Washington: The world’s Muslim population is expected to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades, and constitute over a quarter of the total projected global population in 2030, according to an analysis.
The Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 percent in the next twenty years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, said a new population projection by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.
“If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4% of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4% of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion,” said the study, which was published on Thursday (today).
The report, which has based its projections both on past demographic trends and on assumptions about how these trends will play out in future years, said that 79 countries would have a million or more Muslim inhabitants in 2030, up from 72 countries today, if current trends continue.
It also said that a majority of the world’s Muslims (about 60 percent) would continue to live in the Asia-Pacific region, while about 20 percent would live in the Middle East and North Africa, as is the case today.
“But Pakistan is expected to surpass Indonesia as the country with the single largest Muslim population,” said the report.
Although several European countries will have ‘substantially higher percentages’ of Muslims, the United States is projected to have a larger number of Muslims by 2030 than any European countries other than Russia and France.
“The population projections show the number of Muslims more than doubling over the next two decades, rising from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030, in large part because of immigration and higher-than-average fertility among Muslims, the report added.
According to the analysis, Sunni Muslims will continue to make up an overwhelming majority of Muslims in 2030 (87- 90 per cent), but the number of Shia Muslims across the world may decline slightly, largely because of relatively low fertility in Iran, where more than one-third of the world’s Shia Muslims live.
The growth of the global Muslim population, however, should not obscure another important demographic trend, said the report, pointing out that the rate of growth among Muslims has been slowing in recent decades and is likely to continue to decline over the next 20 years.
From 1990 to 2010, the global Muslim population increased at an average annual rate of 2.2 percent, compared with the projected rate of 1.5 percent for the period from 2010 to 2030.