Islam set to overtake Christianity, become world's most popular religion

US-based Pew Research Centre analysed demographic change among the world's major religions and found that the world's population of Muslims will grow by 73 per cent between 2010 and 2050, compared to 35 per cent for Christians, the next fastest-growing faith. By 2100, there will be one percent more Muslims in the world than Christians, according to the study. 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.

"This, combined with high fertility rates, will fuel Muslim population growth".

If both religions continue to grow...

Islam was second with 1.6 billion followers, or 23-percent of the world's population.

An estimated 2.2 billion people identified as Christian in 2010 - making up approximately 31 percent of Earth's 6.9 billion people.

According to Pew, the ongoing surge in the global Muslim population is because Muslims are having more children than others, and the birth rates among major Muslim populations are higher than the birth rates among other religious groups. This compares to around 1.6 billion, or 23 per cent, who are Muslims.

It says reasons for the changes in demographics include migration from predominantly Islamic countries in Asia and the South Pacific to more Christian, western regions.

The Muslim populations of America and Europe will also significantly increase over the course of the next 50 years, a study by the Pew Research Center found.

  • Leroy Wright