April 21, 2015

By 2050, India to have world’s largest populations of Hindus and Muslims

In the coming decades, India will have the distinction of having the largest populations of two of the three largest religions in the world – Islam and Hinduism – according to new religious projections data from Pew Research Center.

India is already home to most of the world’s Hindus. In 2010, 94% of the world’s Hindus lived in India, and this is expected to remain true in 2050, when 1.3 billion Hindus are projected to live in the country.

But India also is expected have 311 million Muslims in 2050 (11% of the global total), making it the country with the largest population of Muslims in the world. Currently, Indonesia has the world’s largest number of Muslims.

Population Growth of the World's Largest Religions in IndiaMuslims are expected to grow faster than Hindus because they have the youngest median age and the highest fertility rates among major religious groups in India. In 2010, the median age of Indian Muslims was 22, compared with 26 for Hindus and 28 for Christians. Likewise, Muslim women have an average of 3.2 children per woman, compared with 2.5 for Hindus and 2.3 for Christians.

Due to these factors, India’s Muslim community will expand faster than its Hindu population, rising from 14.4% in 2010 to 18.4% in 2050. But, even with this increase, Hindus will make up more than three-in-four Indians (76.7%) in 2050. Indeed, the number of Hindus in India will still be larger than the five largest Muslim populations in the world’s biggest Muslim countries (India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria and Bangladesh) combined.

India also has a number of smaller religious minorities. In 2010, approximately 2.5% of the country’s population was Christian, including members of Scheduled Castes (historically referred to as Untouchables or Dalits) who sometimes identify as Hindu when completing official forms. Christians are expected to make up 2.2% of India’s population in 2050.

Religious Composition of IndiaReligious turmoil (between Muslims and Hindus, but also involving Sikhs, Christians and others) has long been a fact of life in India. The year the country won its independence from Britain, the Indian subcontinent was partitioned along religious lines, into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Even though the separation was intended to ease religious tensions, it led to a spasm of violence that left up to a million dead and more than 10 million displaced.

In the nearly 70 years since independence, religious violence has claimed thousands more lives, including that of modern India’s founder, Mahatma Gandhi, as well as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. A recent Pew Research Center report on religious restrictions found India to have one of the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion in the world.

Even India’s current prime minister, Narendra Modi, has been dogged by allegations of religious intolerance, stemming from anti-Muslim violence in the state of Gujarat in 2002, which according to some estimates killed as many as 2,000 people. Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat at the time, has been accused of not doing enough to stop the killing because he is leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party and the violence was perpetrated by Hindus against Muslims.

Correction: An earlier version of this post described Narendra Modi as a former governor of Gujarat. He was formerly chief minister of the state.

Topics: Hindus and Hinduism, Muslims and Islam, Population Projections, Religion and Society

  1. Photo of Conrad Hackett

    is a demographer focusing on religion at Pew Research Center.

52 Comments

  1. Arai Puyoo4 months ago

    This is not true according to the growth rate, christian growth rate is more higher than the other religions. Other religion has converted to christian is very high compared to the others religion. Therefore in my view point is that the will be the highest position in the world.

  2. Anonymous5 months ago

    I am a muslim boy,a proud Indian.Love my country alot and never want to leave it.Want to live a peacefull life .But I don’t understad ,why is there so hate against muslims,all the fatal attacks done to india and other countries where done by some number of different groups , which still tend to prosper , I have read tha Quran,allhamdolillah,and not once it says to kill someone or to make muslims arrogant and dagerous. If someone is muslim ,he does only what Quran says,so calling every muslim a THREAT is an example of people mind full of hatred.
    I wish all the people given these hatred comments , they become peacefull and start to love their fellow humans irrespective of their religion and understand who is right and whom to support .
    Insh’Allah there will be a better,peacefull future for all of us with no hatred,AMEEN.

  3. Anonymous5 months ago

    sikhs and muslims sees
    hindus as enemy

    1. Anonymous5 months ago

      I am a muslim and an proud Indian , I don’t think so.

    2. Anonymous4 months ago

      I am a Sikh i never see Hindu. Or Muslim as enemy because of some people u can’t say that any one religion is enemy of other religion

  4. Anonymous5 months ago

    the government have to teach the primary & high school .what is humanity? what is religion? and where it’s came from? so every up coming young one have a peace full life.
    after knowing this answers. because know one know’s who are you after death.

  5. Anonymous6 months ago

    Dear Conrad Hackett,
    Can you suggest then which place will be safe and secure for Hindus after Muslim population grows in India? I’m really worried about this question from last many years. So, that I can make my family secured.

  6. Gayatri8 months ago

    The country was not partitioned into muslim Pakistan and Hindu india. It was partitioned into Muslim Pakistan and secular india. Millions of muslims stayed back in India and chose not to move. The other thing is that journalists must be fair to offer both sides of a story when we talk about the Indian prime minister Mr modi. The supreme Court acquitted Mr. Modi of criminal intent or criminal negligence in the Gujarat riots.

  7. vinod kumar8 months ago

    Around 3.3 Million Hindus are being converted into Christianity every year to an estimate. I can personally see this trend on ground. Due to caste based reservations and for social benefits people are not disclosing them as Christians . Thousands of western funded charities are doing great job.

  8. Krishna Rao8 months ago

    Another important point is, the muslim population is broken into to main parts:

    about 34 to 38 percent is Shia

    about 38 percent is sunni

    about 24 percent is other.

  9. Krishna Rao8 months ago

    This is ridiculous. There will probably be a world war before any of this happens.

  10. mihir11 months ago

    What is the gurantee that there will no nuclear war by then and world would exist would there in Islamic state who are obsessed with n clear weapons could prove disastrous for muslims themsekves on account of radioactive contamination which will destroy environment, crops, water cause diseases like cancer destroy birds, animals increase temperature by atleast 1000 degrees. What is the gurantee non Muslims will become fidayeen type and destroy muslims out of hatred

  11. Right Wing Hindu12 months ago

    Actually about 10-12% of Indians are Christians. But they still use Hindu names. They are the biggest enemy of Hinduism in India. Much More than these Muslims.

    1. Truth seeker10 months ago

      Hello,
      Mr Right Wing Hindu why do you think christians are a threat.I just cant understand why you dont have faith in your own relegion.If you were a good hindu you wont be affected by this.10-12% are christians seriously!. are you out of your mind government officials are not fools whie taking census.
      Why do you fear ,christians are also leaving christianity whole throughout the world.It is a personal choice.No one is stopping them .You people dont have faith in your own religion that is the reason why you are commenting like this.First come out of the web of religious extremist views.

      Stop saying my relegion is the best.Every relegion is just a way of life.
      Humanity is the only relegion.

      1. Krishna Rao8 months ago

        Mr. Truth seeker, why are you afraid of Christians leaving Christianity? Why don’t you live your life and let the Christian leave Christianity? Why do you bother about it.

      2. vinod kumar8 months ago

        Christians are regarded as BC category caste in India and do not come under caste based reservations and the missionaries are concentrated on ST, SC poor categories who are under reservation net and are converted. Due to several advantages from government, nobody would like to change their social status and practice Christianity. As a mater of fact, Portuguese killed millions of Hindus and forced to convert, British destroyed thousands of temples and rest ruined under Muslim rule. Still we stand because of our faith is stronger.

        we live in a nation where we have all religions and we have wider prospective.

        1. Hema Teja7 months ago

          well said Mr. Vinod Kumar. And Mr.Truth seeker, Hinduism(Sanathana Dharma) is the only religion which is A WAY OF LIFE; All the other religions are the ways of a single human who found them respectively.

      3. Syed Mazharullah5 months ago

        wow super dude

  12. Indian1 year ago

    The Indians inherited these nuisance from the British, who ruled India around 200 years by the “Divide and Rule” policy.And now they accuse India of being intolerant about religion.There are so many states in India where all the religion lives like true brothers and sisters.however at some point of time, things like communal violence happen.External forces are among the reasons, who truly want to destroy the communal harmony of India for their benefit.
    If Muslims and Muslim countries of world feel that India is not safe for them, then this projection is probably meaningless.

  13. baba1 year ago

    if particular consitituency come with muslim majority they try to split the consitutency in 2 part making muslim vote splitted. this is strategy of british been deployed in india means India still rulle by western power not BJP , CONGRESS OR other parties

  14. baba1 year ago

    Indian Govt. still try to hide the real data..

    And always try to disperse or scatter muslim population in each constituency due to coming in majority at polling in election time. Govt. banned muslim to fight election except Fakhir or Govt. put some particular strategy on CHHIPA, LAKHARA, FAKIR Like type of people those can’t question for upliftment this is reality.

  15. Ashok1 year ago

    The partition of India and pakistan was not done to ease religious tensions. It was done because of the clash of ego between Jinnah and Nehru. Gandhi tried his best to sort it out, but failed.

    1. Jamal11 months ago

      Dear Ashok
      It was not ego it was superiority complex of Hindu and hate against Muslims
      now a days whatever is going on is a real face of India and our leader quaid Azam in 1947 realise it correctly.
      I am Pakistani and I am in a continuous fear of dominance of Hinduism on me by force and you shev sena attackes told me clearly that Hindu hate Muslims
      We will never accept ur dominance it worse then death because u can kill a human for an animal
      Just read GEETA clearly where Ur God SHEVA told you to kill humans brutly like Hindu kill mr ikhlaq in Delhi
      That is only one reason so don’t misguide the world and show ur real face because our decision was very much correct and we will defend it by all our means and powers and I as a Pakistani I really mean it
      I will wait for ur reply

      1. Namo Bharathaha11 months ago

        Figures. “Superiority complex of Hindus aagainst Muslims”. I dont blame you, you studied an incorrect history which absolutely vilifies Hinduism. In Geeta Shiva didnt say anything it was Krishna who said to Arjuna to destroy Adharma, Unjust Rule. I support what Shiv Sena activists did, why did your man choose Indian city of Mumbai to launch his book. Dont forget your and my ancestors were Hindus, not the Ghori and Ghazni from outside Our Indian subcontinent.

      2. Viji Prabhu11 months ago

        Mr.jamal

        How many pakistani hindu lives safely in pakistan and how they are treated in your country !! Why your country treating 2nd citizens of pakistan and still they are asking consider we also pakistani !! But your country not giving proper response !! Atleast we respect muslims neither you dnt respect !! We gave equal rights to minority religion neither your country didnt give !! So being a pakistani hindu they are ashamed !! You all treating like dogs !! Several attacks against hindu in pakistan !! Everyone know very well about pakistan also afganistan !! Don’t just hide your racism Becz we all know very well

  16. Mr X1 year ago

    I want to clarify that Mr Modi hasn’t been found guilty for 2002 riot by the supreme court.Moreover according to some facts India is the most peaceful nation and has never induldge in any war without any reason. And about the 2002 godhra riot people from both Hindu and Muslim communities were killed. There was a curfew announced as soon as the riot broke out and Mr Modi took all the required steps to handle the situation. It was an unfortunate incident in the Indian history. We Indians are secular and condemn such incidents

    1. Mohamed Thariq1 year ago

      Its a big lie Mr X. A senior Gujarat cadre police officer, Sanjiv Rajendra Bhatt, has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that Chief Minister Narendra Modi directed top police officers on the eve of the 2002 pogrom to “allow the Hindus to vent their anger” and “teach a lesson” to Muslims. Mr. Bhatt also accused the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team of trying to “cover up the larger conspiracy and official orchestration” behind the riots.

      1. john1 year ago

        Who started the riot???

        1. rational Dude11 months ago

          John: Muslims started it, they locked up unarmed hindu pilgrims in a train coach and set it on fire burning alive 58 nnocent hindu men women children.

          When media showed pictures, riots started

      2. Suresh1 year ago

        Mr Mohamed

        War started by Muslim not by Hindu
        If ended by us and won so you blame us

        I you feel as much guilt then ask your people why these often start fighting.

        One more thing you always cheat

        It’s different that every Muslim is not terrorist

        But its true every terrorist is a Muslim

        And one more thing check history your all leaders have rulled on tallent of cheating not the tallent of power

        If my word hurts you I am sorry but its true

        1. Comrade1 year ago

          Suresh, Time to stop these stupid arguments. Who killed Mahatma Ghandi? Muslims or former RSS leader Godse? Who was responsible for Mekka Masjid blast, muslims or Rss leader Swami Asiimananda? Who has done the Melgave bombings, Muslims? or Pragya Sing? Dont compare with other countries.. In India the main terrorists are from Hindus..

          1. Akshay12 months ago

            Please talk after you do some proper research. Ghodse was not a member of RSS. What happened in JK ?? N wat blasts are you talking of?? Almost all blasts, not just in india but t
            In the whole world are by muslims. If Hindus had even half the arrogance and violent extremism as Muslims have there would not have been a single Muslim in India today.. Please go out and see what is happening in the world. Who all the terrorists are..

          2. jignesh12 months ago

            RAM TEMPLE WAS DEMOLISHED by muslim ruler / muslims invaded india and killed cunningly indian rulers like british and not bravely and ruled — LOTS OF HINDUS VERE CONVERTED TO ISLAM . IT IS TRUE THAT Muslim rulers haven’t done any justice to hindu community . WHAT ABOUT KASHMIRI Pandits who were kicked out in their own country by muslims and govt kept quiet to avoid any communal riots . who is supporting the terrorists internally from india – what about hate speaches given by muslim leaders openly in india AND govt not taking any actions .
            History clealy indicates India was a prosporous and peaceful nation before muslims destroyed everything – and today also same is happening all over the world .-This is sufficient to prove .

        2. Anonymous5 months ago

          I agree with you

  17. Rajyavardhan1 year ago

    Hi Conrad, the projection of Hindus in 2050 is much doubtful as most of the new generation opting for 1 or 2 kid. Can you tell which part/state of India have the majority as Muslim and will result in another partition of India. This is just for precautionary step for me as I am fearing of migration of my family again. Thank you in advance.

    1. Anonymous4 months ago

      Brother, I am a Muslim and an Indian. Dont worry our India will not be divided again.

      1. Basavaraju Madaiah4 months ago

        But surely after some decades it will became another Kashmir or West Bengal

  18. akhil1 year ago

    I like to have a clarification made as far as the Modi is concerned. He has been found not guilty by following the present secular justice system that prevails in India which i am not sure if would be replaced by shariya. And always it’s seen as the muslims are the oppressed ones, Seldom does the media show or declare about the Hindus who were burnt alive by the muslims before the violence started in Gujarat. Muslims get offended easily and take out violence and instigate when some one retaliates with force against the muslim violence its human rights violation, and out of the 2000 people who were killed includes hindus also. And as far as the media is concerned it only shows the muslims who are killed by the hindus and never are the other way around.

  19. Peter Aremone1 year ago

    Dalits, SC/ST’s are not Christians – they are Hindus & Tribals, mostly sidelined in mainstream Hindu society & primary victims of Christian Terrorism in India by Christian Terrorist groups like NDFB(s), NLFT, NSCN(IM) who have perpetrated ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of poor Hindu Dalits, Tribals etc & currently fighting the Indian Army as of 2015. The terrorists are supported by the Baptist Church of India with the stated goal of causing Holocaust of Hindus & Polytheists (including Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Zoroastrians) in India.

  20. Nasser1 year ago

    Hello Conrad, can you please explain how countries with larger Muslim populations such as Indonesia (approx. 240 million Muslims) and Pakistan (approx. 200 million) will fall behind India’s Muslim population ? Muslims in Pakistan have a higher birth rate and should logically have a higher Muslim population. Thanks in advance for your response.

    1. Conrad Hackett1 year ago

      We estimate that in 2010, there were 209 million Muslims in Indonesia, 176 million in India and 167 million in Pakistan. We discuss the topic of whether India or Pakistan had more Muslims in 2010 here.

      The count of Muslims in India and Pakistan is expected to surpass Indonesia due largely to relatively low fertility rates among Muslims in Indonesia. You can compare estimated fertility rates in each country using the links below.

      Indonesia

      Pakistan

      India

      Muslims in India and Pakistan currently have similar fertility rates. We rely on the United Nations’ medium variant trajectory for future fertility rates in each country. Pakistan currently has higher overall fertility than India but Pakistan’s overall fertility is expected to decline at a faster rate in the decades ahead.

  21. Devre Gati1 year ago

    Violence was perpetrated when train coach carrying more than 50 Hindus were burnt by Muslims. Also, Supreme Court of India has absolved Mr.Modi of all charges. According to official report more than 250 Hindus and 700 Muslims were killed. Please get your facts right.

    1. leftist1 year ago

      Do u believe in official figures in India? Its always a big joke and slap on secularismic democracy. Unofficial figures mentioned holds true.

      1. Rahul Ghandi11 months ago

        No official figures are reliable. Unoffi,ial figures are propaganda, can be anything depending on who you ask

    2. Taha1 year ago

      The train was burnt by criminals (their being Muslim is secondary in this respect although it is certainly relevant) and the violence was perpetuated by Hindus against those civilians who were completely oblivious and innocent of the crime committed by a few vicious beings. Does Indian law state that a group of people should be lynched because one person or two people committed a crime without the consensus of the whole group? Going by that logic, should ALL the Hindus be put behind bars just because TWO Hindus raped Nirbhaya?

  22. P V Ariel1 year ago

    Hi Conrad,
    Thanks for sharing this statistics and report.
    A serious thing to note is religious intolerance by the Indian leaders!
    The key word here Religious Intolerance
    Have a good day
    Keep sharing
    Philip Ariel
    Philipscom

  23. sujnya1 year ago

    Profound, except the thing that Gandhi was killed on the ground of religious violence. Assassination was based on the allegation of having nationalistic values. Godse was primarily opposed of the idea to divide India on the basis of religion and further objected supporting the divided nation with funds, etc.

    Modi was alleged to be involved in being silent during Gujarat riots of 2002. Moreover, speculations ran that he articulated the whole barbarous episode, eventually the Supreme Court observed contrary and gave him clean chit.

    The research points immaculate references, but while reading with regards to Modi, it tunes to believe that the then CM of Gujarat and now the PM of the world’s largest democracy himself killed the innocents. Would be grateful if the words are reframed in context of the verdict of the SC. Thanks.

  24. Jayson Rex1 year ago

    If Pew’s projections are correct, it is advisable not to invest in India since a new war between Hindus and Muslims should be expected in the near future. Pakistan will naturally intervene and this might be the start of a nuclear war in Asia.

    1. Gary1 year ago

      pakistan establishment is crooked but not stupid.
      If they intervene using nuclear weapons, a part of India may be lost but the whole of pakistan will become hiroshima & nagasaki except much worse.

  25. javed khan1 year ago

    thanks.
    i gone through ur research on ” by 2050 indian ppln….”.
    thanks for giving such projections which are very needful for understanding the trend.

  26. anonmyous@anonymous.com1 year ago

    Modi was not Governor of Gujarat. He was Chief Minister. Governor is different thing and Chief minister is different.

    1. adnan ahmed12 months ago

      hiiiiiiiiii plz dont tell about muslims and hindus tell about yours self yaar what r u telling and b positive any thing and be friendly any one we r a humans not a animals ok b positive and leave this comments give a like plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz