Muslims will outnumber Christians by 2070

Muslims will outnumber Christians by 2070, ending two millenniums of Christian dominance going back to the birth of Jesus Christ, projections released Thursday by the Pew Research Center show.

Islam is projected to grow more than twice as fast as any other major religion over the next half century because of a higher fertility rate. While Christianity will remain a dominant global religion, it will lose majority religious status in countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

Such a dramatic change raises questions about whether global conflicts between radical groups and Western nations with Christian majorities will become more inflamed in the decades ahead.

“The very rapid growth of population, combined with limited opportunities even for the educated young people, but particularly for less educated ones, has created social and therefore political tensions and that has fueled things like immigration to Western countries, political upheaval,” says David Voas, professor of population studies at England’s Institute for Social and Economic Research.

The world’s two largest religions will be near parity by 2050. Christians are predicted to be 31.4% of the planet’s population vs. 29.7% who follow Islam, researchers say. Christians made up the same 31.4% in 2010; Muslims 23.2%.

“We can be quite confident that Muslims are going to grow rapidly in the decades ahead,” said Conrad Hackett, demographer and lead author of the report.

The engine of growth for both Christianity and Islam will be sub-Saharan Africa where high fertility and large Muslim and Christian populations will increase global numbers for both religions, Pew demographers say.

Christianity will remain the dominant religion for the United States but lose some of its share to the unaffiliated – those who claim no particular religion or who are atheists or agnostic. By 2050, one in four Americans will fall into this non-religious category, up from 16.4% in 2010, the analysis shows. Continue reading

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