Muslim births to outnumber Christian births worldwide by 2035

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Globally, Muslims make up the second largest religious group, with 1.8 billion people, or 24% of the world's population, followed by religious "nones" (16%), Hindus (15%) and Buddhists (7%).

With the highest fertility rate of any religious group worldwide, the Muslim population will achieve parity with the Christian population within less than 50 years, according to a new study.

Overall, the world's Christian population is expected to continue growing, with Christian births making up 33% of the world's total, marginally higher than its 31% of the world's population between 2010 and 2015.

Not only will there continue to be more Christian births than deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, but births will exceed deaths by larger numbers in upcoming five-year periods, it said.

At the same time, in recent years, Christians have had a disproportionately large share of the world's deaths - 37%.

Between 2010 and 2015, Christian women had 223 million births and 107 million deaths - a net gain of 116 million.

The study also projects that the numbers of Christians and Muslims will be almost equal by 2060, which is ten years later than a 2015 Pew projection. A low birth rate for people who don't affiliate with any religion means that their share of the world population will also shrink.

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The projections did not assume that all babies will remain in the religion of their mother.

The world's morphing population will most likely be affected by a number of factors, but the changes will be driven largely by where each religion is concentrated today, the authors found. After all, while religious apostasy is illegal in many African and Middle Eastern countries, it is not in Europe or the Americas (excepting Guyana and Suriname) and Pew tells us "In many Europeans countries, births among the religiously-unaffiliated exceeded deaths".

Among the religiously unaffiliated, births outpaced deaths by around one million. As of 2015, there were 2.3 billion Christians and 1.8 billion Muslims in the world.

In addition, Christians are dying out faster than other religions.

In contrast with this baby boom among Muslims, people who do not identify with any religion are experiencing a much different trend. The entire global population is expected to increase to 9.6 billion, a jump of 32 percent.

As a result, according to Pew Research Center projections, by 2060, Muslims will be 31 per cent of the population and Christians will be 32 per cent. Jews, adherents of folk religions (faiths associated with a particular group of people, ethnicity or tribe), and followers of other religions made up smaller shares of the global population. However, they only produce 10 percent of the world's babies.

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