Living as Majorities and Minorities
While 80% of the world's Muslims live in countries where Muslims are in the majority, significant numbers - about one-fifth of the world's Muslim population - live as religious minorities in their home countries. Of the roughly 317 million Muslims living as minorities, about 240 million - about three-quarters - live in five countries: India (161 million), Ethiopia (28 million), China (22 million), Russia (16 million) and Tanzania (13 million). Two of the 10 countries with the largest number of Muslims living as minorities are in Europe: Russia (16 million) and Germany (4 million).
These minority populations are often quite large. For example, India, a Hindu-majority country, has the third-largest population of Muslims worldwide. The Muslim population of Ethiopia is about as large as that of Afghanistan. China has more Muslims than Syria; Russia is home to more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined; and Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon.
Countries with the Largest Number of Muslims Living as Minorities
* Data for Germany come in part from general population surveys, which are less reliable than censuses or large-scale demographic and health surveys for estimating minority-majority ratios (see Methodology). As a result, the percentage of the population that is Muslim in Germany is rounded to the nearest integer.
Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life • Mapping the Global Muslim Population, October 2009
Of the 232 countries and territories included in this study, 50 are Muslim-majority. Out of these, however, more than six-in-ten (62%) have a smaller Muslim population than do Russia and China individually.
The Middle East-North Africa region contains the highest percentage of Muslim-majority countries compared with other regions. Of the 20 countries and territories in the region, 17 have a population that is more than 75% Muslim, with Israel, Lebanon and Sudan being the only exceptions. In comparison, only 12 of 61 countries in Asia, 10 of 50 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and two of 50 countries in Europe (Kosovo and Albania) are 75% or more Muslim.
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