Muslim population growth

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World Muslim population by percentage (Pew Research Center, 2014)

Muslim population growth refers to the topic of population growth of the global Muslim community. In 2006, countries with a Muslim majority had an average population growth rate of 1.8% per year (when weighted by percentage Muslim and population size).[1] This compares with a world population growth rate of 1.1% per year.[2] As of 2011, it is predicted that the world's Muslim population will grow twice as fast as non-Muslims over the next 20 years. By 2030, Muslims will make up more than a quarter of the global population. If current trends continue, it is predicted by the year 2100 that about 1% more of the world's population will be Muslim (35%) than Christian (34%).[3]

Globally, Muslims have the highest fertility rate, an average of 3.1 children per woman—well above replacement level (2.1), the minimum typically needed to maintain a stable population. Christians are second, at 2.7 children per woman. Hindu fertility (2.4) is similar to the global average (2.5). Worldwide, Jewish fertility (2.3 children per woman) also is above replacement level. All the other groups have fertility levels too low to sustain their populations and would require converts to grow or maintain their size: indigenous and tribal religions (1.8 children per woman), other religions (1.7), the unaffiliated (1.7) and Buddhists (1.6).[3]

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, published in 2001, the fastest-growing branch of Islam is Ahmadiyya.[4] It is often reported from other various sources in 2010, including the German domestic intelligence service, that Salafism is the fastest-growing Islamic movement in the world.[5][6][7][8]


Estimating Muslim population growth is related to contentious political issues. Some Islamic organizations have accused American demographers of releasing falsely low population numbers of Muslims in the United States to justify the marginalization of Muslims.[9]

By region[edit]


  • According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the World Christian Database as of 2007 estimated the six fastest-growing religions of the world to be Islam (1.8%), the Bahá'í Faith (1.7%), Sikhism (1.6%), Jainism (1.6%), Hinduism (1.5%), and Christianity (1.3%). High birth rates were cited as the reason for the growth.[10] However, according to others, including the Guinness World Records, Islam is the world's fastest-growing religion by number of conversions each year.[11]
  • Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiles the Vatican's yearbook, said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that "For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us". He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4% of the world population—a stable percentage—while Muslims were at 19.2%. "It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer," the monsignor said.[12]


Islam is currently the largest religion in Asia. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly three-in-ten people living in the Asia-Pacific region in 2030 (27.3%) will be Muslim, up from about a quarter in 2010 (24.8%) and roughly a fifth in 1990 (21.6%).[13]


Islam is the fastest-growing religion in India.[14] The ratio of young children (age 0–6) to the total population is also significantly higher among Muslims than Hindus in India.[15][16] Demographers have put forward several factors behind high birthrates among Muslims in India. Sociologists point out that religious factors can explain high Muslim birthrates. Surveys indicate that Muslims in India have been relatively far less willing to adopt family planning measures and that Indian Muslim girls get married at a much younger age compared to non-Muslim girls.[17] According to Paul Kurtz, Muslims in India are much more resistant to modern contraceptive measures compared to other Indians and, as a consequence, the decline in fertility rate among non-Muslim women is much higher compared to that of Muslim women.[18][19] According to a 2006 committee appointed by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, if the current trend continues, by the end of the 21st century India's Muslim population will reach 320 to 340 million people (or 18–19% of India's total projected population).[20] Islam is the second-largest religion in India, making up 14.9% of the country's population with about 180 million adherents (2011 census).[21][22] India has the second largest population of Muslims, after Indonesia.[23]


In China, Muslim population growth was 2.7% during 1964–1982, compared to 2.1% for the population as the next two decades from 2011. Pew Research Center projects a slowing down of Muslim population growth in China than in previous years, with Muslim women in China having a 1.7 fertility rate.[24] Many Hui Muslims voluntarily limit themselves to one child in China since their Imams preach to them about the benefits of population control. The amount of children, in different areas, people are allowed to have varies between one and three children.[25] Chinese family planning policy allows minorities, including Muslims, to have up to two children in urban areas, and three to four children in rural areas.


See also: Islam in Europe

Islam is the fastest-growing religion in Europe.[26][27] According to the Pew Research Center, the Muslim population in Europe (excluding Turkey) was about 30 million in 1990, 44 million in 2010 and is expected to increase to 58 million by 2030; the Muslim share of the population increased from 4.1% in 1990 to 6% in 2010 and will continue to increase over the next 40 years, reaching 10% in 2050.[3][28] There were approximately 19 million Muslims in the European Union in 2010 or about (3.8%).[29]

Data for the rates of growth of Islam in Europe reveal that the growing number of Muslims is due primarily to immigration and higher birth rates.[30] Muslim women today have an average of 2.2 children compared to an estimated average of 1.5 children for non-Muslim women in Europe.[3] While the birth rate for Muslims in Europe is expected to decline over the next two decades, it will remain slightly higher than in the non-Muslim population,[3] except for Dutch-Turks, who have a lower birthrate (1.7) than the native Dutch population (1.8).[31][32]

Based on the current growth rate of Islam in Europe, in 2030, Muslims are projected to make up more than 10% of the total population in 10 European countries: Kosovo (93.5%), Albania (83.2%), Bosnia-Herzegovina (42.7%), Republic of Macedonia (40.3%), Montenegro (21.5%), Bulgaria (15.7%), Russia (14.4%), Georgia (11.5%), France (10.3%) and Belgium (10.2%).[33] There are around 100,000 Muslim converts in the UK.[34][35] France has seen conversions to the Islamic faith double in the past quarter century. In France there are an estimated 100,000 Muslim converts, compared with about 50,000 in 1986.[36]

By denomination[edit]

The following table lists historical growth rates (rounded) by schools and branches in Islam as published by the previous two editions of the World Christian Encyclopedia.

Branches/Schools Growth rate (%) in 1982 Growth rate (%) in 2001
Sunni - -
Hanafi 2.8 2.1
Shafi 2.9 2.2
Maliki 2.4 2.0
Hanbali 2.7 2.2
Shia - -
Twelver 2.8 2.2
Isma'ili 3.4 2.7
Zaydi 2.8 2.3
Alawites 2.8 -
Ahmadi 4.2 3.3
Khariji 2.7 2.1
Wahhabi - 1.4


Sources show the growth of Islam occurs mainly due to reproduction. Only 0.3% (3,220,000 people) of the expected Muslim population growth (1,161,780,000) in the period of 2010–2050 would be due to conversions; 99.7% would be due to a high birth rate among Muslims.[3][37][38] In the period 1990–2000, approximately 12.5 million more people converted to Islam than to Christianity.[11] According to The New York Times, an estimated 25% of American Muslims are converts.[39] In Britain, around 6,000 people convert to Islam per year and according to a June 2000 article in the British Muslims Monthly Survey the bulk of new Muslim converts in Britain were women. According to NBC news report, every year around 20,000 people in U.S.A convert to Islam.[citation needed] [35] Studies estimate significantly more people have converted from Islam to Christianity in the 21st century than at any other point in Islamic history.[40] A 2015 study found that up to 10.2 million Muslim converted to Christianity.[41] The increasingly large ex-Muslim communities in the Western world that adhere to no religion have also been well documented.[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Averaging of individual country figures from CIA factbook see also Demographics of Islam
  2. ^ CIA Factbook
  3. ^ a b c d e f
  4. ^ David B. Barrett, George Thomas Kurian, Todd M. Johnson, ed. (February 15, 2001). World Christian Encyclopedia. Oxford University Press USA. ISBN 0195079639. 
  5. ^ Barby Grant. "Center wins NEH grant to study Salafism". Arizona State University. Retrieved 9 June 2014. It also reveals that Salafism was cited in 2010 as the fastest growing Islamic movement on the planet. 
  6. ^ Simon Shuster (3 Aug 2013). "Comment: Underground Islam in the Russia". Slate. Retrieved 9 June 2014. It is the fastest-growing movement within the fastest-growing religion in the world. 
  7. ^ Christian Caryl (September 12, 2012). "The Salafi Moment". FP. Retrieved 9 June 2014. Though solid numbers are hard to come by, they're routinely described as the fastest-growing movement in modern-day Islam. 
  8. ^ "Uproar in Germany Over Salafi Drive to Hand Out Millions of Qurans". AFP. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 9 June 2014. The service [German domestic intelligence service] said in its most recent annual report dating from 2010 that Salafism was the fastest growing Islamic movement in the world... 
  9. ^ Cooper, William; Yue, Piyu (2008). Challenges of the Muslim World: Present, Future, and Past. Emerald Group Publishing. p. 106. 
  10. ^ Staff (May 2007). "The List: The World's Fastest-Growing Religions". Foreign Policy (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). 
  11. ^ a b Guinness World Records 2003. Guinness World Records. 2003. p. 142. 
  12. ^ "Vatican: Islam Surpasses Roman Catholicism as World's Largest Religion – International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News". 2008-03-30. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  13. ^ "The Future of the Global Muslim Population". Pew Research Center. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  14. ^ "Census of India". Census of India. Census Data 2001: India at a glance >> Religious Composition. Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  15. ^ "Muslims show better sex ratio in India". IBNLive. 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  16. ^ "Why Do India’s Muslims Have a Better Sex Ratio Than Hindus?". Wall Street Journal. 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  17. ^ Shakeel Ahmad. Muslim attitude towards family planning. Sarup & Sons, 2003. ISBN 9788176253895. 
  18. ^ Guilmoto, Christophe. Fertility transition in south India. SAGE, 2005. ISBN 9780761932925. 
  19. ^ Paul Kurtz. Multi-Secularism: A New Agenda. Transaction Publishers, 2010. ISBN 9781412814195. 
  20. ^ "Muslim population myths". Times of India. 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  21. ^ Vijaita Singh (24 February 2015). "Over 180 million Muslims in India but they are not part of global terror groups: Govt". Indian Express. Indian Express. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "The Global Religious Landscape – Muslims". Pew Research Center. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Nachmani, Amikam (2010). Europe and its Muslim minorities: aspects of conflict, attempts at accord. Brighton: Sussex Academic. p. 35. ISBN 9781845194000. 
  27. ^ Cherribi, Sam (2010). In the house of war: Dutch Islam observed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 33. ISBN 9780199734115. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "The future of the global muslim population – Europe (excluding however Turkey and including Siberian Russia)". Pew Research Center). January 27, 2011. 
  30. ^ "site". BBC News. 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  31. ^ Factsheet Turks in the Netherlands, p. 2 Abckenniscentrum, 2011
  32. ^ Sterke regionale verschillen in vruchtbaarheid naar herkomstgroepering CBS, 2012
  33. ^ "The Future of the Global Muslim Population". Pew Research Center. 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ a b "Women Converts". British Muslims Monthly Survey VIII (6). June 2000. Archived from the original on 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  36. ^ "Rise of Islamic Converts Challenges France". The New York Times. 2013-02-03. 
  37. ^ Huntington, Samuel. "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order," Touchstone Books, 1998, pp. 65–6.
  38. ^ Robinson, B. A. [1], Religious, "Numbers of adherents; names of houses of worship; names of leaders; rates of growth...", 1997–2009, accessed May 5, 2011.
  39. ^ Muslim Convert Faces Discrimination Accessed 2008-01-17
  40. ^ Garrison, David; 2014; "A Wind In The House Of Islam: How God Is Drawing Muslims Around The World To Faith In Jesus Christ"; WIGTake Resources
  41. ^ Johnstone, Patrick; Miller, Duane Alexander (2015). "Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census". Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 11: 8. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  42. ^ Anthony, Andrew; 2015; "Losing their religion: The hidden crisis of faith among Britain's young Muslims"; The Guardian