India will be home to the largest Muslim population in the world by 2050 and Hinduism will become the world's third largest religion, according to a 'Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050' study done by the Pew Research Center.
Though the Hindu majority in India will be retained, the country will surpass Indonesia which currently has the largest Muslim population. The study projected Muslims to grow faster than the world’s overall population growth.
“By 2050, the study projects India to be the country with the largest number of Muslims – more than 310 million – even though Hindus will continue to make up a solid majority of India’s population (77%), while Muslims remain a minority (18%),” according to the study as quoted by Hindustan Times .
In an attempt to explain the reason behind the Muslim population rise in the world, the center pointed out higher fertility rates among the followers of Islam.
The fertility rate of Muslim community is 3.1 children per woman while the Hindu community's fertility rate is 2.4 children per woman. It has also found that the number of Muslims would double in Europe by 2050 and will outnumber the Christians by 2070.
As per the study, Hindus and Christians are expected to rise in numbers as well. By 2050, the number of total Hindu population in the world will be 14.9%, Christians will be 31.4% and Muslims will make up by 29.7%.
Interestingly, the population of atheists i.e. those who do not believe in the existence of a God, and irreligious i.e. people averse to religion, is projected to go up in U.S. and France, but on the whole will be on a decline. Currently, 2% to 8% of the world's population is comprised of atheists while irreligious people constitute around 10% to 20%.
"Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion – though increasing in countries such as the United States and France – will make up a declining share of the world’s total population," the study says.