- Fiza Pirani The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. In fact, if current trends continue, Muslims will surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group in the second half of this century, according to the Pew Research Center.
As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making up the majority of the population in 49 countries.
And only 0.2 percent of the global Muslim population reportedly lived in North America.
In the U.S., the latest Pew numbers from 2015 show the country is home to an estimated 3.3 million Muslims of all ages — about 1 percent of the total U.S. population.
But by 2050, Pew researchers estimate Islam will supplant Judaism as the second-most popular religion in the U.S. with Muslims ultimately making up 2.1 percent of the future population.
Why is the group growing so fast?
According to researchers, it’s primarily about simple demographics.
Muslim women on average have more children than women of the seven other major religious groups analyzed in Pew’s global landscape study.
Between 2010 and 2015, 31 percent of all babies born around the world were born to Muslims.
Muslims also have the youngest average age of all the major religious groups, Pew researches noted. In 2015, the median age of Muslims around the globe was 24 whereas the median age of non-Muslims was 32.
Those factors coupled together have led to the population projections in the second half of this century.
How many Muslim immigrants have come to the U.S.?
Between 1992 and 2012, approximately 1.7 million Muslims entered the U.S. as legal permanent residents, jumping from about 50,000 in 1992 to 100,000 in 2012, Pew research found.
The data shows most Muslims that immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1990s came from countries in Asia and the Pacific or Middle East/North Africa.
By 2012, most Muslim immigrants to the U.S. came from Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh and Iraq.
The state-by-state map above shows the percentage of adult populations identifying as Muslims, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study.
Of all adult populations in the 50 states and District of Columbia, New Jersey reported the highest percentage of Muslim residents at 3 percent.
Data for the report came from telephone interviews with more than 35,000 Americans from all 50 states.