Anarkali Market in Pakistan. Image: Flickr user leeno

Pakistan to replace Indonesia as country with largest Muslim population by 2030

ASEAN Indonesia

The world’s Muslim population is projected to grow at twice the rate of non-Muslims over the next 20 years, increasing by 35% to 2.2 billion people in 2030, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. However, the growth rate for Muslim populations over the next 20 years, projected at 1.5% annually, is slower than it has been over the past 20 years, when it was 2.2% per year.

Asia holds the four largest Muslim populations – Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh –together containing 709 million Muslims in 2010. That number is projected to increase to 919 million in 2030, a 30% increase.

Muslims as a Share of World Population, 1990-2030. Courtesy Pew Research Center. (Click to enlarge)

A majority of the world’s Muslims live in Asia. Yet, the region as a whole is projected to slip slightly in the estimated share of the global Muslim population, falling from 62% in 2010 to 59% in 2030. The change is almost entirely due to the large population boom in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is projected to be home to nearly 18% of the world’s Muslims in 2030, up from 15% in 2010.

Looking within individuals countries in Asia, there is little change in the relative share of Muslims in the countries’ populations. Majority Muslim countries will remain unchanged. Only India shows a marked increase: in 1990, Muslims made up 11.7% of India’s population, while in 2030, a projected 15.9% of the population will be Muslim.

The report’s major findings on Asia include:

A majority of the world’s Muslims (about 60%) will continue to live in the Asia-Pacific region, while about 20% will live in the Middle East and North Africa, as is the case today. But Pakistan is expected to surpass Indonesia as the country with the single largest Muslim population.

Nearly three-in-ten people living in the Asia-Pacific region in 2030 (27.3%) will be Muslim, up from about a quarter in 2010 (24.8%) and roughly a fifth in 1990 (21.6%).

Muslims make up only about 2% of the population in China, but because the country is so populous, its Muslim population is expected to be the 19th largest in the world in 2030.

The report includes interactive graphics and sortable tables.