WHEN WILL ISLAM
OVERTAKE CHRISTIANITY?

B Stett

(Investigator 112, 2007 January)



Islam may soon catch up to and then overtake Christianity.

This can be calculated from statistics given in the two editions of the TOP 10 OF EVERYTHING (1989; 2005)

The following table lists the numbers of followers in millions:

 


1989 edition
2005 edition
1 Christianity
1644
Christianity
2160
2 Islam
860
Islam
1342
3 Hinduism
656
Hinduism
877
4 Buddhism
310
Agnosticism
772
5 Judaism
18.1
Chinese folk-religions
407
6 Sikkism
16.6
Buddhism
382
7 Confucianism
5.9
Ethnic Religions
258
8 Bahaísm
4.63
Atheism
152
9 Jainism
3.46
New Religions
109
10 Shintoism
3.40
Sikkism
25.7
 
Let us perform some simple mathematics on some of these figures.

We'll focus on the top four religions of 1989 and work out the yearly percentage increase. The results are:


 
 
Annual % Increase 1989-2005
1 Christianity
1.721%
2 Islam
2.820%
3 Hinduism
1.831%
4 Buddhism
1.314%
 

Of the top four religions for 1989 Islam is growing fastest 2.8% per year.

Muslim populations in North Africa and the Middle East have high birth rates and high proportions of young people. Europeans, including Christians, are in contrast an aging population. However, the Christian problem in Europe is offset somewhat by rapid growth in China, South America, the Philippines and Africa.

Therefore, let us not worry about factors that might alter future growth rates and simply project what we have.

When will Islam overtake Christianity?

The answer is in 44 years.

The figures in the 2005 edition of The Top 10 are actually claimed to apply to 2006.

If the calculated growth rates continue, then in 2050 (i.e. 2006+44) Christians and Muslims will reach numerical equality.

Christians and Muslims will both then number about 4570 million.

Projecting the Hindu figures to 2050 gives 1950 million Hindus.

The projections for just these three groups exceed the official estimated world population for 2050. Something therefore has to give. At least some growth rates have to slow down.

However, the simple answer to WHEN WILL ISLAM OVERTAKE CHRISTIANITY? is 2050.
 

 


REFERENCES:

Ash, R The Top 10 of Everything, 1989, p. 194; 2005 p. 79.

 


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