Islam, the second largest religion in the world, has the lowest median age as half of the Muslims are 23-year-old or younger, compared to 28 for the whole world population, a recent study says.
A comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates that there are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84% of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.
The study found that there were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, or 23 per cent of its population. It was based on how people identify themselves in terms of religion and racial ethnicity. Although it is contested that not everyone may be what they identify themselves as especially when it comes to racial ethnicity.
It observed, “The overwhelming majority (87-90 percent) is Sunnis, about 10-13 percent are Shia Muslims.”
The demographic study – based on analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers – finds 2.2 billion Christians (32% of the world’s population), 1.6 billion Muslims (23%), 1 billion Hindus (15%), nearly 500 million Buddhists (7%) and 14 million Jews (0.2%) around the world as of 2010.
In addition, more than 400 million people (6%) practice various folk or traditional religions, including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions and Australian aboriginal religions. An estimated 58 million people – slightly less than 1% of the global population – belong to other religions, including the Baha’i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism, to mention just a few.
An age breakdown showed Muslims had the lowest median age at 23 years, compared to 28 for the whole world population. The median age highlights the population bulge at the point where half the population is above and half below that number.
“Muslims are going to grow as a share of the world’s population and an important part of that is this young age structure,” Hackett said.
Global Christianity’s median age is 30 and Hinduism’s 26. With a median age of 34, the growth prospects for religiously unaffiliated people are weak, the study showed. However, the study says the people with no religious affiliation make up the third-largest global group, placing after Christians and Muslims and just before Hindus.