Islam is fast catching up with Christianity riding high on more births than any other religion, says a Pew Research report.
The data speaks of the year 2015 and notes that while Christians remained the largest religious group in the world in 2015, making up nearly a third (31%) of Earth’s 7.3 billion people yet the number of Christians in the religion’s heartland, Europe, is seeing a major decline.
The report by the research group says that the Christians had the most births and deaths of any religious group in recent years, according to its demographic models. It also states that between 2010 and 2015, an estimated 223 million babies were born to Christian mothers and roughly 107 million Christians died – a natural increase of 116 million.
Globally, Islam is placed at the second place for now with Muslims making up the second largest religious group.
Islam till 2015 had about 1.8 billion people, or 24% of the world’s population, followed by religious “nones” (16%), Hindus (15%) and Buddhists (7%).
Adherents of folk religions, Jews and members of other religions make up smaller shares of the world’s people, noted the report.
How Islam is the fastest growing religion?
The report explains that the Muslims experienced the greatest natural increase among all religious groups, including Christians and that the births to Muslims between 2010 and 2015 outnumbered deaths by 152 million (213 million births vs. 61 million deaths).
While globally, all major groups had more births than deaths yet it aided Islam to catch up with Christianity because the fertility differences between religious groups are one of the key factors behind current population trends.
Muslims have the highest fertility rate than any other religious group – an average of 2.9 children per woman, well above replacement level (2.1), the minimum typically needed to maintain a stable population said the research.
This fertility advantage is one reason, explains the report, just why Muslims are expected to catch up with Christians in absolute number and as a share of the global population in the coming decades.
However, Christians are not far behind and have the second highest fertility rate, at 2.6 children per woman while Hindu and Jewish fertility (2.3 each) are both just below the global average of 2.4 children per woman.
All other major religious groups including Buddhism have fertility levels too low to sustain their populations.
The report also states that the Muslims have the youngest median age (24) of all religious groups, which is also expected to contribute to their rapid growth. Hindus (27) are also younger than the median age of the world’s overall population (30), while the median age of Christians (30) matches the global median.
To check the full article by Pew Research, click here.