Within 20 years, more babies will be born to Muslim women than to Christian women world-wide, the latest sign of the rapid growth that could make Islam the world’s largest religion by the end of the century.
The new report is an expansion on a major Pew Research study from 2015, which first projected that by 2050 the world-wide Muslim population would nearly equal the Christian population, perhaps for the first time in history.
Wednesday’s study offers new details about birthrates in recent years. It also projects forward to 2060, when the Christian and Muslim populations will be nearly equal.
The world-wide population of Muslims is projected to grow by 70% between 2015 and 2060. Christianity will grow by 34%.
For both religions, the growing numbers come largely from fertility. Muslims have gained slightly in recent years from people converting to Islam. Meanwhile, Christians have lost more members than any other religion in recent years due to religious switching.
[The WSJ forgot to mention that so-called “religious switching” is prohibited in Islam and punishable by death! Don’t believe us, hear it from Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned Muslim cleric in the world., as he cites Islamic sources.]
Currently, 16% of the world’s population is religiously unaffiliated, with most of them living in China. That group has gained the most from religious switching, with more than 12 million people expected to leave behind any religious affiliation between 2015 and 2020.
The percentage of the world population that is unaffiliated with any religion is expected to fall in the coming decades because of lower birthrates, compared to other belief groups.