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WASHINGTON, April 3. /TASS/. Christians will remain the largest religious group over the next four decades but by 2050 the number of Muslims will equal the number of Christians, the Washington-based Pew Research Center said in a new report.
After 2070 "the number of Muslims would exceed the number of Christians," the report says.
In 2010 the number of Christians stood at 2.2 billion, or 31% of the world's population, while Muslims accounted for 23% of the world's population (1.6 billion people).
However, by 2050 "Muslims - a comparatively youthful population with high fertility rates - are projected to increase by 73%," the report says. "The number of Christians also is projected to rise, but more slowly, at about the same rate (35%) as the global population overall."
As a result, according to the Pew Research projections, by 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30% of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31%).
The Pew research predicts that in Europe the Muslim share of the population is expected to increase from 5.9% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2050
Christians are projected to drop below 50% of the population in a number of countries, including France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.