spreading the word

A little-known fact: Hinduism is the fastest-growing religion in both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

Hinduism is also the fastest growing religion in Ireland and Italy.

It is common enough knowledge that Islam is growing massively in India. Sure, the alarmist concerns about Muslims overtaking Hindus are overblown, but the religion is still expanding significantly in India – as evidence by the Pew Research Centre's conclusion that by 2050, India will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world. Beyond India too, Islam's ranks are swelling. But what that same report also shows is that Hinduism happens to be the fastest growing religion for a very motley set of countries.

Reddit user KaliKwad took the data from the Pew Research Centre's The Future of World Religions report, and turned it into a map of the world's fastest-growing religions.

Relative numbers

The map is based on relative, not absolute, numbers, so the religion picked is the one that will have the biggest jump in its share of each country's population. As an example, Islam happens to be the fastest growing religion in India, but its relative share of the total population is only going from 14.4% to 18.4% by 2050, not even coming close to challenging Hinduism's hold on the nation.

With that caveat aside, here is the map for Asia.


Kalikwad/Reddit


As is evident, Islam is growing fast everywhere. The report in fact predicts that, by 2050, Muslims will surpass Hindus as the largest religious group in the India-Pacific region from having just 24.3% share of the population up to nearly 30% mid-way through the century.

But Hinduism is also growing in unusual places. Again, remember, its relative growth outside India is tiny in absolute numbers – but that still means there are some countries that will have double the number of Hindus by 2050 than they did in 2010. In Saudi Arabia, Hindus currently make up about 1.1% of the population, a number that is expected to go up to 1.6% by 2050, largely on the back of migration. The report suggests nearly 1 million Hindus are expected to move to a different region over the next four decades.

The growth in Pakistan, however, is a slightly different matter and, ironically, is the result of a metric that often turns into an allegation in India: the fertility rate of Hindus. While the fertility rate of all religions globally is about 2.5 children per woman, and just 2.1 in the Asia-Pacific region, the Hindu fertility rate in Pakistan is 3.2, which happens to be the exact same as the Muslim fertility rate in India.

The third country in Asia where Hinduism is growing is Thailand, where it is slated to go up from 0.1% of the Thai population to 0.2% by 2050.

Europe happens to be even more interesting, for Hindus.


Kalikwad/Reddit


The four countries that turn up here are Ireland, Belgium, Italy and Greece, all places where Hindus are expected to grow primarily because of migration and the resulting fertility rate. This becomes even more significant because of Europe's population will actually be contracting by about 6% over the next 40 years, making the Hindu growth of 93% seem much larger even if the absolute numbers end up being still very small.

Buddhism, another religion that originates in India, is also growing tremendously quickly in parts of Europe, taking the top spot in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria.

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