Babies born to Muslims to exceed Christian births, study predicts

Palestinians pray at the al-Khaldi mosque in Gaza City during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Story highlights

  • Study: Babies born to Muslims will exceed babies born to Christians in 20 years
  • World population expected to increase by 32% to 9.6 billion by 2060

(CNN)Within the next 20 years, the number of babies born to Muslim parents is expected to surpass births to Christians -- and all other religions -- according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

The study confirms previous research predicting that Muslims will be the fastest-growing religious group during the next few decades.
In recent years, more babies have been born to Christians than any other religion. However, between 2010 and 2015, births to Muslims comprised an estimated 31% of all babies born worldwide, far surpassing the current Muslim share of people of all ages in 2015 -- estimated at about 24%.
This is not to say Christianity is becoming less popular. The global Christian population has continued to grow, but at a slower rate. In the last few years, 33% of babies worldwide were born to Christians, while the total Christian share of the world's population was 31% in 2015.

    Christianity, Islam growing in developing world

    While there will be slightly more babies born to Muslims than Christians between 2030 and 2035 -- according to projections -- the total Christian population will still be larger.
    The Muslim baby boom will be largely dictated by regional trends in age and fertility. Places with older populations and low fertility such as China, Japan, Europe, and North America have larger religiously unaffiliated populations -- while Islam and Christianity are growing in developing regions with higher birth rates and falling infant mortality rates such as countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
    The world's population is expected to increase by 32% to 9.6 billion by 2060. The number of Muslims -- which have the youngest population and highest fertility rate among the major world religions -- is expected to increase by 70%.
    The number of Christians is projected to increase by 34%, faster than the overall global population but significantly more slowly than Muslims. By 2060, Muslims are expected to make up 31% of the world's population, and Christians will make up 32%.