Sunday, October 11, 2009

Global Muslim Population is 1.57 billion

   A newly released demographic study estimates the global Muslim population at 1.57 billion, accounting for nearly 23 percent of the current total world population of 6.6 billion. India has the third largest number of Muslims (161 Million) after Indonesia (203 Million) and Pakistan (174 Million), says the study conducted by Washington based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
   India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with 480 million Muslims, make up for nearly a third of the world’s Muslim population (31 percent). The study titled Mapping the Global Muslim Population, claims to offer the most up to date and fully sourced estimates of the size and distribution of the worldwide Muslim population, including sectarian identity. One of its key findings is that more than 300 million Muslims, or one fifth of the world’s Muslim population, live in countries where Islam is not majority religion. “India, for example, has the third largest population of Muslims worldwide. China has more Muslims than Syria while Russia is home to more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined,” it says.
   China’s Muslim population is put at 22 million and Russia’s at 16 million. Of the total Muslim population, 87-90 percent is Sunnis while 10-13 percent is Shias. Most Shias (68-80 percent) live in just four countries – Iran, Pakistan, India and Iraq.
   While pew claims a more definitive estimate of 1.57 billion Muslims, previously published estimates have ranged widely, from 1 billion to 1.8 billion. Pew says its estimate is based on “the best available data for 232 countries and territories”

   The findings will form the basis for another Pew study to be released next year that proposes to estimate growth rates among Muslim populations worldwide and project Muslim populations into the future.


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