Muslim babies to outnumber others by 2035: PEW Report

That gap will continue to grow, and by 2060 Muslims will be having 6 million babies more per years then Christians, the study by the Pew Research Center, released Wednesday, predicted.

A Pew study two years ago found that Islam is the world's fastest growing religion and could overtake Christianity by the end of this century. Thirty-three percent of the world's babies were born to Christian mothers between 2010 and 2015, while Christians comprise only 31 percent of the world population.

Also, in recent years, Christians have had a disproportionately large share of the world's deaths - almost one in four - in large part because of the relatively advanced age of Christian populations in some places. Pew estimates that 42 percent of the world's Christians will live there in 2060, compared with 26 percent in 2015. This will happen because Christians have had and will have fairly high number of population in the advanced age group. This explains why the study expects the birth rate amongst the religiously affiliated to fall to 9% between 2055 and 2060.

The analysis is based on data from the recent report, The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050, by Pew Research Center as part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, which analyses religious change and its impact on societies around the world.

"Between 2015 and 2020, Christians are projected to experience the largest losses due to switching", the report adds.

Christians had the most births and deaths of any religious group in recent years, according to our demographic models. In Germany, the UK, Italy, Russia and France, there were at least 250,000 more Muslim births than deaths in each country over the period.

Religiously unaffiliated people are "heavily concentrated in places with ageing populations and low fertility, such as China, Japan, Europe and North America". For example, 62 percent of US adults predict that religious "nones" will increase as a share of the world's population in the next few decades.

Aside from Buddhists, all religious groups are expected to see some form of population increase.

That baby boom will largely be driven by regional trends in age and fertility, according to Alan Cooperman, director of religion research at Pew.

The total Christian population, however, will remain larger. By contrast, the relatively young population of Muslims has meant higher fertility rates as a whole across Muslim populations.

Beyond 2015, Christian and Muslim mothers are expected to give birth to increasing numbers of babies through 2060. All the other groups are older than the global median, which is part of the reason they are expected to fall behind the pace of global population growth.

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