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April 3, 2015 11:30 pm

India to have largest Muslim population by 2050: Study

NEW DELHI: India will have the world’s largest Muslim population surpassing Indonesia by the year 2050, according to a new study.

The study conducted by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre throws up interesting insights into how religion and its number will grow in the coming decades.

The study’s religious profile predictions assessed data indicates the Hindu population is projected to rise by 34 per cent worldwide, from a little over 1 billion to nearly 1.4 billion by 2050.

The report released Thursday said, by 2050, Hindus will form the third largest population group, making up 14.9 per cent of the world's total population, followed by people who do not affiliate with any religion, accounting for 13.2 per cent.

Hindus will make up 14.9% of the world’s total population, behind Christians (31.4%) and Muslims (29.7%), while people unaffiliated to any religious group will account for 13.2%, the study said.

“By 2050, the study projects India to be the country with the largest number of Muslims – more than 310 million – even though Hindus will continue to make up a solid majority of India’s population (77%), while Muslims remain a minority (18%),” Pew Research Center said.

“Indonesia will have the third-largest number of Muslims, with Pakistan ranking second,” it said.

“Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion,” it said.

The report predicted that by 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30% of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31%), possibly for the first time in history.

There were 1.6 billion Muslims in 2010, compared to 2.17 billion Christians.

By 2050, Muslims will make up about 10% of Europe’s population, up from 5.9% in 2010.

Buddhism is the only faith that is not expected to increase its followers, due to an ageing population and stable fertility rates in Buddhist countries such as China, Japan and Thailand.

The study by the Pew Centre considered fertility rates, trends in youth population growth and religious conversion statistics to outline religious growth upto 2050.

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