Pew just released a new study of countries with the largest Muslim and Christian populations which reveals “differences in the concentration, diversity and projected changes in the world’s two largest religions.”
According to the study: “The two lists show that the global Muslim population is more heavily concentrated in Islam’s main population centers than the global Christian population is for Christianity, which is more widely dispersed around the world. Indeed, about two-thirds (65%) of the world’s Muslims live in the countries with the 10 largest Muslim populations, while only 48% of the world’s Christians live in the countries with the 10 largest Christian populations….
A number of the countries with the world’s 10 largest Muslim or Christian populations also have large (and in some cases, larger) populations of other faith groups. In India, which has the second-largest Muslim population, Islam is a minority religion (making up 15% of the country’s population) and Hinduism is the majority faith. Nigeria, which has the sixth-largest Christian population in the world (87 million), also has the world’s fifth-largest Muslim population (90 million).
In addition, the lists illustrate the extent to which the population centers for these religions have moved away from their historical and traditional hubs. The top five Muslim countries are all in South and Southeast Asia or in sub-Saharan Africa, rather than the Middle East; and the top three Christian countries are in the Americas rather than in the Middle East or Europe.
Overall, there are about 2.3 billion Christians in the world and 1.8 billion Muslims. That gap is expected to narrow by 2060, when Pew Research Center projects there will be 3 billion Christians and nearly 3 billion Muslims. That’s because Muslims, on average, are younger and have more children than do Christians.”
CLICK for a table of the countries with the 10 largest Muslim and Christian populations.