A comprehensive Pew Research Center study shows that by 2050, India will surpass Indonesia to have the largest Muslim population by any country in the world. However, India will continue to have a Hindu majority, the study noted.
The Muslim population in India is likely to exceed 18% (310 million) while Hindus will comprise of 77% of the country’s population. In 2010, the percentage of Hindus in the country was about 80%, which is likely to come down to 77%. At the same time, over the course of four decades, the Muslim population will increase by four percentage points from 14% to 18%.
As of 2010, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population (209 million) followed by India (176 million) and Pakistan (167 million). The largest share of Hindus as of 2010 is in India, followed by Nepal and Bangladesh. By 2050, India and Nepal will be the only two countries with a majority Hindu population, the same situation as of 2010, the study said.
Globally, the most interesting aspect from the study is the fact that by 2050, the number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians in the world. Over the course of four decades, while Christians will go from 2.17 to 2.92 billion, Muslims are seen to have the fastest pace of growth to go from 1.6 billion to 2.76 billion. The study notes that Hindus will go from 1.03 billion to 1.38 billion. The world’s total population itself is expected to rise up to 9.3 billion, a rise of 35%.
Region-wise, Muslims are likely to be dominant in the Asia-Pacific region but their size itself will reduce from 62% in 2010 to 53% in 2050. They are also projected to surpass Hindus as the largest religious group in the region. Hindus will also be predominantly living in the Asia-Pacific region by 2050.
Among all religions, Buddhism is the only one which sees negative growth (from 7% in 2010 to 5% in 2050), largely due to an ageing population and low fertility rates.
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