How well do you know Muslims?
Many sources of information—biased and unbiased—shape our perceptions and beliefs. A goal of OurValues.org is to foster civil dialogue by providing impartial facts about often-controversial topics. This week, we’re focusing on new facts about Muslims, drawing on findings from new studies.
Compare these facts with what you know and tell us what you think! Even better—share these columns with friends and see if they are surprised by these findings. (You’re always welcome to fully share OurValues columns to spark discussion; that includes printing them out to spark discussion in your small group or class.)
Here’s the first fact that’s likely to get people talking: Did you know that Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group?
That’s the conclusion from the Pew Research Center’s religious projections. In fact, they predict that the number of Muslims in the world will grow by 73% by 2050. This pace of growth is much faster than the growth rate for the world’s population.
All other religious groups are growing at a slower pace (or in the case of Buddhists, actually shrinking). After Muslims, Christians and Hindus are growing the fastest—but their rates of growth (about 35%) are less than half the growth rate for Muslims.
American Christians, in particular, have been hearing reports for several decades about the rapid spread of their faith in Africa, China and in a few other regions of the world. What’s surprising in this new report is that Islam is growing at an even faster rate.
In fact, by 2050, the number of Muslims in the world will equal the number of Christians; after that, Muslims will be become the world’s most numerous religious group.
Why is Islam projected to grow so rapidly?
It all comes down to demographics. The fertility rate for Muslims is higher than the rate for other major religious groups. For example, Christian women have an average of 2.7 children, compared to Muslim women, who have an average of 3.1 children.
The Muslim population also tends to be young, compared to other religious populations. The median age of Muslims is only 23, which means that many Muslims are arriving at the time when they will start having children. A young population combines with a high fertility rate to explain the rapid growth of Muslims.
Share with friends …
Did you know that Muslims are the world’s fastest growing religious group—and in 35 years will equal the number of Christians?
What are the implications of the changing religious composition of the world?