A new report forecasts that the number of Muslims around the world will grow over the next 20 years at twice the rate of non-Muslims, but that the rapid growth will level off.
With more Muslim women getting educations and jobs, people migrating to cities, and living standards improving, the report says, the birthrate in majority-Muslim countries will come to more closely resemble the pattern in other nations.
Predictions that Europe will become a majority-Muslim “Eurabia” are unfounded, according to the report by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, a nonpartisan research group.
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Muslims in Europe made up only 6 percent of the population in 2010, and will grow to 8 percent by 2030, the report says. In France and Belgium, Muslims will be about 10 percent of the population in 20 years, and in Britain, 8 percent.
Globally, Muslims now make up 23.4 percent of the population, and if current trends continue, will be 26.4 percent by 2030. Such growth is not enough to create a drastic shift in the world’s religious balance, experts said. The world’s Christian population has been estimated in other reports to be 30 percent to 33 percent.
Amaney A. Jamal, associate professor of politics at Princeton and a consultant for Pew on global Islam, said that the report could challenge assertions by some scholars and far-right political parties about future demographic domination by Muslims.
What also needs to be taken into account is that while children born to Muslim parents are considered to be Muslims from birth, not all of them will follow the tenets of Islam.
Muslim birth rate falls, population to grow more slowly
The report did not publish figures for worldwide populations of other major religions, but said the United States-based Pew Forum planned similar reports on growth prospects for worldwide Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Judaism.
“The declining growth rate is due primarily to falling fertility rates in many Muslim-majority countries,” it said, noting the birth rate is falling as more Muslim women are educated, living standards rise and rural people move to cities.
Continued migration will swell the ranks of Europe’s Muslim minorities by one-third by 2030, to 8 percent of the region’s inhabitants from 6 percent, it said.
Muslims in France will rise to 6.9 million, or 10.3 percent of the population, from 4.7 million (7.5 percent), in Britain to 5.6 million (8.2 percent) from 2.9 million and in Germany to 5.5 million (7.1 percent) from 4.1 million (5 percent).
The Muslim share of the U.S. population will grow from 0.8 percent in 2010 to 1.7 percent in 2030, “making Muslims roughly as numerous as Jews or Episcopalians are in the United States today,” the study said.
By 2030, Muslims will number 2.1 million or 23.2 percent of the population in Israel — including Jerusalem but not the West Bank and Gaza — after 1.3 million (17.7 percent) in 2010.
The study said it counted “all groups and individuals who self-identify as Muslims,” including secular or non-observant people, without measuring levels of religiosity.
The Future of the Global Muslim Population: The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
The world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, according to new population projections by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades — an average annual growth rate of 1.5% for Muslims, compared with 0.7% for non-Muslims. If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4% of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4% of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.
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%, compared with the projected rate of 1.5% for the period from 2010 to 2030.
If current trends continue, however, 79 countries will have a million or more Muslim inhabitants in 2030, up from 72 countries today