The Pew Research Center recently released projections on population growth from 2010-2015.
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 23.2% of the global population. Four decades later, they are expected to make up about three-in-ten of the world’s people (29.7%).
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.
This growth comes from several factors:
- Fertility – Muslim peoples typically have more children than any other religious group and being born into Islam make
s one a Muslim.
- Large Youth Demographic – Muslims currently have the youngest median age of any religious group. As these young people start having children the growth rate accelerates.
- Location – Most Muslim groups are located in Africa and the Middle East. These areas are projected to have the largest growth in the coming years.
These growth factors are also highlighted by many religious groups, particularly Christians, losing numbers due to religious switching, a problem that is not so relevant to Islam.
Applying the Data
What does this mean for individual believers and churches in the 21st century?
- Get to know your neighbors. If you do not have Muslim neighbors or an Islamic center in your area, do not be surprised when you do. Reach out to your neighbors in kindess and gain some understanding. Be hospitable towards your neighbors. If you open up your life and home to them, then they will open up to you.
- Educate yourself and others. Try to understand Islamic culture and avoid conversations that are ignorant of truth. Understand the culture that Muslims come from so that you can speak truth into regular conversations. Better yet, learn from your Islamic neighbors about what they believe nd how it shapes their culture. Educate yourself on what is taboo to them, so that you can be respectful towards them. This may mean making sure you don’t serve them anything with pork or dressing more modestly than you normally would.
- Create bridges for the gospel. As you understand the Muslim worldview and the Muslim people around you, find ways to speak the gospel into their lives. Churches, realize who is in your local demographic and find ways welcome them.
- Be relational. Most Muslims come from a very welcoming and relational culture. You will need to make yourself available if they want to come over for an unannounced visit, or they expect you to stay at their house long after a meal is finished.
While the face of the world continues to change, the message of the gospel, and the commands of Jesus do not. Embrace all those aorund you with sacrificial love.
View the full report here.
Detailed observations on the growth of Islam can be found at pewresearch.org.