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Pew projects Islam to dominate world religion by 2070

YOGYAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 15:  Indonesian muslims perform Eid Al-Adha prayer at Parangkusumo beach on October 15, 2013 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Eid Al-Adha, known as the 'Feast of the Sacrifice', is one of the most significant festivals on the Muslim calendar. The holiday marks the end of the Haji Pilgrimage and serves as day to remember the Islamic profit Ibrahim, and his willingness to sacrifice his son to God. On this day, Muslims in countries around the world start the day with prayer and spend time with family, offer gifts and often give to charity. It is customary for Muslims family to honour Allah by sacrificing a sheep or goat and sharing the meat amongst family members.  (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
Indonesian muslims perform Eid Al-Adha prayer at Parangkusumo beach on October 15, 2013 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Eid Al-Adha, known as the 'Feast of the Sacrifice', is one of the most significant festivals on the Muslim calendar.

Christianity has been the world’s largest religion since 2010, with Islam coming in second. But if current demographic trends continue, researchers at PEW say Muslims will catch up by 2050, and could surpass Christianity by 2070.

Christianity has been the world’s largest religion since 2010, with Islam coming in second. But if current demographic trends continue, researchers at PEW say Muslims will catch up by 2050, and could surpass Christianity by 2070.

The future growth is determined mostly by where each religious group is geographically located, and Muslims are a youthful population with high fertility rates, living in the fastest growing parts of the world. The study released last week, is the first formal demographic projections using data beyond just age, fertility or mortality that extends to migration and religious switching for multiple religious groups around the world.

By 2050, people unaffiliated with a religion including Atheists and agnostics, despite increasing in the U.S. and France, will be declining. The global Buddhist population will be the same as it was in 2010, but Hindu and Jewish populations will be larger. In the U.S., Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion and Christians will make up two-thirds of the population.

The projections are limited to a 40-year time frame because many unforeseen events such as social movements, political upheavals or natural disasters could shift demographic trends. Have you noticed a religious shift, or lack thereof, in your community?

Guest:

Jenny Trinitapoli, Professor of Sociology, Demography and Religious studies at Penn State. She contributed to the Pew Report

Todd M. Johnson, Associate Professor of Global Christianity and Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Johnson is visiting Research Fellow at Boston University’s Institute for Culture, Religion and World Affairs leading a research project on international religious demography; Johnson contributed to the Pew Report

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