A six-year-long study from Pew Research expects a “vibrantly religious planet” in our near future.
Photo via Flickr user Dave Evers.
Come 2050, the world’s religious makeup is going to look quite a bit different, says a recent report out of the Religious & Public Life division of the Pew Research Center. One of the Pew team’s biggest predictions after six years of poring over thousands of censuses, surveys, and population registers from the world over? The global Muslim population is on pace to match that of Christians by the year 2070. And by the time we pop the bubbly on 3000, Islam will have claimed the top spot, making it the fastest growing religion.
Image via Pew Research Center.
Out of the predicted 9.3 billion people who will inhabit our Earth in a mere 35 years, Muslims will make up almost 30 percent of the population, Christians just over 31 percent, Hindus almost 15 percent, Buddhists just over 5 percent, and Jews a surprising 0.2 percent, with unaffiliated and other religions accounting for the rest. What this report indicates, says the New York Times, is that we’re moving toward a more “vibrantly religious planet” instead of “the withering away of religion predicted by some futurists.” Researchers point to fertility rates and youth numbers as explaining a great deal of the growth or lack thereof in the world’s most prominent religions—Muslims boast the highest fertility rates and are the youngest, as opposed to, the Buddhist population, for example, which will stay fairly stagnant from 2010 to 2050 due to low rates of fertility and the large elderly populations in heavily Buddhist countries.
One particularly interesting development is that Christianity, long perceived to be the faith of a primarily white, Western demographic, will, by 2050, be most concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, with four out of 10 Christians living in the region.