Muslim, the fastest growing religious community in the world, will constitute 29.7% of the global population in 2050, and these are 10 countries where Muslim population will increase the most by 2050.
Pew Research Center’s latest data show that global religious landscape will go through two major changes. First, Christianity will remain the dominant religion in the world, but Islam will experience the greatest growth among all religions. In 2010, there were 2.17 billion Christians compared to 1.6 billion Muslims while in 2050 Christians will outnumber Muslims by only 156.59 million. Secondly, the percent of people who do not belong to any religious group, who are referred to as unaffiliated and who represent third-largest religious community after Christians and Muslims, will decline on global level although their number will rise in certain western countries (US, France, New Zealand). The number of Buddhists will not significantly change while the number of Jews and Hindus will increase.
Due to overall population growth in the next forty years, an increase in the number of Christians will not mean that the group will constitute a greater share of the world’s population (in 2050 the community will account for 31.4% of all people living on the Earth which is the same percentage as in 2010). On the other side, a number of Islam adherents, as well as their percentage share of the world’s population, will go up (in 2010 Muslims represented 23.2% of the global population, while in 2050 their share will be 29.7%). Moreover, Pew predicts that Muslims will outnumber Christians by the end of this century, as they will account for 35% of global population, compared to Christians who will account for 34% of all people living on the planet.
High fertility rates and low median age are two driving forces behind the rise of the Muslims. Islam adherents have the highest fertility rate (3.1 children per women), while the group’s median age is 23, which means they are 7 years younger compared to non-Muslims.
Currently, the greatest share of Islam followers lives in the Asia-Pacific region (60%). The group’s distribution will not change in the future, although India will surpass Indonesia as the country with the highest Muslim population. This won’t mean though that Islam will become the dominant religion in India since there will be 311 million Islam followers compared to 1.3 billion Hindus. By 2050 only in three countries, Islam will take the place of major religion – in Macedonia, where Muslim will represent 56.2% of all residents, Nigeria (58.5%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (49.4%). Although Islam adherents will outnumber Christians in Nigeria, the country will have the third largest Christian population in the world. Besides Muslims, unaffiliated is another religious group which will surpass Christianity as the dominant religion in some countries. In France, New Zealand and the Netherlands the number of people with no religion will considerably rise in the future and in these three countries unaffiliated will become the major religious community.
In the USA, where less than 1% of all residents are Islam followers, the Muslim population will go up, and they will surpass Jews as the second-largest religious community. In Pew Research Survey from 2014, which aimed to describe how Americans perceive religious groups, Islam followers, together with atheists, were rated the most negatively. On the scale from 0 to 100, where 0 stands for the coldest, the most negative feeling and 100 for the warmest, the most positive one, Muslims’s average rating was 40 (Jews, Catholics, and Evangelical Christians received ratings around 60, Hindus and Buddhists got an average rate around 50, Atheist were given 41 average rate).
We excluded from this list countries where Muslims already represent a great majority and if you want to find out more about some of these places you can read our article 11 countries with the highest Muslim population. States from all regions, except Latin America, where the smallest percent of the world’s Muslims live, found a place on this list. We ranked countries according to the percentage increase, not according to the increase in absolute numbers.