The Global Muslim population is estimated to be at 1.6 Billion. This makes Islam the world’s second largest religion globally according to the December 2012 Global Religious Landscape report from the Pew Research Centers Forum on Religion and Public Life. Currently the Muslim Ummah approximately constitutes approximately 23 percent of the world the population.
But where do all these Muslims come from? Many people predominantly associate Islam with the Middle East and North Africa. Granted, this region has the highest concentration of Muslims globally. As of 2012, about 93 percent of its 341 million inhabitants are Muslims compared with 30 percent in Sub Saharan Africa and 24 percent in the Asia Pacific region.
Nevertheless, in terms of sheer numbers, the majority of Muslims hail from the Asia Pacific region. This region accounts for 62 percent of the global Muslim population. It is interesting to note that only India and Pakistan together (344 million) account for more Muslims than the entire Middle East and North Africa (317 million).
Muslims make up a majority of the population in 49 countries around the world. The country with the largest number (about 209 million) is Indonesia, where 87.2% of the population identifies as Muslim. India has the world’s second-largest Muslim population in raw numbers (roughly 176 million) though Muslims make up just 14.4% of India’s total population.
The median age of the global Muslim population is estimated to be 23 years old, which is younger than median age of the overall world population (28). The Pew research center has projected Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2010 and 2050 and, in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christianity as the world’s largest religious group.
While the world’s population is projected to grow 35% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 73% – from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2050. In 2010, Muslims made up 23 percent of the global population. Four decades later, they are expected to make up about three-in-ten of the world’s people (29 percent).
By 2050, Muslims will be nearly as numerous as Christians, who are projected to remain the world’s largest religious group at 31.4% of the global population.
You might begin to wonder, why is the global Muslim population growing so fast? The Pew research center has attributed this mainly to its young demographic. As shown above, the global median age for Muslims stands at 23 years, while that of non Muslims stands at 30. Consequently, the majority of Muslims will soon reach their reproductive years. This, combined with high fertility rates, will accelerate Muslim population growth.