By 2050, followers of Islam will match those following Christianity, with the number of Muslims surpassing Christians globally by 2070, the Pew Research Center projects, citing current differences in fertility rates, youth populations and conversions.
The study said that Christianity was the world’s largest religion in 2010, with an estimated 2.2 billion followers representing nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth. Islam had 1.6 billion followers representing 23 percent of the global population.
If current demographic trends continue, however, Pew said that by mid-century, the Muslim population is projected to increase by 73 percent and make up 30 percent of the world’s population (2.8 billion). Christians will make up 31 percent of the population (2.9 billion).
“The main reason Muslims are growing not only in number but in share worldwide is because of where they live,” Alan Cooperman, Pew’s director of religion research, told NPR. “Muslim populations are concentrated in some of the fastest-growing parts of the world.”
The reason for this trend is tied to several factors: Fertility, youthful populations and people switching faiths. The study said Muslims have the highest fertility rate, with an average of 3.1 children per woman – compared with Christians at 2.7 children per woman.
In 2010, more than quarter of the world’s total population was under the age of 15. The highest percentage of children younger than 15 years belong to the Muslim population, which made up 34 percent compared to Hindus at 30 percent and Christians at 27 percent.
These bulging populations are among the reasons Muslim are projected to grow faster than Hindus and Christians.
The growth in these dominant religions is also partly attributable to where the booms are happening. For instance, India will displace Indonesia as the home of the world’s largest Muslim population, even with its Hindu majority, and Pew says, “Four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Absent from the report, because the data wasn’t available, is an inclusion of how China’s population will affect these trajectories. If China’s 1.3 billion population was included, which currently is five percent Christian, and more Chinese were to switch to Christianity it could have an effect on the number of Christians tabulated worldwide.
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Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils – 1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV).
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect -Matthew 24:24 (KJV).
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry – 2 Timothy 4:3-5 (KJV).
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (KJV).