Muslims - Fastest-growing Religious Group

By: Michael Lipka  (, 4.6 2015

Why Muslims Are the World’s Fastest-growing Religious Group

The expected growth of Islam around the world is perhaps the most striking finding in the recent Pew Research Center report projecting the future of religious groups. Indeed, Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2010 and 2050 and, in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group.

While the world’s population is projected to grow 35% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 73% – from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2050. In 2010, Muslims made up 23.2% of the global population. Four decades later, they are expected to make up about three-in-ten of the world’s people (29.7%).

By 2050, Muslims will be nearly as numerous as Christians, who are projected to remain the world’s largest religious group at 31.4% of the global population.

The main reasons for Islam’s growth ultimately involve simple demographics. To begin with, Muslims have more children than members of the seven other major religious groups analyzed in the study. Each Muslim woman has an average of 3.1 children, significantly above the next-highest group (Christians at 2.7) and the average of all non-Muslims (2.3). In all major regions where there is a sizable Muslim population, Muslim fertility exceeds non-Muslim fertility.

Islam fastest growing religions in the United States. Experts agree Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in America. As many as five million Muslims live in the United States and in the last five years, the number of mosques in this country has increased from 843 to about 1,300. Most of the growth has come from immigration, but much of it is home-grown. For many black Americans, Islam has become the religion of choice and some one million—mostly men—have converted. “It is an American phenomenon, which started in the ghettoes of the north,” says Yvonne Haedad, a professor of history of Islam and of Christian-Muslim Relations at Georgetown University. “It is a response to racism…it is seen as the religion of liberation.” Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam has become the most prominent black Islamic group in the United States. Black men in bow ties and dark suits emphasize the strict discipline of the order, which emphasizes empowerment, a key theme of the Million Man March on Washington in 1995. But Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic remarks—calling  Jews “bloodsuckers” who took from the community to build their own—have brought controversy and publicity to the group. “It’s very visible, because Farrakhan is very visible,” says Fahhim Abdulhadi, spokesman for the American Muslim Council. “Muslims in mainstream have lots of problems with Farrakhan.”