Christianity and Islam Expected to Grow in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Christian and Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa is on a rise as it is declining in Europe.

Christianity has a future in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new study[/tweetit] by Pew Research Center. The religion is on a decline all over the world, especially in Europe. The reverse is true in sub-Saharan Africa, where high fertility rates and increasing church membership is driving the religion to become one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most predominant by 2060.

Christianity and Islam Expected to Grow in Sub-Saharan Africa[/tweetthis]

The research shows that by 2060, the number of Christians will increase to more than four-in-ten. In 2015, the Christian population in sub-Saharan Africa stood at 26 percent. The estimated figures set the future population of Christians at more than 40 percent. In contrast, Christian numbers are drastically falling in western countries, especially in Europe. The number of atheists, agnostics, and religious “nones”- the religiously unaffiliated, are set to see an increase. Studies on Christian demography show most Christians are aging in Europe, and with their passing away, the religion will slowly fade away as well.

The converse is true of the demographics in sub-Saharan Africa. Christians are younger in this region, indicating that the religion has a much more stable future than in Europe. There is a demographic shift in the U.S. as well, where the average age of Christians has become higher than it was a few years ago.

The same findings are true of Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa. Muslims too are projected to rise in numbers, and may even surpass the Muslim population of Middle-East North Africa. Muslim numbers also are increasing for the same reason as in the case of Christians. A young majority, high fertility rate, and low switching are the prime reasons for this increase. Muslim numbers are projected to rise worldwide as well and for the same reasons.

Although more and more people are becoming religious “nones,” the population of unaffiliated and atheistic groups is set to decline due to low birth rates. Although Muslims will make up a huge portion of the sub-Saharan population, Asia will still have half the world’s Islamic population, thanks to equally rising birth rates in Asian Muslim nations.

Buddhists and Hindus will continue to remain predominantly in Asia. Jews in Israel will increase from 42 percent today to 53 percent, mostly because of the high fertility rates among Israel’s Orthodox Jews, who make up the majority of the nation’s Jewish population. The number of Jews in the U.S. will decline from 40 percent to 32 percent.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter