Since several centuries, various religious groups have been working to increase the number of followers across the globe. Various battles have been fought throughout history for religious expansion. It continues even today, although religious expansion is now being triggered via other means as well such as social media influence and monetary incentives.
As of now, there are various religions in the world such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese traditional religion, Ethnic religions, African traditional religions, Sikhism, Judaism, Jainism, Shinto and Zoroastrianism. There are also more than a billion people on the planet who do not follow any specific religion.
Christianity currently has the largest number of followers at around 2.382 billion. This is around 31.11% of the total world population. Next is Islam with around 1.907 billion followers. In percentage terms, Islam followers are approximately 24.9% of the total world population. Third is Hinduism, with around 1.161 billion followers, constituting 15.16% of the world’s population. Followers of Buddhism and Chinese traditional religion are around 5.06% and 5% of the world population, respectively.
As a major shakedown is happening in geopolitics, it makes us wonder which religion will dominate 21st century. Christianity is clearly the dominating force now, but can it sustain it over the coming decades. And which religions could possibly witness a decline in coming years. For better understanding, let’s see which will be world’s largest religion by 2100.
Islam growing fastest
As per report published by Pew Research Center, Muslim population is growing at a faster rate than rest of the world. It is projected that by 2050, the world population would increase to 9.3 billion. That will be a 35% increase, as compared to 2010 numbers. Christianity growth rate will be around the same as that of global population growth. But in case of Muslims, their growth rate is projected to be around 73%. That’s more than double of global population growth rate. If the current momentum is sustained, Islam will come quite close to Christian population by 2050.
Muslims to overtake Christians after 2070
If current Muslim population growth rate is sustained, their numbers will become equal to that of Christians by 2070. Beyond that, Muslim population will emerge as the largest in the world. Most other religions are also expected to grow, but at a slower rate than Muslim population. As a result, their percentage share in world population will decline. Some religions like Buddhism are expected to decline by 2050.
Demographics favor Muslim population growth, as the religion has a larger percentage of young adults. Moreover, things like birth control are usually considered taboo. Polygamy is another factor that leads to higher number of children being born.
Geopolitics and natural disasters can impact religions
21st century has marked the rise of China as a superpower, creating challenges for United States and other allied countries. There is a threat of nuclear war, which could result in deaths of millions of people. Another factor is climate change, which can also impact global demographics. For example, things like drought and disease can lead to decline of affected population groups.
So, while Muslims population is expected to be the world’s largest religion by end of this century, there are way too many variables to be able to make 100% accurate predictions. A lot will also depend on Africa’s growth, which is currently become a hub for both Christians and Muslims. Technology innovations are another factor that can impact global demographics over the coming decades.