A new study forecasts that Muslim population globally will increase 1.5 percent annually over the next two decades, growing at twice the rate of non-Muslims.
The world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by 35 percent in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, a study released by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life said on Thursday.
“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,” said the study titled 'The Future of the Global Muslim Population.'
If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4 percent of the world's total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4 percent of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.
Also, 79 countries will have a million or more Muslim inhabitants in 2030, up from 72 countries currently.
The study showed 60 percent of the world's Muslims will continue to live in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030 and 20 percent will live in the Middle East and North Africa. However, Pakistan is expected to surpass Indonesia as the country with the single largest Muslim population.
Muslim population is expected to double in the US in the next two decades, rising from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030, making Muslims roughly as numerous as Jews or Episcopalians are in the US today.
In Europe, the Muslim share of the population is expected to grow by nearly one-third over the next 20 years, rising from 6 percent of the region's inhabitants in 2010 to 8 percent in 2030.
“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,” the center said.
By 2030, Sunni Muslims will continue to make up an overwhelming majority of Muslims between 87- 90 percent. 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, the study said.