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According to a new report published by the Pew Research Center, Islam is expected to grow faster than any other major religion worldwide in the next four decades.  

A new Pew forum report on the growth of religions world-wide projects that over the coming decades, Islam will grow the fastest, and by 2050 will have a greater presence in America than the Jews, with the Muslim population nearly matching Christians in both number and share of the global population.

Christians will remain the largest religious group, increasing to 2.92 billion adherents by 2050 if current demographic trends continue. But Muslims will reach 2.76 billion, making each faith group about 30 percent of the world population, analysts from the Pew Research Center said.

The projections in the report, “The Future of World Religions,” are based on birth and death rates, immigration patterns and rates of religious conversions, among other information found in censuses, demographic surveys and additional reports that asked people to identify what faith they follow.

Much of the growth of both Christianity and Islam will occur in Africa. But Muslims will also grow to comprise 10 percent of Europe’s population and will outnumber Jews in the US by mid-century.

As a group, Muslims are younger and have more children than members of other faiths, driving their global growth, researchers said.



India is expected to retain a Hindu majority, but the country will surpass Indonesia as the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population.

The report is the latest to measure how Christianity in developing countries is far outpacing the growth of the faith in the West. By 2050, 4 in 10 Christians are expected to be located in Africa. And Christians will no longer be a majority in the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

Atheists, agnostics and people who don’t identify with a religion will increase in much of Europe and North America, but globally will drop from about 16 percent to 13 percent of the population.

The number of Buddhists will remain about the same, but because of overall global population growth, will comprise a smaller share of the world’s population. Hindus will grow to reach 1.4 billion people. Worldwide, the number of Jews is expected to grow by about 16 percent to 16.1 million.

In North America, Muslims and followers of “other religions” are the fastest-growing religious groups. Within the US, people with no religious affiliation are projected to become more than a quarter of the population, while the share of Christians is expected to decrease from more than three-quarters to two-thirds. The share of the population that belongs to other religions is projected to more than double – albeit from a very small base – rising from 0.6% to 1.5%. Christians are projected to decline from 78% of the US population in 2010 to 66% in 2050, while the unaffiliated are expected to rise from 16% to 26%. And by the middle of the 21st century, the United States is likely to have more Muslims (2.1% of the population) than people who identify with the Jewish faith (1.4%).

It is of significance to note that such projections do not take historical developments into account, and that these developments can dramatically affect the population developments, such as World War II affected the world population or the Holocaust affected the Jewish world.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff


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