Muslim population growth to outpace non-Muslims

In the next two decades, the Muslim population globally is expected to grow about twice the rate of the non-Muslims. If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4 per cent of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4 per cent of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion. world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 per cent in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030. The average annual growth rate of Muslims in the next two decades has been projected to be 1.5 per cent, compared with 0.7 per cent for the non-Muslims.

India is projected to have a Muslim population of 23,6182,000 in 2030; which would be nearly 16 per cent of the then Indian population. In 2010, India is estimated to have 177,286,000 Muslims, which is 14.6 per cent of the total Indian population.

With a projected population of 256,117,000 in 2030, Pakistan is expected to surpass Indonesia as the country with the single largest Muslim population. In 2010, Pakistan has an estimated Muslim population of 178,097,000.

While the global Muslim population is expected to grow at a faster rate than the non-Muslim population, the Muslim population nevertheless is expected to grow at a slower pace in the next two decades than it did in the previous two decades.

From 1990 to 2010, the global Muslim population increased at an average annual rate of 2.2 per cent, compared with the projected rate of 1.5 per cent for the period from 2010 to 2030. As many as 79 countries will have a million or more Muslim inhabitants in 2030, up from 72 countries today.

A majority of the world’s Muslims (about 60 per cent) will continue to live in the Asia-Pacific region, while about 20 per cent will live in the Middle East and North Africa, as is the case today. The portion of the world’s Muslims living in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to rise; in 20 years, for example, more Muslims are likely to live in Nigeria than in Egypt. Muslims will remain relatively small minorities in Europe and the Americas, but they are expected to constitute a growing share of the total population in these regions.

These interesting projections are estimated by the study, ‘The Future of the Global Muslim Population’, released in Jan 2011 by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The Pew projections are based both on past demographic trends and on assumptions about how these trends will play out in future years.

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