January 27, 2011

The Future of the Global Muslim Population

Regional Distribution of Muslims

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This section of the report looks at the future of the Muslim population in five regions of the world – Asia-Pacific, the Middle East-North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the Americas. Each chapter begins with an overview of the growth patterns among Muslims in the region as a whole. The chapters then present population projections for Muslims at the sub-regional- and country-level.22 The chapters also examine the factors that are influencing the growth of the Muslim population in the various regions, including trends in fertility, life expectancy, migration and age structure. When appropriate, the chapters highlight the situation in countries of special interest.

The five regions are presented in descending order of Muslim population, with the region with the highest number of Muslims (Asia-Pacific) appearing first and the region with the lowest number of Muslims (the Americas) appearing last.

Over the next 20 years, the portion of the world’s Muslims living in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to decline, from 62.1% in 2010 to 59.2% in 2030. The portion of the world’s Muslims living in sub-Saharan Africa will rise, from 15% in 2010 to 17.6% in 2030. The share of the world’s Muslims living in the Middle East-North Africa, Europe and the Americas is expected to remain roughly the same. (See the Executive Summary.)


Asia-Pacific

The number of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region – which, for purposes of this report, includes not only East Asian countries such as China but also countries as far west as Turkey – is projected to increase from about 1 billion in 2010 to about 1.3 billion in 2030. Read More…


Middle East-North Africa

The Muslim population in the Middle East-North Africa region is expected to grow by more than a third (37%) in the next 20 years. Read More…


Sub-Saharan Africa

The Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow by nearly 60% in the next 20 years, from 242.5 million in 2010 to 385.9 million in 2030. Read More…


Europe

The number of Muslims in Europe has grown from 29.6 million in 1990 to 44.1 million in 2010.34 Europe’s Muslim population is projected to exceed 58 million by 2030. Read More…


Americas

The number of Muslims in the 51 countries in the Americas is projected to more than double in the next 20 years, from 5.3 million in 2010 to 10.9 million in 2030. Nevertheless, Muslims will remain a small minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 1.0% of the population in 2030, compared with 0.6% in 2010. Read More…


Footnotes

22 In charts and tables throughout this report, “countries” is used loosely to refer both to sovereign nations and to a variety of territories and protectorates. No judgment on their legal status is intended. (return to text)