Islam set to become the world’s largest religion as Muslim births increase

Crying baby
Muhannad Fala'ah | Getty Images

Islam is set to become the world's largest religious group by 2075 as the number of babies born to Muslim mothers is set to outpace those born to Christians within the next two decades, new research suggests.

More babies are currently born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion, but this looks set to change by 2035, when Muslim births will marginally outweigh Christian births for the first time, according to the Pew Research Center.

Christian births numbered 223 million between 2010 and 2015, while Muslim births numbered 213 million. By 2035, however, the gap is expected to have narrowed, with 225 million Muslim babies estimated to be born within a five year period, versus 224 million Christian babies.

"Globally, the relatively young population and high fertility rates of Muslims lead to a projection that between 2030 and 2035, there will be slightly more babies born to Muslims (225 million) than to Christians (224 million), even though the total Christian population will still be larger," the research noted.

This growth in Muslim births is set to accelerate by 2055 to 2060, when 232 million babies are estimated to be born to Muslim mothers compared with just 226 million to Christian mothers.

By 2075, this could result in the number of practicing Muslims outweighing Christians for the first time, according to the research, which analysed global birth rates from 2010 to 2060.

"When these projections are extended beyond 2060, Muslims are expected to reach parity with Christians in 2070," the study noted.

"By 2075, Muslims are expected to outnumber Christians, even as both groups continue to increase as a share of the world's population, largely due to their concentration in countries with relatively high fertility rates."

The research builds on 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers used within the Pew Research Center's 2015 report The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050.

It estimates that by the end of the century, Muslims will make up 34.9 percent of the world's population while Christians will account for 33.8 percent.

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