews, will grow in total numbers by 2060, but will not keep pace with global population growth.

From 2015 until 2060, Pew expects Christians to increase from 31 percent of the world's population to just 32 percent.

  • Myrtle Hill