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سبحان الله والحمد لله ولا إله إلا الله والله أكبر ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم , വായനയുടെ ലോകത്തേക്ക് സ്വാഗതം, അറിവിന്റെ ജാലകം നിങ്ങളെ കാത്തിരിക്കുന്നു..., "try to become a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life"

Jan 29, 2011

The Future of the Global Muslim Population






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The world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, according to new population projections by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades – an average annual growth rate of 1.5% for Muslims, compared with 0.7% for non-Muslims. If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4% of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4% of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.
While the global Muslim population is expected to grow at a faster rate than the non-Muslim population, the Muslim population nevertheless is expected to grow at a slower pace in the next two decades than it did in the previous two decades. From 1990 to 2010, the global Muslim population increased at an average annual rate of 2.2%, compared with the projected rate of 1.5% for the period from 2010 to 2030.
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These are among the key findings of a comprehensive report on the size, distribution and growth of the global Muslim population. The report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life seeks to provide up-to-date estimates of the number of Muslims around the world in 2010 and to project the growth of the Muslim population from 2010 to 2030. The projections are based both on past demographic trends and on assumptions about how these trends will play out in future years. Making these projections inevitably entails a host of uncertainties, including political ones. Changes in the political climate in the United States or European nations, for example, could dramatically affect the patterns of Muslim migration.
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If current trends continue, however, 79 countries will have a million or more Muslim inhabitants in 2030, up from 72 countries today.1 A majority of the world’s Muslims (about 60%) will continue to live in the Asia-Pacific region, while about 20% will live in the Middle East and North Africa, as is the case today. But Pakistan is expected to surpass Indonesia as the country with the single largest Muslim population. The portion of the world’s Muslims living in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to rise; in 20 years, for example, more Muslims are likely to live in Nigeria than in Egypt. Muslims will remain relatively small minorities in Europe and the Americas, but they are expected to constitute a growing share of the total population in these regions.
In the United States, for example, the population projections show the number of Muslims more than doubling over the next two decades, rising from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030, in large part because of immigration and higher-than-average fertility among Muslims. The Muslim share of the U.S. population (adults and children) is projected to grow from 0.8% in 2010 to 1.7% in 2030, making Muslims roughly as numerous as Jews or Episcopalians are in the United States today. Although several European countries will have substantially higher percentages of Muslims, the United States is projected to have a larger number of Muslims by 2030 than any European countries other than Russia and France. (See the Americas section for more details.)
In Europe as a whole, the Muslim share of the population is expected to grow by nearly one-third over the next 20 years, rising from 6% of the region’s inhabitants in 2010 to 8% in 2030. In absolute numbers, Europe’s Muslim population is projected to grow from 44.1 million in 2010 to 58.2 million in 2030. The greatest increases – driven primarily by continued migration – are likely to occur in Western and Northern Europe, where Muslims will be approaching double-digit percentages of the population in several countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, Muslims are expected to comprise 8.2% of the population in 2030, up from an estimated 4.6% today. In Austria, Muslims are projected to reach 9.3% of the population in 2030, up from 5.7% today; in Sweden, 9.9% (up from 4.9% today); in Belgium, 10.2% (up from 6% today); and in France, 10.3% (up from 7.5% today). (See the Europe section.)
Several factors account for the faster projected growth among Muslims than non-Muslims worldwide. Generally, Muslim populations tend to have higher fertility rates (more children per woman) than non-Muslim populations. In addition, a larger share of the Muslim population is in, or soon will enter, the prime reproductive years (ages 15-29). Also, improved health and economic conditions in Muslim-majority countries have led to greater-than-average declines in infant and child mortality rates, and life expectancy is rising even faster in Muslim-majority countries than in other less-developed countries. (See the section on Main Factors Driving Population Growth for more details. For a list of Muslim-majority countries and definitions for the terms less- and more-developed, see the section on Muslim- Majority Countries.)

Growing, But at a Slower Rate

The growth of the global Muslim population, however, should not obscure another important demographic trend: the rate of growth among Muslims has been slowing in recent decades and is likely to continue to decline over the next 20 years, as the graph below shows. From 1990 to 2000, the Muslim population grew at an average annual rate of 2.3%. The growth rate dipped to 2.1% from 2000 to 2010, and it is projected to drop to 1.7% from 2010 to 2020 and 1.4% from 2020 to 2030 (or 1.5% annually over the 20-year period from 2010 to 2030, as previously noted).
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The declining growth rate is due primarily to falling fertility rates in many Muslim-majority countries, including such populous nations as Indonesia and Bangladesh. Fertility is dropping as more women in these countries obtain a secondary education, living standards rise and people move from rural areas to cities and towns. (See the Related Factors section for more details.)
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The slowdown in Muslim population growth is most pronounced in the Asia- Pacific region, the Middle East-North Africa and Europe, and less sharp in sub-Saharan Africa. The only region where Muslim population growth is accelerating through 2020 is the Americas, largely because of immigration. (For details, see the charts on population growth in the sections of this report onAsia-PacificMiddle-East-North AfricaSub-Saharan AfricaEurope and the Americas.)
Falling birth rates eventually will lead to significant shifts in the age structure of Muslim populations. While the worldwide Muslim population today is relatively young, the so-called Muslim “youth bulge” – the high percentage of Muslims in their teens and 20s – peaked around the year 2000 and is now declining. (See the Age Structure section for more details.)
In 1990, more than twothirds of the total population of Muslim-majority countries was under age 30. Today, people under 30 make up about 60% of the population of these countries, and by 2030 they are projected to fall to about 50%.
At the same time, many Muslim-majority countries will have aging populations; between 2010 and 2030, the share of people age 30 and older in these countries is expected to rise from 40% to 50%, and the share of people age 60 and older is expected nearly to double, from 7% to 12%.
Muslim-majority countries, however, are not the only ones with aging populations. As birth rates drop and people live longer all around the globe, the population of the entire world is aging. As a result, the global Muslim population will remain comparatively youthful for decades to come. The median age in Muslim-majority countries, for example, rose from 19 in 1990 to 24 in 2010 and is expected to climb to 30 by 2030. But it will still be lower than the median age in North America, Europe and other more-developed regions, which rose from 34 to 40 between 1990 and 2010 and is projected to be 44 in 2030. By that year, nearly three-inten of the world’s youth and young adults – 29.1% of people ages 15-29 – are projected to be Muslims, up from 25.8% in 2010 and 20.0% in 1990.
Other key findings of the study include:

Worldwide

  • Sunni Muslims will continue to make up an overwhelming majority of Muslims in 2030 (87- 90%). The portion of the world’s Muslims who are Shia may decline slightly, largely because of relatively low fertility in Iran, where more than a third of the world’s Shia Muslims live.
  • As of 2010, about three-quarters of the world’s Muslims (74.1%) live in the 49 countries in which Muslims make up a majority of the population. More than a fifth of all Muslims (23.3%) live in non-Muslim-majority countries in the developing world. About 3% of the world’s Muslims live in more-developed regions, such as Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
  • Fertility rates in Muslim-majority countries are closely related to women’s education levels. In the eight Muslim-majority countries where girls generally receive the fewest years of schooling, the average fertility rate (5.0 children per woman) is more than double the average rate (2.3 children per woman) in the nine Muslim-majority countries where girls generally receive the most years of schooling. One exception is the Palestinian territories, where the average fertility rate (4.5 children per woman) is relatively high even though a girl born there today can expect to receive 14 years of formal education.
  • Fewer than half (47.8%) of married women ages 15-49 in Muslim-majority countries use some form of birth control. By comparison, in non-Muslim-majority, less-developed countries nearly two-thirds (63.3%) of all married women in that age group use some form of birth control.

Asia-Pacific

  • Nearly three-in-ten people living in the Asia-Pacific region in 2030 (27.3%) will be Muslim, up from about a quarter in 2010 (24.8%) and roughly a fifth in 1990 (21.6%).
  • Muslims make up only about 2% of the population in China, but because the country is so populous, its Muslim population is expected to be the 19th largest in the world in 2030.

Middle East-North Africa

  • The Middle East-North Africa will continue to have the highest percentage of Muslim-majority countries. Of the 20 countries and territories in this region, all but Israel are projected to be at least 50% Muslim in 2030, and 17 are expected to have a population that is more than 75% Muslim in 2030, with Israel, Lebanon and Sudan (as currently demarcated) being the only exceptions.
  • Nearly a quarter (23.2%) of Israel’s population is expected to be Muslim in 2030, up from 17.7% in 2010 and 14.1% in 1990. During the past 20 years, the Muslim population in Israel has more than doubled, growing from 0.6 million in 1990 to 1.3 million in 2010. The Muslim population in Israel (including Jerusalem but not the West Bank and Gaza) is expected to reach 2.1 million by 2030.
  • Egypt, Algeria and Morocco currently have the largest Muslim populations in the Middle East-North Africa. By 2030, however, Iraq is expected to have the second-largest Muslim population in the region – exceeded only by Egypt – largely because Iraq has a higher fertility rate than Algeria or Morocco.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • The Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow by nearly 60% in the next 20 years, from 242.5 million in 2010 to 385.9 million in 2030. Because the region’s non- Muslim population also is growing at a rapid pace, Muslims are expected to make up only a slightly larger share of the region’s population in 2030 (31.0%) than they do in 2010 (29.6%).
  • Various surveys give differing figures for the size of religious groups in Nigeria, which appears to have roughly equal numbers of Muslims and Christians in 2010. By 2030, Nigeria is expected to have a slight Muslim majority (51.5%).

Europe

  • In 2030, Muslims are projected to make up more than 10% of the total population in 10 European countries: Kosovo (93.5%), Albania (83.2%), Bosnia-Herzegovina (42.7%), Republic of Macedonia (40.3%), Montenegro (21.5%), Bulgaria (15.7%), Russia (14.4%), Georgia (11.5%), France (10.3%) and Belgium (10.2%).
  • Russia will continue to have the largest Muslim population (in absolute numbers) in Europe in 2030. Its Muslim population is expected to rise from 16.4 million in 2010 to 18.6 million in 2030. The growth rate for the Muslim population in Russia is projected to be 0.6% annually over the next two decades. By contrast, Russia’s non-Muslim population is expected to shrink by an average of 0.6% annually over the same period.
  • France had an expected net influx of 66,000 Muslim immigrants in 2010, primarily from North Africa. Muslims comprised an estimated two-thirds (68.5%) of all new immigrants to France in the past year. Spain was expected to see a net gain of 70,000 Muslim immigrants in 2010, but they account for a much smaller portion of all new immigrants to Spain (13.1%). The U.K.’s net inflow of Muslim immigrants in the past year (nearly 64,000) was forecast to be nearly as large as France’s. More than a quarter (28.1%) of all new immigrants to the U.K. in 2010 are estimated to be Muslim.

The Americas

  • The number of Muslims in Canada is expected to nearly triple in the next 20 years, from about 940,000 in 2010 to nearly 2.7 million in 2030. Muslims are expected to make up 6.6% of Canada’s total population in 2030, up from 2.8% today. Argentina is expected to have the third-largest Muslim population in the Americas, after the U.S. and Canada. Argentina, with about 1 million Muslims in 2010, is now in second place, behind the U.S.
  • Children under age 15 make up a relatively small portion of the U.S. Muslim population today. Only 13.1% of Muslims are in the 0-14 age group. This reflects the fact that a large proportion of Muslims in the U.S. are newer immigrants who arrived as adults. But by 2030, many of these immigrants are expected to start families. If current trends continue, the number of U.S. Muslims under age 15 will more than triple, from fewer than 500,000 in 2010 to 1.8 million in2030. The number of Muslim children ages 0-4 living in the U.S. is expected to increase from fewer than 200,000 in 2010 to more than 650,000 in 2030.
  • About two-thirds of the Muslims in the U.S. today (64.5%) are first-generation immigrants (foreign-born), while slightly more than a third (35.5%) were born in the U.S. By 2030, however, more than four-in-ten of the Muslims in the U.S. (44.9%) are expected to be native-born.
  • The top countries of origin for Muslim immigrants to the U.S. in 2009 were Pakistan and Bangladesh. They are expected to remain the top countries of origin for Muslim immigrants to the U.S. in 2030.

About the Report

This report makes demographic projections. Projections are not the same as predictions. Rather, they are estimates built on current population data and assumptions about demographic trends; they are what will happen if the current data are accurate and the trends play out as expected. But many things – immigration laws, economic conditions, natural disasters, armed conflicts, scientific discoveries, social movements and political upheavals, to name just a few – can shift demographic trends in unforeseen ways, which is why this report adheres to a modest time frame, looking just 20 years down the road. Even so, there is no guarantee that Muslim populations will grow at precisely the rates anticipated in this report and not be affected by unforeseen events, such as political decisions on immigration quotas or national campaigns to encourage larger or smaller families.
The projections presented in this report are the medium figures in a range of three scenarios – high, medium and low – generated from models commonly used by demographers around the world to forecast changes in population size and composition. The models follow what is known as the cohort-component method, which starts with a baseline population (in this case, the current number of Muslims in each country) divided into groups, or cohorts, by age and sex. Each cohort is projected into the future by adding likely gains – new births and immigrants – and subtracting likely losses – deaths and emigrants. These calculations were made by the Pew Forum’s demographers, who collaborated with researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria on the projections for the United States and European countries. (For more details, see Appendix A: Methodology.)
The current population data that underpin this report were culled from the best sources available on Muslims in each of the 232 countries and territories for which the U.N. Population Division provides general population estimates. Many of these baseline statistics were published in the Pew Forum’s 2009 report, Mapping the Global Muslim Population, which acquired and analyzed about 1,500 sources of data – including census reports, large-scale demographic studies and general population surveys – to estimate the number of Muslims in every country and territory. (For a list of sources, see Appendix B: Data Sources by Country.) All of those estimates have been updated for 2010, and some have been substantially revised. (To find the current estimate and projections for a particular region or country, seeMuslim Population by  Country, 1990-2030.) Since many countries are conducting national censuses in 2010-11, more data is likely to emerge over the next few years, but a cut-off must be made at some point; this report is based on information available as of mid-2010. To the extent possible, the report provides data for decennial years – 1990, 2000, 2010, 2020 and 2030. In some cases, however, the time periods vary because data is available only for certain years or in five-year increments (e.g., 2010-15 or 2030-35).
The definition of Muslim in this report is very broad. The goal is to count all groups and individuals whoself-identify as Muslims. This includes Muslims who may be secular or nonobservant. No attempt is made in this report to measure how religious Muslims are or to forecast levels of religiosity (or secularism) in the decades ahead.2
The main factors, or inputs, in the population projections are:
  • Births (fertility rates) (details under)
  • Deaths (mortality rates)
  • Migration (emigration and immigration), and
  • The age structure of the population (the number of people in various age groups)
Related factors – which are not direct inputs into the projections but which underlie vital assumptions about the way Muslim fertility rates are changing and Muslim populations are shifting – include:
To fully understand the projections, one must understand these factors, which the next section of the report will discuss in more detail.
Readers can also explore an online, interactive feature that allows them to select a region or one of the 232 countries and territories – as well as a decade from 1990-2030 – and see the size of the Muslim population in that place and time.

Footnotes
1 The seven countries projected to rise above 1 million Muslims by 2030 are: Belgium, Canada, Congo, Djibouti, Guinea Bissau,Netherlands and Togo.(return to text)
2 In other reports, the Pew Forum and the Pew Research Center have used large-scale public opinion surveys to measure the beliefs and practices of many religious groups, including Muslims in several countries. See, for example,Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2010, and Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream, 2007. (return to text)


Fertility rates have fallen in most Muslim-majority countries in recent decades. Yet they remain, on average, higher than in the rest of the developing world and considerably higher than in more-developed countries. This is one of the main reasons that the global Muslim population is projected to rise both in absolute numbers and in relative terms, as a share of all the people in the world.
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Categories of Countries

For comparison purposes, this report provides demographic data on three types of countries:
Muslim-majority countries.
As of 2010, there are 49 countries in which Muslims comprise more than 50% of the population. All Muslim majority countries are in less-developed regions of the world, with the exception of Albania and Kosovo, which are in Europe.
Non-Muslim-majority countries in less developed regions.
These countries make up the rest of the “developing world”; they include all the developing, non-Muslim majority countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Central and South America (including the Caribbean).
Non-Muslim-majority countries in more developed regions.
This category is often described as the “developed world”; it includes all countries in Europe and North America, plus Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Taken as a whole, the world’s more-developed regions – including Europe, North America, Japan and Australia – have Total Fertility Rates (TFRs)3 below their replacement levels of about 2.1 children per woman, the minimum necessary to keep the population stable (absent other factors, such as immigration).4 Fertility rates in these more-developed nations are projected to rise slightly over the next 20 years but to remain, on average, well below replacement levels.
In non-Muslim-majority countries in less-developed regions – including all of Latin America, much of sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia – fertility rates have dropped in recent decades. They are projected to continue to drop, reaching or even falling below replacement levels in these developing countries as a whole in 2030-35.
In many Muslim-majority countries – including Indonesia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Turkey and Tunisia – fertility rates also have dropped substantially. The average Total Fertility Rate for all 49 Muslim-majority countries has fallen from 4.3 children per woman in 1990-95 to an estimated 2.9 children in 2010-15. Over the next 20 years, fertility rates in these Muslim-majority countries as a whole are expected to continue to decline, though not quite as steeply, dropping to 2.6 children per woman in 2020-25 and 2.3 children in 2030-35 – approaching and possibly reaching replacement levels.
If current trends continue, fertility rates in Muslim-majority countries eventually may converge with fertility rates in other developing countries and in the world’s more-developed regions. But complete convergence is not projected to occur in the next two decades, as the trend lines in the above graph shows.
Moreover, high fertility rates in the past create a certain demographic momentum. Due to previously high fertility, large numbers of Muslim youth and young adults are now in (or entering) their prime childbearing years, all but ensuring that relatively rapid population growth will continue in the next two decades, even if the number of births per woman goes down. (For details, see the Age Structure section.)
Among the reasons for declining fertility rates in both Muslim-majority and non-Muslim-majority countries are economic development and improved living standards, higher levels of education, people waiting until they are older to get married, growing urbanization and more extensive use of birth control. (See the Related Factors section for a discussion of how these factors affect the global Muslim population.)
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The overall trends in fertility, however, mask a considerable amount of variation from country to country. Among Muslim-majority countries, the highest Total Fertility Rates currently are found in Niger, Afghanistan and Somalia, where the average woman has more than six children during her lifetime. The lowest TFRs are in Iran (1.7) and Tunisia (1.8), which are well below replacement levels.
A final, cautionary note: The impact of religion on fertility rates is difficult to assess and remains a subject of debate. One should not assume, just because fertility tends to be higher in Muslim-majority countries than in other developing countries, that Islamic teachings are the reason. Cultural, social, economic, political, historical and other factors may play equal or greater roles.5 For example, many Muslims live in countries with higher-than-average rates of poverty, less-adequate health care, fewer educational opportunities and more-rural populations. All of these conditions are associated with higher fertility rates.
Islamic authorities in some countries, such as Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, reinforce cultural norms that limit women’s autonomy by, for example, restricting their educational and career options or making it difficult for women to initiate a divorce. These restrictions may contribute to higher fertility because there is strong evidence that Muslim women, like other women around the world, tend to delay marriage – and consequently childbirth – as they attain higher levels of education. (See the discussion of education.) In Nigeria, for example, Muslim women generally have lower literacy levels and marry at younger ages; not surprisingly, Muslims also have higher fertility rates than non-Muslims in Nigeria. (For more details, see the Spotlight on Nigeria). However, recent studies suggest that in a number of other countries, including India and Malaysia, measures of women’s status cannot explain differences in fertility between Muslims and non-Muslims.6
Women in Muslim-majority countries tend to marry at much younger ages than women in more-developed countries, but there is little difference between the average age of marriage in Muslim-majority countries and in other less-developed countries. According to a Pew Forum analysis of U.N. data, women in Muslim-majority countries marry, on average, at 21.6 years, compared with 22.0 years in non-Muslim-majority, less-developed countries and 26.2 years in more-developed countries.7
Family planning is another arena in which the role of religion is not as simple as it might seem. Islamic edicts generally have supported the use of birth control, and a number of Muslim-majority countries (including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey and Tunisia) have encouraged family planning programs. But many Muslims are either uneasy about contraceptives or do not have access to them, and women in Muslim-majority countries report using birth control at lower rates than women in other developing countries. In addition, many Muslim-majority countries forbid or strictly limit abortions. (See the discussion of contraception and family planning .)
There is also some evidence that across a variety of religious traditions, women who are more religious have higher fertility rates than less-religious women. This suggests that religiosity in general, rather than Islam in particular, may boost the number of children per woman.8 In short, Islamic beliefs may directly or indirectly influence the size of Muslim families, but religion does not operate in isolation from other forces; fertility rates appear to be driven by a complex mixture of cultural, social, economic, religious and other factors.

Footnotes
3 The standard measure of fertility in this report is the Total Fertility Rate, defined as the total number of children an average woman would have in her lifetime if fertility patterns did not change. The TFR is calculated by adding the birth rates among women in each age group in a particular country during a given period; in other words, it is a kind of snapshot of fertility patterns at one place and time.(return to text)
4 The replacement level varies depending on mortality rates and sex ratios at birth. In countries with a normal sex ratio at birth and relatively low infant and child mortality, a fertility rate of about 2.1 children per woman is sufficient to replenish the population. In some developing countries with high infant and child mortality, the replacement fertility rate is substantially greater than than 2.1 children per woman. Based on 2001 U.N. data, one study estimated the average replacement rate in Africa at 2.7 and the worldwide average at 2.3. See Thomas J. Espenshade, Juan Carlos Guzman and Charles F. Westoff, “The Surprising Global Variation in Replacement Fertility,” Population Research and Policy Review, Volume 22, Numbers 5-6, pages 575-583, December 2003. (return to text)
5 One study in West Africa, for example, found that in countries where Muslims are in the minority, they tend to have higher fertility than non-Muslims, while in countries in which Muslims are in the majority, they tend to have lower fertility than non- Muslims. “There is no single, coherent Muslim reproductive pattern: the real story is local,” the author asserts. See Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, “On the Politics and Practice of Muslim Fertility: Comparative Evidence from West Africa,” Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Volume 20, Number 1, pages 12-30, 2006.(return to text)
6 For instance, a study of Muslim and non-Muslim communities in India, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines found that the Muslim communities had more children per woman even though they did not score any lower on measures of women’s power or autonomy. See S. Philip Morgan, Sharon Stash, Herbert L. Smith and Karen Oppenheim Mason, “Muslim and Non-Muslim Differences in Female Autonomy and Fertility: Evidence from Four Asian Countries,”Population and Development Review, Volume 28, Number 3, pages 515-537, 2002.(return to text)
7 These figures are the average (mean) age of first marriage. They have been weighted by country populations so that more populous countries affect the average more than smaller countries.(return to text)
8 A 2007 study, for example, found that Muslim women in Europe who are highly religious are significantly more likely than less-religious Muslim women to have at least two children. See Charles F. Westoff and Tomas Frejka, “Religiousness and Fertility Among European Muslims,” Population and Development Review, Volume 33, Number 4, pages 785-809, December 2007. Other researchers have demonstrated the connection between fertility and religiosity in a variety of religious traditions. See, for example, Conrad Hackett, “Religion and Fertility in the United States: The Influence of Affiliation, Region, and Congregation,” Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Sociology and Office of Population Research, Princeton University, 2008; Sarah R. Hayford and S. Philip Morgan, “Religiosity and Fertility in the United States: The Role of Fertility Intentions,” Social Forces, Volume 86, Number 3, pages 1163-1188, March 2008; Evelyn Lehrer, “Religion as a Determinant of Marital Fertility,” Journal of Population Economics, Volume 9, Number 2, pages 173-196, 1996; and William D. Mosher, Linda B. Williams and David P. Johnson, “Religion and Fertility in the United States: New Patterns,” Demography, Volume 29, Number 2, pages 199-214, May 1992.(return to text)


Muslims are living much longer than they did just a generation ago. The average life expectancy at birth in Muslim-majority countries, which was 62 years in the five-year period 1990-95, is estimated to be 68 years in 2010-15.9 By 2030-35, life expectancy at birth in Muslim-majority countries is projected to reach 73 years, slightly surpassing life expectancy in other (non-Muslim-majority) developing countries. This is another reason for the growth of the global Muslim population in both absolute and relative terms.
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md2-8In more-developed countries, people tend to live considerably longer than in less-developed countries. In 2010-15, the average life expectancy in the world’s more-developed countries is estimated by the United Nations Population Division to be a full decade longer than in developing countries (78 years vs. 68 years). But life expectancy is rising in the developing world – including in countries with Muslim majorities – albeit from a lower base.
Between 1990-95 and 2010-15, the average gain in life expectancy in more-developed countries is estimated at four years (from 74 to 78). In less-developed countries where Muslims are in the minority, the gain is estimated to be five years (from 63 to 68). In Muslim-majority countries, it is estimated at seven years (from 62 to 68), when calculated from unrounded numbers.
A similar pattern is projected in the decades to come. Life expectancy is projected to rise by three years in more-developed countries (from 78 to 81), by four years in less-developed countries that do not have Muslim majorities (from 68 to 72) and by four years (when calculated from unrounded numbers) in Muslim-majority countries (from 68 to 73). The differences in the rate of improvement are small; the key point is that life expectancy at birth is rising across the board.
Behind the gains in longevity are numerous factors, including better health care, improved nutrition, rising incomes and infrastructure development. One measure of health care quality, for example, is the percentage of births attended by skilled health professionals. This indicator has improved dramatically in Muslim-majority countries, rising from an average of about 47% of all births in the 1990s to roughly 63% of all births in 2000 to 2008, a 16-percentage-point gain, according to the Pew Forum’s analysis of data from the World Health Organization. In developing countries where Muslims are in the minority, by contrast, the percentage of births attended by skilled health professionals rose by just five percentage points during this period, from about 68% in the 1990s to almost 73% in 2000-08. And, statistically speaking, virtually no improvement was possible in more-developed nations, where 99% of births already were attended by skilled health professionals in the 1990s.
To see how infrastructure development contributes to rising life expectancy in Muslim-majority countries, one might look, for example, at access to clean drinking water, which is less likely to carry diseases. Muslim-majority countries with better access to improved (i.e., clean) drinking water have longer life expectancies. For instance, the average life expectancy in the six countries whose residents have the most access to improved drinking water is more than 70 years, compared with less than 55 years in the five Muslim-majority countries where access to clean drinking water is least common.
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Improved health care, better access to clean drinking water and many other gains in infrastructure development, living standards and nutrition have resulted in sharp declines in infant mortality rates in developing countries in general and Muslim-majority countries in particular. The decline in infant mortality, in turn, is one of the main factors driving up life expectancy at birth.
Between 1990-95 and 2010-15, the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births is projected to drop by about 31 in Muslim-majority countries, by almost 17 in other less-developed countries and by almost five in more-developed countries. By 2020-25, Muslim-majority countries are expected to close the remaining gap and have infant mortality rates no higher than in non- Muslim-majority developing countries.
Yet, despite such dramatic improvements, there is enormous variation among Muslim-majority countries in both infant mortality rates and life expectancy at birth. In Afghanistan, for example, the infant mortality rate is 147 deaths per 1,000 live births – the highest in the world and nearly four times the global average of 33 per 1,000, according to U.N. figures – while average life expectancy at birth is just 45 years. By contrast, infant mortality rates in Brunei, Mayotte, Bahrain, Malaysia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are about the same as those found in more-developed nations, and average life expectancy at birth is 75 years or more.
Declining infant mortality rates and increased life expectancies mean that Muslim-majority countries will have more children surviving into adulthood as well as growing numbers of elderly people in the next two decades, as discussed in the Age Structure section.
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Footnotes
9 Life expectancy at birth is the average number of years a newborn would be expected to live if health and living conditions at the time of his/her birth remained the same throughout his/her life.(return to text)

On average, more people are leaving Muslim-majority countries than migrating to them. Although the rate of people leaving has declined significantly since 1990-95, Muslim-majority countries are still losing part of their populations to emigration, and that trend is projected to continue over the next 20 years, as the chart below shows.
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The migration of people from Muslim-majority countries to more-developed countries is one of the main reasons that both the number and the percentage of Muslims are projected to rise in Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia. (The regional impacts are discussed in greater detail in theregional sections.)
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By 2030-35, Muslim-majority countries as a whole are projected to have average annual losses of 47 people per 100,000 population, down from net losses of 81 people annually in 2010-15. As recently as 1990-95, Muslim-majority countries were losing many more people – an average of 160 a year per 100,000.
More-developed nations in Europe, North America and elsewhere are likely to remain important destinations for immigrants from Muslim-majority countries (as well as from other less-developed countries) in the next 20 years. Annual net migration to more-developed nations is expected to be fairly stable over the next two decades. By 2030-35, more developed countries are projected to have annual average gains of 182 people per 100,000 population, down from 200 per 100,000 in 2010-15.
If economic conditions in developing countries – including Muslim-majority countries – continue to improve, there will be less motivation, or “push” factors, encouraging emigration. Likewise, if economic conditions in more-developed countries worsen, there will be fewer “pull” factors attracting new immigrants, including temporary workers.
Of course, not all people who immigrate to the more-developed world from Muslim-majority countries are Muslims. Studies show that religious minorities – such as Christians living in majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East – sometimes emigrate in larger proportions than religious majorities.10 In addition, there is movement from one Muslim-majority country to another. Many immigrants to the Gulf region, for example, are from other Muslim-majority countries, and a substantial amount of internal migration occurs within the Middle East, as people move in search of employment and to escape conflicts.
In short, there is a net flow of migrants from Muslim-majority countries to countries in more developed regions, such as Europe and North America, but Muslims also are moving in other directions, including into the Gulf states, which now have net inflows of migrants.

Footnotes
10 For example, the 2008 World Refugee Survey, conducted by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, found that of the approximately 1.3 million refugees from the Iraq War living in Syria, fewer than 75% were Muslim, although Iraq is nearly 99% Muslim. In addition, data from the 2003 New Immigrant Survey indicate that the proportion of Muslim immigrants to the United States from many Muslim-majority countries is lower than the proportion of Muslims in those countries. Immigrants to the U.S. from Iran, for example, were about 50% Muslim, while Iran’s population as a whole is more than 99% Muslim.(return to text)



Generally speaking, Muslim-majority countries have very youthful populations. As of 2010, people under age 30 make up about 60% of the total population of Muslim-majority countries. By contrast, only about a third of all people living in the world’s more-developed regions, such as Europe and North America, are under 30. The comparatively large number of Muslims who are in or entering their prime childbearing years is another reason for the projected growth of the world’s Muslim population.
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When a country has a large percentage of people in their prime reproductive years, it gathers a kind of demographic momentum: Because many women are having babies, the population may grow rapidly even if the number of babies per woman (the fertility rate) is not especially high. Moreover, this momentum can last for generations, as the children born in one generation reach adulthood and begin having families of their own. Even when fertility rates are falling – as is the case in many Muslim-majority countries – the momentum may take more than one generation to dissipate.
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As a result of high fertility in the past, Muslim-majority countries clearly have such demographic momentum today. Women between ages 15 and 29 – those who are in or soon will enter their prime childbearing years – make up 14% of the total population in Muslim-majority countries, compared with 13% in non-Muslim-majority developing countries and 10% in more-developed countries.
More generally, people under age 30 of both sexes comprise about 60% of the population in Muslim-majority countries, compared with about 54% in non-Muslim-majority developing countries and almost 35% in more-developed countries. And Muslim-majority countries are projected to remain relatively youthful during the coming two decades. In 2030, more than 50% of the population in Muslim-majority countries is expected to be under 30, compared with almost 46% in non-Muslim-majority developing countries and almost 31% in countries in more-developed regions.
Indeed, by 2030, there will be more than 540 million Muslim youth and young adults (ages 15-29) around the world, representing nearly three-in-ten (29.1%) of the projected total of 1.9 billion people in that age group, up from 25.8% in 2010 and 20.0% in 1990.
Yet, notwithstanding the high percentage of youth and young adults in Muslim-majority countries, the global Muslim population as a whole is aging as fertility rates drop (meaning that fewer babies are born per woman) and as life expectancy rises (meaning that more people are living into old age). This is reflected in the median age in Muslim-majority countries, which has climbed from 19 to 24 over the past two decades and is projected to reach 30 in 2030.
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The graph above captures the fact that the world population, as a whole, is aging. The median age – the point at which half the people in a given population are older and half are younger – is rising in Muslim-majority countries, but so are the median ages in non-Muslim-majority, less-developed countries and in more-developed countries. This explains how it is possible for the world’s Muslims to be aging and yet to remain very youthful compared with non-Muslims.
The so-called Muslim youth bulge – the high proportion of youth and young adults in many heavily Muslim societies – has attracted considerable attention from political scientists.11 Less notice has been paid to the fact that the Muslim youth bulge peaked around the start of the 21st century and is now gradually declining as the Muslim population ages. The percentage of 15- to 29-year-olds in Muslim-majority countries rose slightly between 1990 and 2000 (from 27.5% to 28.8%) but has since dipped slightly to 28.5% and is projected to continue to decline to 24.4% in 2030. While this is not a large drop, it means that the proportion of youth and young adults in many Muslim-majority countries has reached a plateau or begun to fall.
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As the youth bulge moves along, the portion of the population in Muslim-majority countries between ages 30 and 44 is projected to remain fairly stable or rise slightly, from 20.2% in 2010 to 21.4% in 2030. In Muslim-majority countries, people ages 45-59 are expected to rise from 12.1% today to 16.3% in 2030.
The fastest growth of all, in percentage terms, will be among people age 60 and older, who are expected to make up 11.9% of the population in Muslim-majority countries as a whole in 2030, up from 7.3% in 2010.
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Yet the percentage of the population age 60 and older will remain somewhat higher in non- Muslim-majority, less-developed countries and dramatically higher in more-developed countries, where a third of the population will be 60 and older in 2030.
Some Muslim-majority countries already have considerably older populations than others. The highest median ages at present are found in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Albania. The lowest are in Niger, Burkina Faso, Afghanistan and Chad.
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In 2010, the Muslim-majority countries with the highest portion of people age 60 and older are Albania, Lebanon, Kazakhstan and Tunisia. Albania will still be at the top of the list in 2030. By that year, nearly a quarter of Albania’s population (24.0%) is expected to be age 60 or older, mirroring trends in Europe as a whole.
In 2030, the Muslim-majority countries with the highest proportion of youth and young adults (ages 15-29) will be Burkina Faso, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Mali, where about three-in-ten will be in that age group.
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Footnotes
11 See, for example, Graham E. Fuller, “The Youth Factor: The New Demographics of the Middle East and the Implications for U.S. Policy,” The Brookings Institution, 2003,http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2003/06middleeast_fuller.aspx; and Jack A. Goldstone, “The New Population Bomb,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2010, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65735/jack-a-goldstone/ the-new-population-bomb.(return to text)

Related factors – which are not direct inputs into the projections but which underlie vital assumptions about the way Muslim fertility rates are changing and Muslim populations are shifting – include:



The following factors are not direct inputs into the projections, but they underlie vital assumptions about the way Muslim fertility rates are changing and Muslim populations are shifting.

Education

As in the rest of the world, fertility rates in countries with Muslim-majority populations are directly related to educational attainment.Read More...

Economic Well-Being

In Muslim-majority countries, as in many other countries, low economic standards of living are associated with rapid population growth. Read More...

Contraception and Family Planning

Use of birth control is significantly lower in Muslim-majority countries than in many other countries, due to more recent adoption of family planning practices, among other factors. This directly contributes to higher fertility in Muslim-majority countries. Read More...

Urbanization

Slightly more than half of residents of Muslim-majority countries live in rural communities, but they are moving to cities and towns at a faster rate than the populations in other countries of the world, many of which are already heavily urbanized. Read More...

Conversion

Statistical data on conversion to and from Islam are scarce. What little information is available suggests that there is no substantial net gain or loss in the number of Muslims through conversion globally; the number of people who become Muslims through conversion seems to be roughly equal to the number of Muslims who leave the faith. Read More...

As in the rest of the world, fertility rates in countries with Muslim-majority populations are directly related to educational attainment. Women tend to delay childbearing when they attain higher levels of education. As Muslim women continue to receive more education, their fertility rates are projected to decline.
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The relationship between educational attainment and fertility rates is shown in the scatter plot below. Niger, for example, has an extremely high Total Fertility Rate (an average of 6.9 children per woman), and a girl born there today can expect to receive an average of just four years of schooling in her lifetime. In Libya, by contrast, a girl born today can expect to receive an average of 17 years of education, and the country’s fertility rate is 2.5 children per woman.
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The eight Muslim-majority countries where girls can expect to receive the fewest years of schooling have an average Total Fertility Rate of 5.0 children per woman. That is more than double the average rate (2.3 children per woman) in the nine Muslim-majority countries where girls can expect to receive the most years of schooling.
One exception is the Palestinian territories, which has a relatively high fertility rate (4.5 children per woman) although a girl born there today can expect to receive 14 years of education, on average.12

Footnotes
12 The continuation of high fertility despite high education levels among Palestinians has been described as a demographic puzzle. The reasons for it are not entirely clear. Partly, it may reflect the persistence of traditional attitudes in Gaza; studies suggest that fertility has started to drop in the West Bank but not in Gaza. Some studies also find that highly educated Palestinian women are more likely than those who are less-educated to remain single but that married Palestinians tend to have similar numbers of children regardless of their educational level. Some commentators have suggested that high Palestinian birth rates may have a political basis as “weapons against occupation.” But a study of fertility patterns among Palestinians in different political settings does not support this “political fertility” hypothesis. See Marwan Khawaja, “The Fertility of Palestinian Women in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon,” Population-E, Volume 58, Number 3, pages 273-302, 2003.(return to text)

In Muslim-majority countries, as in many other countries, low economic standards of living are associated with rapid population growth.
In general, among the 24 Muslim-majority countries for which data are available from the U.N., the more people who live in poverty, the higher the national fertility rate, as the scatter plot below illustrates. The reverse is also true: As living standards rise, fertility rates tend to drop.
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There are a number of reasons why fertility tends to be higher in poor countries. In agricultural societies, high fertility may be related to the desire of families to have more workers. In countries with poor health care infrastructures, families need to have more children to offset high child mortality rates. And in less-developed countries, parents may be more likely to see additional children as wealth-producing resources rather than as wealth-draining obligations.
The 10 Muslim-majority countries with the highest percentages of people living below the poverty line (as defined by each country) are projected to have an average Total Fertility Rate of 4.5 children per woman. That is nearly double the average projected rate (2.4 children per woman) in the 10 Muslim-majority countries with the lowest percentages of people living below the poverty line.
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At present, Muslim-majority countries overall are among the poorest in the world, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in U.S. dollars adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP).13Their median GDP per capita of $4,000 is substantially lower than the median for more-developed countries ($33,700) and just slightly higher than the median for less-developed countries where Muslims are in the minority ($3,300).
However, the median GDP per capita figure for all Muslim-majority countries masks an enormous amount of variation from country to country and region to region. For instance, the median GDP per capita in Muslim-majority countries in Middle East-North Africa is $6,000, compared with roughly $1,200 in Muslim-majority countries in sub-Saharan Africa.14 And some oil-rich countries with Muslim majorities, particularly the Gulf states, have median GDPs per capita that are higher than that of the United States.
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Three of the 10 nations with the world’s highest GDPs per capita are Muslim-majority countries (Qatar, Kuwait and Brunei), but three of the 10 countries with the world’s lowest GDPs per capita also are Muslim-majority countries (Afghanistan, Niger and Somalia).
Although fertility rates in the wealthiest Muslim-majority countries tend to be lower than in other Muslim-majority countries, they still are higher than in many of the world’s wealthiest non-Muslim-majority countries.

Footnotes
13 After per capita GDP figures are adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), they reflect the value of goods and services produced by each country in one year at a comparable rate in the United States so that comparisons from country to country are more accurate.(return to text)
14 Median GDP per capita is weighted by country populations so that more populous countries affect the average more than smaller countries.(return to text)


Use of birth control is significantly lower in Muslim-majority countries than in many other countries, due to more recent adoption of family planning practices, among other factors. This directly contributes to higher fertility in Muslim-majority countries.
Fewer than half of married women ages 15-49 in Muslim-majority countries (47.8%) use any method of birth control. By comparison, 63.3% of married women in the same age group who live in non-Muslim-majority, less-developed countries and 68.5% of those living in moredeveloped countries use some form of birth control. Moreover, the proportion of married women ages 15-49 who use modern methods of contraception (devices or procedures such as condoms, birth control pills, spermicidal foams, intrauterine devices and tubal ligations) is much lower in Muslim-majority countries (39.4%) than in non-Muslim-majority countries (about 58%).
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Notwithstanding these differences, use of birth control has become a more accepted practice in Muslim-majority countries since the 1990s, contributing to the decline in fertility rates in many of these countries.15
In the 44 Muslim-majority countries for which data on use of birth control are available, 20 report that half or more of married women ages 15-49 practice some form of birth control.
Ten of the 44 countries – Albania, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – report a rate of birth control usage of 60% or more. Topping the list is Iran, where 73% of married women ages 15-49 say they use some form of birth control, the same as in the United States (73%) and substantially higher than the world average for use of birth control among married women ages 15-49 (61%), according to analysis of a 2009 report by the United Nations Population Fund.16
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In addition to the 20 countries that report a 50% or higher rate of birth control use, 11 other Muslim-majority countries report moderate rates of use among married women (between 20% and 49%). Thirteen countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, report fairly low rates of birth control use among married women (less than 20%).
As the scatter plot on the opposite page shows, use of birth control is strongly correlated with the fertility rate in each country. At one extreme, Muslim-majority countries in sub-Saharan Africa have lower rates of birth control and higher fertility rates. At the other extreme, most Muslim-majority countries in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East-North Africa, as well as Albania in Europe, have higher rates of birth control and lower fertility.
Some Muslim-majority countries, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey and Tunisia, have had family planning programs for several decades, but use of modern forms of birth control did not proliferate until the 1990s. Today, birth control is legal and available in most Muslim-majority countries, and many have government-supported family planning programs.
While some Muslims oppose family planning for political and social reasons, religious authorities generally have held that Islam does not prohibit the use of birth control. Indeed, a number of Islamic jurists have endorsed birth control for the health of the mother and the economic well-being of the family, often citing a verse from the Koran that states: “Allah desires for you ease; He desires no hardship for you.”17

A Note on Abortion

Many Muslim-majority countries do not collect or do not publish data on the frequency of abortions. The partial data that are available do not allow for reliable comparisons of abortion rates in Muslim-majority countries with abortion rates in other countries. However, many Muslim-majority countries either forbid abortions or allow them only under tight restrictions.
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Footnotes
15 Studies have found that access to television and other forms of mass media plays a role in social change, including the acceptance of contraception. See, for example, Charles F. Westoff and Akinrinola Bankole, “Mass Media and Reproductive Behavior in Africa,” DHS Analytical Report No. 2, 1997,http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pub_details.cfm?ID=3, and Charles F. Westoff and Akinrinola Bankole, “Mass Media and Reproductive Behavior in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh,” DHS Analytical Report No. 10, 1999,http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pub_details.cfm?ID=2. There also is a strong correlation between use of birth control and access to the internet. For example, in the 10 Muslim-majority countries whose populations have the most access to the internet, more than half of married women of reproductive age, on average, use birth control, and the average Total Fertility Rate is 2.1 children per woman. By comparison, in the 10 Muslim-majority countries whose populations have the least access to the internet, only about one-in-five married women of reproductive age use birth control, and the average Total Fertility Rate is more than twice as high (five children per woman).(return to text)
16 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2009, World Contraceptive Use 2009.(return to text)
17 Sura 2:185. See Population Reference Bureau, Islam and Family Planning, MEN A Policy Brief, 2004. For a discussion of the Islamic scholarly consensus in favor of allowing birth control, see Gavin W. Jones and Mehtab S. Karim, Islam, the State and Population, Hearst & Co., 2005.(return to text)


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Related Factors: Urbanization

Slightly more than half of residents of Muslim-majority countries live in rural communities, but they are moving to cities and towns at a faster rate than the populations in other countries of the world, many of which are already heavily urbanized. Because urban dwellers generally have fewer children than people in rural areas, this trend is a contributing factor in the overall decline in fertility rates among Muslims.
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In general among Muslim-majority countries, there is an association between urbanization and fertility: the higher the portion of the population living in cities and towns, the lower the national fertility rate.
This pattern may be seen even more clearly by comparing fertility rates in the countries with the highest and lowest percentages of people living in urban areas. In the 10 least-urbanized Muslim-majority countries, the average Total Fertility Rate is twice as high (4.8 children per woman) as the average in the 10 most-urbanized Muslim-majority countries (2.4 children per woman).
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The relationship between urban populations and fertility rates, however, is complex. It can be thought of as a two-stage process (though, in reality, the stages may overlap). First, high fertility rates lead to rapid urban growth as children from large families in rural communities tend to move to cities and towns in search of better economic opportunities. Then, the new urban dwellers gradually adopt the lower fertility patterns characteristic of urban centers, thereby reducing the future number of children.
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Many Muslim-majority countries are still in the first stage of this process. They have largely rural populations but very rapidly growing cities and towns. About 48% of the total population in Muslim-majority countries lived in urban areas in 2009, and the average annual urban growth rate in 2005-10 in these countries was 3.1%.18 By comparison, in non-Muslim-majority, less-developed countries, 44% of people lived in cities and towns, and the urban growth rate was 2.7%. In more-developed countries, 75% of the population lived in cities and towns, and the urban growth rate was 0.6%.
One reason for a higher rate of urban growth in Muslim-majority countries is the relatively high fertility rate among rural Muslims. Muslim-majority countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which tend to have very high fertility rates, currently have the highest rates of urban growth, an average of 4.2% annually. By contrast, Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East-North Africa and in Asia-Pacific, which tend to have lower fertility rates, also have lower urban growth rates (2.9% and 3.0%, respectively). (For details on fertility see sub-Saharan AfricaMiddle East-North Africa and Asia-Pacific.)
The 12 Muslim-majority countries with the highest annual urban growth rates have much higher fertility rates, on average, than the 12 Muslim-majority countries with the lowest annual urban growth rates (4.6 vs. 2.3 children per woman). Qatar is an exception. Being a relatively small and wealthy country, it has a substantial number of immigrants moving to urban areas in search of employment.
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Footnotes
18 For the purposes of this report, a country’s level of urbanization is defined as the percentage of its total population that lives in cities and towns. The urban growth rate is a different measure; it is the average annual increase in the number of urban residents. Thus, a country that is largely rural but with fast-growing cities and towns may be described as having a low degree of urbanization but a high rate of urban growth.(return to text)


Statistical data on conversion to and from Islam are scarce. What little information is available suggests that there is no substantial net gain or loss in the number of Muslims through conversion globally; the number of people who become Muslims through conversion seems to be roughly equal to the number of Muslims who leave the faith. As a result, this report does not include any estimated future rate of conversions as a direct factor in the projections of Muslim population growth.
Indirectly, however, conversions may affect the projections because people who have converted to or from Islam are included – even if they are not counted separately – in numerous censuses and surveys used to estimate the size of the global Muslim population in 1990, 2000 and 2010.
There are a number of reasons why reliable data on conversions are hard to come by. Some national censuses ask people about their religion, but they do not directly ask whether people have converted to their present faith. A few cross-national surveys do contain questions about religious switching, but even in those surveys, it is difficult to assess whether more people leave Islam than enter the faith. In some countries, legal and social consequences make conversion difficult, and survey respondents may be reluctant to speak honestly about the topic. Additionally, for many Muslims, Islam is not just a religion but an ethnic or cultural identity that does not depend on whether a person actively practices the faith. This means that even nonpracticing or secular Muslims may still consider themselves, and be viewed by their neighbors, as Muslims.
The limited information on conversion indicates that there is some movement both into and out of Islam but that there is no major net gain or loss. For instance, the Pew Forum’s survey of 19 nations in sub-Saharan Africa, conducted in 2009, found that neither Christianity nor Islam is growing significantly at the expense of the other through religious conversion in those countries.19 Uganda was the only country surveyed where the number of people who identified themselves as Muslim was significantly different than the number of people who said they were raised Muslim: 18% of Ugandans surveyed said they were raised Muslim, while 13% now describe themselves as Muslim, a net loss of five percentage points. In every other sub-Saharan Africa country surveyed, the number of people who are currently Muslim is roughly equivalent to the number saying they were raised as Muslims. This does not mean that there is no religious switching taking place. Rather, it indicates that the number of people becoming Muslim is roughly offset by the number of people leaving Islam.
The Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted in 2007, found a similar pattern in the United States. In that survey, the number of respondents who described themselves as Muslim was roughly the same as the number who said they were raised as Muslims, and the portion of all U.S. adults who have converted either to or from Islam was less than three-tenths of 1 percent (>0.3%). Due to the relatively small number of Muslims in the nationally representative survey sample, however, it was not possible to calculate a precise retention rate for the Islamic faith in the U.S.20
An independent study published in 2010 that examined patterns of religious conversion among various faiths in 40 countries, mainly in Europe, also found that the number of people who were raised Muslim in those countries, as a whole, roughly equaled the number who currently are Muslim. But the sample sizes for Muslims were so small that the results cannot reliably predict Muslim conversion trends.21

Footnotes
19 Results from the survey are published in the Pew Forum’s April 2010 report Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa.(return to text)
20 Because Muslims currently constitute less than 1% of the U.S. adult population, even such large studies as theU.S. Religious Landscape Survey include relatively few Muslim respondents in their representative national samples. Of the more than 35,000 respondents in the Landscape Survey, only 90 said they were raised as Muslims. That number is too small to allow reliable conclusions about the percentage of Americans who leave Islam after being raised in the faith.(return to text)
21 See Robert Barro, Jason Hwang and Rachel McCleary, “Religious Conversion in 40 Countries,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 49, Number 1, pages 15-36, March 2010. This analysis of patterns of religious conversion among people age 30 and older found little evidence of a significant pattern of conversion to Islam in 40 countries where Islam is a minority religion. However, the country surveys were not designed specifically to study Muslim conversion and had too small a sample of Muslims in each country to draw firm conclusions. The most noticeable pattern of conversion across the 40 countries is movement from having some religious affiliation to having no reported religious affiliation. The cross-national surveys analyzed were conducted in 1991, 1998 and 2001. Overall, less than 1% of all the people surveyed identified as Muslim, according to the authors.(return to text)




This section of the report looks at the future of the Muslim population in five regions of the world – Asia-Pacific, the Middle East-North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the Americas. Each chapter begins with an overview of the growth patterns among Muslims in the region as a whole. The chapters then present population projections for Muslims at the sub-regional- and country-level.22 The chapters also examine the factors that are influencing the growth of the Muslim population in the various regions, including trends in fertility, life expectancy, migration and age structure. When appropriate, the chapters highlight the situation in countries of special interest.
The five regions are presented in descending order of Muslim population, with the region with the highest number of Muslims (Asia-Pacific) appearing first and the region with the lowest number of Muslims (the Americas) appearing last.
Over the next 20 years, the portion of the world’s Muslims living in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to decline, from 62.1% in 2010 to 59.2% in 2030. The portion of the world’s Muslims living in sub-Saharan Africa will rise, from 15% in 2010 to 17.6% in 2030. The share of the world’s Muslims living in the Middle East-North Africa, Europe and the Americas is expected to remain roughly the same. (See the Executive Summary.)

Asia-Pacific

The number of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region – which, for purposes of this report, includes not only East Asian countries such as China but also countries as far west as Turkey – is projected to increase from about 1 billion in 2010 to about 1.3 billion in 2030. Read More...

Middle East-North Africa

The Muslim population in the Middle East-North Africa region is expected to grow by more than a third (37%) in the next 20 years. Read More...

Sub-Saharan Africa

The Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow by nearly 60% in the next 20 years, from 242.5 million in 2010 to 385.9 million in 2030. Read More...

Europe

The number of Muslims in Europe has grown from 29.6 million in 1990 to 44.1 million in 2010.34 Europe’s Muslim population is projected to exceed 58 million by 2030. Read More...

Americas

The number of Muslims in the 51 countries in the Americas is projected to more than double in the next 20 years, from 5.3 million in 2010 to 10.9 million in 2030. Nevertheless, Muslims will remain a small minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 1.0% of the population in 2030, compared with 0.6% in 2010. Read More...

Footnotes
22 In charts and tables throughout this report, “countries” is used loosely to refer both to sovereign nations and to a variety of territories and protectorates. No judgment on their legal status is intended.(return to text)



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The number of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region – which, for purposes of this report, includes not only East Asian countries such as China but also countries as far west as Turkey – is projected to increase from about 1 billion in 2010 to about 1.3 billion in 2030. Nearly three in- ten people living in the Asia-Pacific region in 2030 (27.3%) will be Muslim, up from about a quarter in 2010 (24.8%) and roughly a fifth in 1990 (21.6%).
More than half of the world’s Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the region’s share of the global Muslim population is projected to decline somewhat in the next 20 years, from 62.1% in 2010 to 59.2% in 2030. This is because the Muslim population in Asia-Pacific is not growing as fast as the Muslim population in some other regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East-North Africa.
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The number of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at a slower pace in the next two decades than it did in the previous two decades. From 1990 to 2010, the number of Muslims in the region increased by 332.2 million. The number is projected to increase by 290.1 million in the next 20 years.
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Although Muslim population growth in the region is slowing, it is expected to remain significantly higher than the annual rate of growth of the non-Muslim population in the region. Thus, the Muslim population in the Asia-Pacific region is projected to rise both in absolute numbers and in relative terms, as a share of the region’s total population.

Sub-Regions and Countries in the Asia-Pacific Region

Sub-Regions in Asia-Pacific
More than half of the Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region live in South Asia, which includes three of the five countries in the world with the largest Muslim populations: Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The rest of the Muslim population in the region is largely divided between Southeast-East Asia, which includes Indonesia, Malaysia and China, and Central-Western Asia, which includes Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. Far fewer Muslims live in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the Pacific, which includes many small, island nations.23
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The Muslim population in South Asia is projected to increase by 176.5 million, from 507.3 million in 2010 to 683.8 million in 2030. Muslims are expected to make up a third of the population of South Asia in 2030 (33.9%), up from 31.4% in 2010 and 28.1% in 1990.
Southeast-East Asia has about half as many Muslims as South Asia. The number of Muslims in Southeast-East Asia is projected to increase by about 49.5 million, from 257.7 million in 2010 to 307.3 million in 2030. Muslims are expected to make up a slightly larger share of the population of the Southeast-East Asia sub-region as a whole in 2030 (12.9%) than in 2010 (12%) or 1990 (10.6%).23
The Muslim population in Central-Western Asia is expected to grow by 63.7 million, from 240 million in 2010 to 303.7 million in 2030. While this sub-region has fewer Muslims than South Asia or Southeast-East Asia, Muslims make up a much larger share of the population. Indeed, more than nine-in-ten people living in Central-Western Asia are Muslim; this percentage is projected to increase slightly over the next 20 years, to 95.2% in 2030 compared with 94.4% in 2010.
Relatively few Muslims live in Australia, New Zealand and other countries in the Pacific sub-region. But the combined number of Muslims in these 24 countries is expected to increase by about 76% in the next 20 years, from 503,000 to 885,000.
Countries in Asia-Pacific
Six of the 10 countries in the world that have the largest number of Muslims in 2010 are in the Asia-Pacific region: Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey. All six are expected to remain in the top 10 in 2030.

Spotlight on China:

Muslims make up about 2% of the population in China, but because the country is so populous, its Muslim population is expected to be the 19th largest in the world in 2030.
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By 2030, however, Pakistan is expected to surpass Indonesia as the country with the single largest Muslim population in the world.24 Pakistan’s Muslim population is projected to increase by 78.0 million, from 178.1 million in 2010 to 256.1 million in 2030. Indonesia’s Muslim population is forecast to grow by 34.0 million, from 204.8 million to 238.8 million. Like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are also each projected to have larger increases in the number of Muslims than Indonesia from 2010 to 2030.
Indonesia’s projected drop from the No. 1 spot is due in part to its declining fertility rate, which is expected to be 2.0 in 2010-15. In Pakistan, by contrast, the fertility rate among Muslim women remains relatively high (an estimated average of 3.6 children per woman in 2010-15), which is one factor driving the expected surge in its Muslim population.
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India is expected to have nearly as many Muslims as Indonesia by 2030. India’s Muslim population is projected to grow by nearly 60 million, from 177.3 million in 2010 to 236.2 million in 2030. This would be the second-largest projected increase in the number of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region; Pakistan is the only country in the region expected to have a larger increase. (For more information on India, see sidebar.)
In Bangladesh, the Muslim population is expected to grow by nearly 39 million, from 148.6 million to 187.5 million. Bangladesh now has the fourth-largest Muslim population in the world and in the Asia-Pacific region; it is expected to remain in the fourth spot in 2030.
Iran and Turkey are each expected to add roughly 15 million Muslims to their populations in the next 20 years. Iran’s Muslim population is forecast to grow from 74.8 million in 2010 to 89.6 million in 2030. Turkey’s Muslim population is expected to increase from 74.7 million to 89.1 million.
Afghanistan has a much smaller Muslim population than either Iran or Turkey, but the number of Muslims in Afghanistan is expected to increase by almost 74% in the next 20 years, from 29 million in 2010 to 50.5 million in 2030.
While most people living in Afghanistan are Muslim, Muslims live as minorities in some of the Asia-Pacific countries that are projected to have the greatest proportional increases in the size of their Muslim populations, including New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines. The Muslim population in New Zealand is expected to grow by nearly 150%, from about 41,000 in 2010 to about 101,000 in 2030. By contrast, the country’s non-Muslim population is expected to increase by about 14% during this period.

Spotlight on India:

India is projected to have the third-largest Muslim population (in absolute numbers) in the world by 2030, following Pakistan and Indonesia.
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In Australia, the Muslim population is forecast to grow by nearly 80%, from approximately 399,000 to 714,000, while the non-Muslim population is projected to increase by roughly 18%. The Muslim population of the Philippines is projected to increase by about 50%, from 4.7 million in 2010 to about 7.1 million in 2030, while the non-Muslim population is expected to grow by roughly 32%, from 88.9 million to 117.3 million.
With few exceptions, there is not expected to be much change among the Asia-Pacific countries in the percentage of their populations that is Muslim. Kyrgyzstan, in Central- Western Asia, is projected to have the biggest increase. Nearly 94% of its population is expected to be Muslim in 2030, up from about 89% in 2010. As noted in the sidebar on page 76, the percentage of India’s population that is Muslim is expected to increase from 14.6% in 2010 to 15.9% in 2030.
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Fertility

Fertility rates have fallen in most of the Muslim-majority countries in the Asia-Pacific region in recent decades. Yet they remain, on average, somewhat higher than in other less-developed countries in the region and considerably higher than in more-developed Asia-Pacific countries. This is one of the main reasons that the Muslim population is projected to rise both in absolute numbers and as a share of the region’s population.
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The Asia-Pacific countries classified as more-developed – including Japan, Australia and New Zealand – already have fertility rates significantly below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman, the minimum necessary to keep the population stable (absent other factors, such as immigration).25 In the Asia-Pacific countries with Muslim majorities – including Indonesia, Iran, Turkey and Malaysia – the average Total Fertility Rate (the total number of children an average woman would have in her lifetime if fertility patterns did not change) has dropped substantially, as shown in the graph on page 79. By 2030, it is projected to reach 2.1 children per woman, which is at or below replacement levels in those countries. However, the rate for Muslim-majority countries in the region is still expected to be somewhat higher than the rate for other developing countries in the region (1.9 children per woman in 2030-35).
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Among the Muslim-majority countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the highest total fertility rate is in Afghanistan, where the average woman has more than six children during her lifetime. The lowest rate among Muslim-majority countries in the region is in Iran, where the Total Fertility Rate is 1.7 children per woman.

Life Expectancy at Birth

Life expectancy at birth for Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region has been steadily increasing.26 From 1990-95 to 2010-15, average life expectancy at birth in the Muslim-majority countries in the region is expected to rise from 62 to 69; by 2030-35, it is projected to be 74 – the same as for other less-developed countries in the region. However, average life expectancy at birth in the more-developed countries in the region is expected to be 85 – more than a decade longer than in Muslim-majority and other less-developed countries in the region.
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Brunei has the highest life expectancy at birth (78) among Muslim-majority countries in the region today, and Afghanistan has the lowest (45). Life expectancy in Afghanistan is projected to rise to 53 by 2030-35.
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Migration

On average, more people are leaving Muslim-majority countries in the Asia-Pacific region than migrating to them. Although the rate of people leaving has declined significantly since 1990-95, Muslim-majority countries in the region are still losing part of their populations to emigration, a trend that is projected to continue over the next 20 years. By 2030-35, Muslim-majority countries in the region are expected to have average annual net losses of 52 people per 100,000 in the general population, down from net losses of 60 people per 100,000 annually in 2010-15. As recently as 1990-95, Muslim-majority countries in the region were losing 142 people per 100,000 annually.
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Of course, not all people who move from Muslim-majority countries are Muslims. Studies have shown that religious minorities sometimes migrate in larger proportions than religious majorities. (See migration section on page 38.) This is the case for several Muslim-majority countries in Central and Western Asia, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. While some of the people leaving these countries are Muslims moving to other parts of the former Soviet Union, a significant number are ethnic Russians, Germans, Armenians and Jews.
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Of course, a country’s total gains or losses as a result of net migration rates depend on the total population of the country. In Pakistan, for example, a net loss of 100 people per 100,000 population would amount to a loss of roughly 185,000 people annually. In Azerbaijan, by contrast, this rate of loss would amount to fewer than 9,000 people annually.
A few Muslim-majority countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Turkey, are experiencing a net inflow of migrants. Previously, Turkey lost more people than it gained, but as the economic situation in the country has improved, population losses have been balanced by population gains, including Turks returning from abroad.

Age Structure

Muslim-majority countries in the Asia-Pacific region have more-youthful populations than other countries in the region. As of 2010, people under age 30 make up about 58% of the population of the region’s 15 Muslim-majority countries. By contrast, less than 30% of people living in more-developed countries in the region are under 30.
A larger percentage of the population in Muslim-majority countries in Asia-Pacific are now in or soon will enter their prime childbearing years (ages 15-29), which is yet another reason for the continued growth of the region’s Muslim population. People ages 15-29 make up 28.5% of the total population in the region’s Muslim-majority countries, compared with 25.7% in other less-developed countries and 16.0% in more-developed countries.
At the same time, as fertility rates drop – meaning that fewer children are born per woman – and life expectancies rise, the Muslim population in the Asia-Pacific region is aging. This is reflected in the median age in Muslim-majority countries in the region, which has climbed from 20 to 25 in the past two decades and is expected to reach 32 years in 2030.
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Although median ages are rising, Muslim-majority countries in Asia-Pacific are projected to remain relatively youthful in comparison with other countries in the region. By 2030, about 47% of the population in the region’s Muslim-majority countries is expected to be under age 30, compared with about 41% of the population in other less-developed countries in the region and about 24% of the population in the region’s more-developed countries.
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During the same period, the portion of the population in the 30-44 age group in the region’s Muslim-majority countries is projected to rise only slightly, from 20.8% in 2010 to 21.9% in 2030. The portion of the population that is ages 45-59 is expected to rise more substantially, from 12.8% today to 17.5% in 2030. The fastest growth of all will likely be among those age 60 and older, who are projected to rise from 8.0% to 13.3% of the population in Muslim-majority countries in Asia-Pacific. However, the percentage of the population 60 and older will remain significantly smaller in the region’s Muslim-majority countries than in more-developed countries, where 41.6% of the population is projected to be in this age bracket in 2030.

Footnotes
23 South Asia includes seven countries and territories: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Southeast-East Asia includes 19 countries and territories: Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. Central-Western Asia includes 11 countries and territories:Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, IranKazakhstanKyrgyzstanTajikistanTurkeyTurkmenistan andUzbekistanThe Pacific includes 24 countries and territories: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna. The 15 Muslim-majority countries and territories in the Asia- Pacific region are in green.(return to text)
24 Preliminary results from Indonesia’s recent census indicate that the country’s 2010 total population could be as high as 237.6 million, 5 million higher than the U.N.’s 2010 estimate of 232.5 million. If the higher 2010 population estimate were projected forward to 2030 using the methodologies employed in this report, Indonesia’s Muslim population would be 244 million, which still is smaller than Pakistan’s projected Muslim population in 2030 (256.1 million).(return to text)
25 As noted earlier in the report, the replacement level varies depending on mortality rates. In countries with relatively low infant and child mortality, a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is sufficient to replenish the population. In countries with high infant and child mortality, the replacement rate may be much higher than 2.1.(return to text)
26 As noted earlier in the report, life expectancy at birth is the average number of years a newborn would be expected to live if health and living conditions at the time of his/her birth remained the same throughout his/her life.(return to text)

Expected Growth of China's Muslim Population

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Muslims make up about 2% of the population in China, but because the country is so populous, its Muslim population is expected to be the 19th largest in the world in 2030. The Muslim population in China is projected to increase from 23.3 million in 2010 to nearly 30 million in 2030. Of all the countries in the world where Muslims live as religious minorities, only three others – India, Nigeria and Ethiopia – have more than 20 million Muslims. 1
The number of Muslims in China is expected to grow at a slower rate in the next 20 years than it did in the past two decades. From 1990 to 2010, the number of Muslims in China increased by 6.5 million, a 38.4% increase. The country is expected to add a similar number of Muslims from 2010 to 2030, but because the base number in 2010 is larger than it was in 1990, the projected percentage increase is smaller (28.5%).
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The fertility rate for Muslims in China is higher than the fertility rate for non-Muslims. Muslim women in China have an average of 1.7 children, compared with a national average of 1.4 children.2 This is one reason the Muslim share of China’s total population is expected to increase slightly in the next 20 years, from 1.8% in 2010 to 2.1% in 2030. Muslims in China are somewhat less urbanized and less educated than the general population. These characteristics are often associated with higher fertility rates. At the time of the 2000 census, 31.2% of Chinese Muslims lived in urban areas, compared with 36.9% of the country’s population as a whole. In the same year, Muslims in China attended school an average of 6.8 years, compared with a national average of 7.6 years.
Muslims are not a new presence in China. Most of China’s Muslim communities, including the Hui, Uygurs and Kazakhs, have lived in China for more than 1,000 years. The largest concentrations of Muslims today are in the Western provinces of Xinjiang, Ningxia, Qinghai and Gansu. A substantial number of Muslims live in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

Footnotes
1 As discussed elsewhere in this report, Nigeria will become a Muslim-majority country by 2030.(return to text)
2 There is some debate about the total fertility rate for China as a whole. The United Nations estimates that the rate is 1.8 children per woman. Others, however, including the Pew Forum’s demographic consultants in China, put the figure between 1.4 and 1.5 children per woman. The Pew Forum’s consultants also estimated that Muslim women in China have an average of 0.3 more children than the general population. For more information, see “Fertility Estimates for the Provinces of China, 1975-2000,” National Bureau of Statistics of China and the East-West Center, July 2007, and Baochang Gu and Yong Cai, “Fertility Prospects in China,” United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Recent and Future Trends in Fertility, Population Division, United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs, Nov. 17, 2009.(return to text)

Expected Growth of India’s Muslim Population

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India is projected to have the third-largest Muslim population (in absolute numbers) in the world by 2030, following Pakistan and Indonesia. The Muslim population in India is projected to increase from 177.3 million in 2010 to 236.2 million in 2030. The Muslim share of India’s population is expected to increase from 14.6% in 2010 to 15.9% in 2030. More than one-in-ten of the world’s Muslims (10.8%) will live in India in 2030, about the same as in 2010.
India’s Muslim population is expected to grow at a slower rate in the next 20 years than it did in the previous two decades. The Muslim population in India increased by 76.4 million from 1990 to 2010; it is expected to grow by 58.9 million between 2010 and 2030.1
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Fertility rates for all populations in India have been declining in recent years, in part because of increasing use of birth control. However, Muslims in India continue to have more children on average than non-Muslims, mainly because Muslims’ use of birth control still falls below the national average. In 2005-2006, for example, 45.7% of Muslim couples used some form of birth control, compared with 56.3% of couples in the general population, according to an analysis of the National Family Health Survey.
Muslims in India are poorer and less educated than other religious groups. These characteristics are often associated with higher fertility rates. For instance, according to the 2001 census, only 3.6% of Muslims in India age 20 and older are college or university graduates, compared with 6.7% of all Indians in this age group. The literacy rate among Muslim women (50.1%) is lower than the rate among other women in India, including Hindus (53.2%) and Christians (76.2%).
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Muslim women also are less likely to work outside the home than non-Muslim women, and employment is associated with lower fertility.
Muslims have lived in India since the advent of Islam. The country’s first mosque is said to have been established around 630 A.D., even before the death of the Prophet Muhammad. 2 The number of Muslims in India declined in 1947 when India gained its independence and an estimated 7 million people migrated from India to Pakistan, but India’s Muslim population has been rising steadily since.
Muslims live throughout India. According to the 2001 census, a large concentration of Muslims lives in two of the largest and poorest states, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar; 35.6% of all the Muslims in India live in these two states. An additional 14.6% of the country’s Muslims live in West Bengal, which adjoins Bihar and borders Bangladesh. The remainder of the country’s Muslim population is scattered in more than 20 other states.
Although Muslims constitute a small minority in most Indian states, they make up roughly a third of the population in Assam (30.9%) and about a quarter of the population in both West Bengal and Kerala. Muslims constitute a majority of the population in the northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir, where they make up 67.0% of the population.

Footnotes
1 In the Pew Forum’s 2009 report Mapping the Global Muslim Population, India’s population figures were calculated assuming the percentage of Muslims was the same in 2009 as it was in 2001, when the national census was taken. However, the new estimate for 2010 takes into account differential fertility rates between Muslims and non-Muslims in India and arrives at a higher estimate than in the previous report.(return to text)
2 See Aziz Ahmad, An Intellectual History of Islam in India, Edinburgh University Press, 1969.(return to text)


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The Muslim population in the Middle East-North Africa region is expected to grow by more than a third (37%) in the next 20 years. It is projected to grow from 321.9 million in 2010 to 439.5 million in 2030, which is more than double the number of Muslims in the region in 1990 (205.9 million). Roughly nine-in-ten people living in the region today are Muslim (91.2% in 2010). This proportion has held fairly steady for the past 20 years and is not projected to change very much in the next 20 years.
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A fifth of the world’s Muslims (19.9%) now live in the Middle East-North Africa. The region’s share of the global Muslim population is expected to be roughly the same in 2030 (20.1%). The number of Muslims in the Middle East-North Africa is expected to increase by about the same amount in the next 20 years (117.6 million) as it did in the previous 20 years (116 million). However, because the beginning population base in 1990 (205.9 million) was smaller than the beginning base in 2010 (321.9 million), the projected addition of 117.6 million Muslims from 2010 to 2030 would amount to a slowing rate of growth.
The annual growth of the Muslim population in the region is projected to be 1.4% between 2020 and 2030, down from 1.8% between 2010 and 2020 and 2.1% between 2000 and 2010.
Although Muslim population growth in the region is projected to slow over the next 20 years, it is expected to be slightly higher than the projected rate of growth for non-Muslim populations in the region. However, the gap between the growth rates could be wider than currently projected if non-Muslims leave the region in greater proportion than Muslims. For instance, the future growth rate for non-Muslims might be lower than projected if non-Muslim refugees from Iraq now living in Syria and Jordan do not return to their home country and instead permanently migrate out of the region.27
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Sub-Regions and Countries in the Middle East-North Africa

Sub-Regions in the Middle East-North Africa
The Muslim population in the Middle East has been growing at a faster rate than the Muslim population in North Africa.28 From 1990 to 2010, the Muslim population in the Middle East increased by roughly 80%, from about 70 million to 127 million. During the same period, the Muslim population in North Africa increased by about 44%, from 135 million in 1990 to 195 million in 2010.
The number of Muslims in the Middle East will continue to grow at a faster rate than the number of Muslims in North Africa, largely because Muslims in the Middle East have a higher fertility rate than those in North Africa. But neither sub-region is expected to grow as fast in the next 20 years as it did in the previous two decades. Between 2010 and 2030, the Muslim population in the Middle East is projected to increase by about 47%, from 126.6 million to 186.5 million, while the Muslim population in North Africa is projected to grow by about 30%, from 195.2 million to nearly 253 million.
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Countries in the Middle East-North Africa
The size of the Muslim population in North Africa reflects the large number of Muslims living in Egypt, which is home to roughly one-in-four Muslims in the region. Egypt’s Muslim population is projected to increase by 25 million in the next 20 years, from 80 million in 2010 to 105 million in 2030 – by far the largest numerical increase of any country in the region.
md2-53Although Egypt’s Muslim population is expected to grow significantly in absolute numbers in the next 20 years, Egypt is expected to drop from having the fifth-largest Muslim population in the world to having the sixth-largest by 2030, behind Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Nigeria. This is largely because Egypt is expected to have much lower fertility rates than Nigeria over the next two decades.
Algeria and Morocco currently have the second- and third-largest Muslim populations, respectively, in the Middle East-North Africa region. By 2030, however, Iraq is expected to move into the second spot, largely because it has a substantially higher fertility rate than Algeria and Morocco (seesection on fertility in the Middle East-North Africa section.) Iraq’s Muslim population is projected to increase from 31.1 million in 2010 to 48.4 million in 2030. Algeria’s Muslim population is expected to reach 43.9 million in 2030, up from 34.8 million in 2010, giving it the third-largest Muslim population in the region in 2030. Morocco will fall from third place to fifth; its Muslim population is projected to grow from 32.4 million in 2010 to 39.3 million in 2030. Sudan (as currently demarcated) is expected to have the fourth-largest Muslim population in the region in 20 years.

In percentage terms (rather than in absolute numbers), Muslim population growth in the Middle East-North Africa is expected to be most pronounced in the Palestinian territories and Israel, which are each forecast to have about a 66% increase in the size of their Muslim populations by 2030. The Muslim population in the Palestinian territories is projected to increase from 4.3 million in 2010 to 7.1 million in 2030, and the Muslim population in Israel is projected to grow from 1.3 million to 2.1 million during that period. (Israeli population numbers include Muslims living in Jerusalem but not Muslims living in the West Bank and Gaza.)
Yemen’s Muslim population is projected to increase by 62%, from 24 million in 2010 to 39 million by 2030. The Muslim populations in Iraq and Western Sahara are projected to increase by 55%.
Of the five regions covered in this report, the Middle East-North Africa will continue to have the highest percentage of Muslim-majority countries. Of the 20 countries and territories in the region, all but Israel are projected to be at least 50% Muslim in 2030, as is the case today.

Spotlight on Israel:

During the past 20 years, the Muslim population in Israel has more than doubled, growing from 0.6 million in 1990 to 1.3 million in 2010, a 103% increase.
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Seventeen of the 20 are expected to have a population that is more than 75% Muslim in 2030, with Israel, Lebanon and Sudan (as currently demarcated) being the only exceptions. (See Muslim Population by Country, 1990-2030.)
The only country in the region expected to have a substantial increase in the portion of the population that is Muslim is Israel. Based on this study’s analysis of estimates published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the Muslim share of Israel’s population is expected to increase from 17.7% in 2010 to 23.2% in 2030, a 5.5-point increase. (For more information on Israel’s Muslim population, see sidebar.)

Fertility

As recently as 1990-95, women in Muslim-majority countries in North Africa had far fewer children on average (4.2 children) than women in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East (5.6 children). There is now much less of a difference. In 2010-15, a woman in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East is expected to have an average of 3.3 children in her lifetime while a woman in Muslim-majority countries in North Africa is expected to have an average of 2.7 children. By 2030-35, fertility rates in the two sub-regions are expected to be essentially the same.
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Most of the countries in the region with the highest fertility rates are in the Middle East. Yemen tops the list, with an estimated 2010-15 fertility rate of 4.7 children per woman.
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Life Expectancy at Birth

Average life expectancy at birth has been rising in this region in recent decades, from approximately 65 years in 1990-95 to about 71 years in 2010-15. Life expectancy at birth remains slightly higher in the Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East than in the Muslim-majority countries in North Africa. This is another reason the Middle East’s Muslim population has been growing at a faster pace than the Muslim population in North Africa. The life expectancy gap between the two sub-regions is projected to narrow to 1.6 years by 2030-35.
Of the Muslim-majority countries in the region, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are expected to have the highest life expectancies at birth in 2010-15 (78 years), while Yemen and Western Sahara are projected to have the lowest (65 and 68, respectively). However, Yemen and Western Sahara are expected to have the largest gains in longevity in the region by 2030-35.
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Migration

On average, more people are leaving countries in the Middle East-North Africa region than migrating to them. From 2010 to 2015, these countries collectively are expected to lose an annual average of 66 people per 100,000 in the general population.
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During the same period, Muslim-majority countries in North Africa are expected to have an annual net loss of 67 people per 100,000, which works out to be more than 142,000 people per year. The sub-region is projected to lose 56 people per 100,000 annually in 2030-35, or more than 156,000 people per year.
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In contrast with North Africa, Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East gained population in the 1990s and early 2000s. Many of the immigrants coming to the Middle East during this period went to the oil-rich Gulf states in search of economic opportunities; other immigrants included people returning to Iraq following the first Gulf War.
However, the Middle East is projected to have an annual net loss of 80 people per 100,000 in 2010-15, or more than 80,000 people per year. This loss reflects the impact of the recent world economic downturn, which has reduced immigration to the Gulf states, and the continuing conflict in Iraq, which has increased migration in the region as a whole. However, Iraq is excluded from the migration trend projections after 2005 because the ongoing conflict there makes projections regarding migration from the country unreliable.
The course of the conflict in Iraq also has implications for migration from neighboring countries such as Syria and Jordan. The U.N. estimates shown in the table on page 101 are based on the assumption that, by 2015, substantial numbers of refugees will be returning from Syria and Jordan to their homes in Iraq or going elsewhere.
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Projecting the impact of migration on the religious composition of the Middle East is complicated. For example, increased emigration could add to the overall share of Muslims in the region if religious minorities leave in greater proportion than Muslims do, as is now the case in Iraq.29 Conversely, if immigration to the Gulf states were to decrease, this could have the effect of reducing the non-Muslim share of the population, since substantial numbers of immigrants to this part of the Middle East are non-Muslims from countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia, such as the Philippines and India.

Age Structure

As fertility rates in the Middle East-North Africa drop and life expectancies rise, the Muslim population in the region is aging. The median age in the region has risen by five years in recent decades, to 24 years. It is expected to rise by about another five years in the next two decades, to 29 years.
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Muslim-majority countries in North Africa have somewhat older populations than Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East. By 2030, the median age of the Muslim population in North Africa is projected to be 30 years, compared with 27 years for Muslims in the Middle East. The fact that Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East have a more youthful population than those in North Africa – and therefore more women in or about to enter their prime childbearing years – helps explain why the Middle East is expected to have a faster rate of population growth than North Africa.
Although the population in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East-North Africa is aging, it is expected to remain relatively youthful. In the Middle East, about 54% of the population in Muslim-majority countries is expected to be under age 30 in 2030; in North Africa, about 49% of the population in Muslim-majority countries is expected to be in this age bracket in 20 years. In Israel, by comparison, the U.N. estimates that about 43% of the general population, which includes a growing share of Muslims, is expected to be younger than 30 in 2030.
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Footnotes
27 For background information on Iraq’s religious minorities, see “The Plight of Iraq’s Religious Minorities,” Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2008.(return to text)
28 The Middle East includes 13 countries and territories: BahrainIraq, Israel, JordanKuwaitLebanonOman,QatarPalestinian territoriesSaudi ArabiaSyriaUnited Arab Emirates and YemenNorth Africa includes seven countries and territories: AlgeriaEgyptLibyaMoroccoSudanTunisia, and Western Sahara. The 19 Muslim-majority countries and territories in the Middle East-North Africa region are in green.(return to text)
29 The 2008 World Refugee Survey by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants found that of the approximately 1.3 million refugees from the Iraq War living in Syria, fewer than 75% were Muslim, although Iraq is nearly 99% Muslim.(return to text)


Expected Growth of Israel’s Muslim Population

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During the past 20 years, the Muslim population in Israel has more than doubled, growing from 0.6 million in 1990 to 1.3 million in 2010, a 103% increase. In the next 20 years, Israel’s Muslim population is projected to increase by 66%, from 1.3 million in 2010 to 2.1 million in 2030. (Israeli population numbers include Muslims living in Jerusalem but not Muslims living in the West Bank and Gaza.)
Israel is the only country in the region where Muslims are currently in the minority. The Muslim share of Israel’s population is projected to increase from 17.7% in 2010 to 23.2% in 2030, a 5.5-point increase. This compares with a 3.6-point increase between 1990 and 2010, when the Muslim share of the population rose from 14.1% to 17.7%.
One reason the Muslim population in Israel is increasing so rapidly is because Muslim women in the country are relatively young and many are in or about to enter their prime childbearing years. In 2008, the median age of Muslim women in Israel was 19, compared with 32 for Jewish women, which reflects the overall youthfulness of Israel’s Muslim population.
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Two-thirds of Israeli Muslims are under age 30, according to an analysis of 2009 data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. Slightly less than half of Jews and other religious groups are in this age category. The youthfulness of Israel’s Muslim population is evident in the graph at right, which shows that about 40% of Israeli Muslims are under age 15. By comparison, about a quarter of Jews and others (which includes Christians, Druze and those not reporting a religious identity) are in this age group.
On the older end of the age spectrum, 15% of Muslims are age 45 and older, compared with about 33% of Jews and 27% of others. Nearly a fifth of Jews in Israel (16%) are age 60 and older, compared with only 5% of Muslims.
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Some segments of the Muslim population in Israel continue to have extremely high fertility rates. For example, Muslim Bedouins from the Southern District, which extends to the Gulf of Aqaba, have about eight children per woman on average. Nevertheless, the average fertility rate among Muslim women in Israel has declined significantly, from a high of about nine children per woman in 1960 to about 3.8 children per woman in 2010. But it is still significantly higher than the average fertility rates for Jewish and Christian women in Israel (2.9 and 2.1 children per woman, respectively). This is the case even though some non-Muslim groups within Israel, including certain groups of Orthodox Jews, also have relatively high fertility rates.
There are six administrative districts within Israel. More than a third of Muslims in Israel (37%) live in the Northern District. A fifth (21%) live in the Jerusalem District, which includes both East and West Jerusalem. Most of the remainder of Israel’s Muslim population live in the Southern District (15%), the Haifa District (14%) and the Central District (11%). Only 1 percent of Israel’s Muslims live in the Tel Aviv District.

As of 2010, there are 49 countries in which Muslims comprise more than 50% of the population. A total of 1.2 billion Muslims live in these nations, representing 74% of the global Muslim population of 1.6 billion. By 2030, Nigeria is projected to become the 50th Muslim-majority country. In that year, according to the projections in this report, a total of 1.7 billion Muslims are expected to live in Muslim-majority nations, representing 78% of the world’s 2.2 billion Muslims. All Muslim-majority countries are in lessdeveloped regions of the world with the exception of Albania and Kosovo, which are in Europe.
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More than a fifth of the world’s Muslims (23.3%) live in non-Muslim-majority, less-developed countries in 2010. These countries make up the rest of the “developing world”; they include all the non-Muslim-majority countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia-Pacific (excluding Australia, Japan and New Zealand), and Central and South America, including the Caribbean. These developing countries have a total of 376 million Muslim inhabitants in 2010. By 2030, they are projected to have 416 million Muslims, or 19% of all Muslims worldwide. The decline from 23% to 19% is due primarily to Nigeria (which accounts for about 5% of the world’s Muslims) becoming a Muslim-majority country by 2030. (For more information on Nigeria, see Spotlight on Nigeria.)

About 3% of the world’s Muslims live in non-Muslim-majority, more-developed countries in 2010. This category is often described as the “developed world”; it includes all countries in Europe (except Albania and Kosovo, which have Muslim majorities) and North America, plus Australia, New Zealand and Japan. These countries have a total of 42 million Muslims in 2010.
By 2030, they are projected to have 62 million Muslims, still about 3% of all Muslims worldwide.
This report uses the term Muslim-majority countries rather than Muslim countries because many of them have secular rather than religious governments.
The terms “less-developed” and “more-developed” in this report are based on United Nations categories. The U.N. describes regions as “less-developed” and “more-developed” according to factors such as life expectancy, education and income. These U.N. categories are used for statistical convenience and do not express a judgment about the political or social systems of particular countries or regions. As this report notes, there is great diversity among the countries in each category.
For a detailed look at each country and its projected population, please see the Sortable Data Tables



മുസ്‌ലിം ജനസംഖ്യാ വളര്‍ച്ച മറ്റു വിഭാഗങ്ങളേക്കാള്‍ വേഗത്തിലെന്ന്

വാഷിങ്ടണ്‍: 2030ഓടെ ലോകത്തിലെ മുസ്‌ലിം ജനസംഖ്യ മറ്റു മതസ്ഥരുടെ വളര്‍ച്ചനിരക്കിനെക്കാള്‍ ഇരട്ടിയായേക്കുമെന്ന് പഠനം. അമേരിക്ക ആസ്ഥാനമായ 'ദ പ്യു ഫോറം ഓണ്‍ റിലിജ്യന്‍ ആന്‍ഡ് പബ്ലിക് ലൈഫ്' എന്ന സംഘടന 'ദ ഫ്യൂചര്‍ ഓഫ് ദ ഗ്ലോബല്‍ മുസ്‌ലിം പോപുലേഷന്‍'  എന്ന പേരില്‍ നടത്തിയ പഠനത്തിലാണ് ഈ റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ട്.  17.72 കോടിയാണ് നിലവില്‍ ഇന്ത്യയിലെ മുസ്‌ലിം ജനസംഖ്യ. ഇത് രാജ്യത്തെ മൊത്തം ജനസംഖ്യയുടെ 14.6 ശതമാനം വരും. എന്നാല്‍, 2030ല്‍ ഇത് 23.61 കോടിയിലെത്തും.
രണ്ടു ദശകം കൊണ്ട് ലോകത്തിലെ ഏറ്റവും അധികം മുസ്‌ലിം ജനസംഖ്യയുള്ള രാഷ്ട്രം എന്ന പദവി ഇന്തോനേഷ്യയില്‍ നിന്ന് പാകിസ്താന്‍ തട്ടിയെടുത്തേക്കുമെന്നും പഠനം പറയുന്നു. നിലവിലെ പാക് ജനസംഖ്യ 17.8 കോടിയില്‍നിന്ന് 25.61  കോടിയിലെത്തുമെന്നും റിപ്പോര്‍ട്ടില്‍ പറഞ്ഞു.

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