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The main reasons for Islam’s growth ultimately involve simple demographics.
To begin with, Muslims have more children than members of the seven other major religious groups analyzed in the study.
For example, India’s number of Muslims is growing at a faster rate than the country’s majority Hindu population, and is projected to rise from 14.4% of India’s 2010 population to 18.4% (or 311 million people) in 2050.
And while there were roughly equal numbers of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria as of 2010, Muslims have higher fertility there and are expected to grow to a solid majority of Nigeria’s population (58.5%) in 2050.
The growth of the Muslim population also is helped by the fact that Muslims have the youngest median age (23 in 2010) of all major religious groups, seven years younger than the median age of non-Muslims (30).
Indeed, Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 20 and, in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group.This, combined with high fertility rates, will accelerate Muslim population growth.More than a third of Muslims are concentrated in Africa and the Middle East, regions that are projected to have the biggest population increases.In fact, Muslims are expected to grow as a percentage of every region except Latin America and the Caribbean, where relatively few Muslims live.
The same dynamics hold true in many countries where Muslims live in large numbers alongside other religious groups.Meanwhile, religious switching, which is expected to hinder the growth of some other religious groups, is not expected to have a negative net impact on Muslims.