Washington, DC. While Christianity is currently the world’s largest religious group, a new report suggests Islam will replace it sooner than many thought possible, due to a world wide diaspora of migrants to receptive host populations.
Christianity’s long reign as the world’s largest religion may soon come to an end, according to a report that builds on Pew Research Center’s original population growth projections for religious groups. Indeed, Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2015 and 2060 and, in the second half of this century, will surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group.
The main reasons for Islam’s growth ultimately involve simple numbers. To begin with, Muslims have more children than members of the seven other major religious groups analyzed in the study. Muslim women have an average of 2.9 children, significantly above the next-highest group (Christians at 2.6) and the average of all non-Muslims (2.2). This disparity in birth rate is seen as key in understanding the change.
Experts say a larger share of Muslims will soon be at the point in their lives when people begin having children. This, combined with high fertility rates, will accelerate Muslim population growth out pacing non-muslim groups. Experts caution that this report is subject to change, given factors like nuclear war in the middle east was not considered in the estimates and international security consultants do not see the region without some exchange of nuclear weapons over the next 50 years in that region.