The Pew Research Center says Muslims are soon to rival Christians as the largest religious group worldwide, with higher birth rates among Muslim families predicted to increase the Muslim population to a number ties with Christians by 2060.
Pew said in a study released Wednesday that by 2060 Muslims will make up about 31 percent of the world population, with about 3 billion people, while Christians will make up about 32 percent, or 3.1 billion people.
A Pew study two years ago found that Islam is the world's fastest growing religion and could overtake Christianity by the end of this century. The analysis is based on 2,500 census, survey and population registers from around the world.
Pew experts say they allowed for conversion rates, but maintain that birth and death rates will have a far larger impact on religious populations.
Other religious groups such as Hindus and Jews are expected to grow to larger total numbers by 2060, but not at pace with total population growth. And the number of people who profess no religion is expected to shrink, given current birth rates.