Global research outfit Pew Research Center has predicted that India will replace Indonesia, with currently the world’s largest Muslim population of 311 millions or 11% of global total, while Hindus will be about 1.3 billion (130 crore).
However, Muslims are expected to grow faster than Hindus as they have the youngest median age and the highest fertility rates. In 2010, the median age of Indian Muslims was 22 and Hindus was 26 and for Christians 28. An average Muslim woman has an average of 3.2 children, compared with 2.5 for Hindus and 2.3 for Christians, the report said.
Indian Muslims may grow faster than Hindus, from 14.4% in 2010 to 18.4% in 2050 but Hindus will still be more than 3-in-4 Indians (76.7%) and they account for the five largest Muslim populated countries – India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria and Bangladesh put together.
In 2010, Christians constituted approximately 2.5% and they may make up 2.2% by 2050. The report also mentioned the religious strife in India since its Independence in 1947 and the death of Mahatma Gandhi and late PM Indira Gandhi on similar grounds.
Another recent Pew Research Center report said religious restrictions found in India will be of the highest levels with social hostilities in the world. It referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who it said has been dogged by allegations of religious intolerance, stemming from anti-Muslim violence in the state of Gujarat as then state Chief Minister in 2002, that left 2,000 people killed.
At the global level, the Pew Research center’s report said from 1.6 billion in 2010 constituting 23%, Muslims will exceed the number of Christians by the end of the century, if current demographic trends continue. , the number of Muslims is expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century.