According to its calculations, Muslims currently represent 23% (1.57 billion) of the world population of 6.8 billion. Muslims reside on all of the five of the world's inhabited continents. As well, 1.26 billion (80%) of the world’s Muslims are living in countries where they are the majority religion. Greater than 300 million of Muslims (or one-fifth of the global Muslim population) reside in countries where Islam is not the primary religion.
Two-thirds of all Muslims live in 10 countries, six in Asia, three in North Africa, and one in Sub-Saharan Africa. Of the total Muslim population, 154 million and 200 million (10-13%) are Shia Muslims and the rest 87-90% are Sunni Muslims.
The largest region for Muslim residence is the Asia-Pacific region which holds 62% of all Muslims worldwide. The six Asian countries with the largest Muslim numbers have the following individual populations: Indonesia (203 million), Pakistan (174 million), India (161 million), Bangladesh (145 million), Iran (74 million) and Turkey (74 million) and they form 53% of the global Muslim population.
About half of the Muslim population within Asia lives in South Asia (50%) and the remainder are somewhat equally divided between Southeast-East Asia (26%) and Central-Western Asia (24%). Around 116 million and 147 million Shias live in Asia (which makes up 75% of the world’s Shia population and 12-15% of the total Muslim population in the Asia-Pacific region).
The Middle East-North Africa region has 315 million Muslims, 20% of the world’s Muslim population. About 79 million (25% of Muslims in this region) reside in Egypt. More than half of the countries in this region have populations that are 95% Muslim or greater: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Western Sahara and Yemen.
North Africa has three of the largest Muslim populations in the Middle East-North Africa region: Egypt (79 million), Algeria (34 million) and Morocco (32 million). The Palestinian territories are home to about 4 million Muslims. Israel is also home to roughly 1 million Muslims, which is slightly larger than Qatar and greater in proportion to Eastern European countries with similiar populations. A quarter of the world’s Shias (36 million to 44 million) live in the Middle East-North Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa has about 241 million Muslims, 15% of the world’s Muslim population. Nigeria, with 78 million Muslims, has the largest Muslim population in this region. About 32% of Muslims in Sub-Saharan Africa live in Nigeria. Western Africa is the only area in Sub-Saharan Africa with a Muslim majority. The southern part of Africa has the smallest Muslim population.
Europe has about 38 million Muslims, 5% of its population. European Muslims make up about 2% of the world’s Muslim population. European Muslims are concentrated in Eastern and Central Europe. Russia has the largest Muslim population in Europe with 16 million Muslims. 40% of European Muslims live in Russia. Germany is home to more than 4 million Muslims, the largest in Western Europe. Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon and about the same as the Americas. Germany is amongst the top 10 countries with the largest number of Muslims living as a minority population. The European countries with the highest concentration of Muslims are located in Eastern and Central Europe: Kosovo (90% Muslim), Albania (80%), Bosnia-Herzegovina (40% Muslim) and Republic of Macedonia (33% Muslim).
Of the 4.6 million Muslims in the Americas, 2.5 million live in the United States but make up only 0.8% of the total population. In contrast, 2% of Canadians (or 700,000 people) are Muslims. With 16%, Suriname is the country in this continent with the largest Muslim population percentage. Argentina is home to the largest number of Muslims in South America: 800,000.
Iran has 73,777,000 and Turkey has 73,619,000 Muslims that each make up 4.7% of the total world Muslim population. The addition of these two countries to the Middle-East North Africa Region instead of the Asia-Pacific region would mean the Asia-Pacific total would decrease from 61.9% to 52.5% and the Middle-East North-Africa region would make up 29.5% from 20.1% of the total Muslim population. Since there are 66 million to 70 million Shias in Iran and they make up around 37% to 40% of the world Shia Muslim population having Iran in the Middle East-North Africa region would increase its Shia population percentage to 62% - 65%.
The organization does research on different religious and political issues and remains bipartisan. The presentation for this publication with its divided regions makes for the easy understanding and browsing of the demographics and statistics on Muslim population. The data collection for the “Mapping the Global Muslim Population” publication was “calculated by multiplying the United Nations’ 2009 total population estimate for each country and territory with the most recent and reliable demographic or social-scientific estimate of the percentage of Muslims in each country’s population, based on the conservative assumption that Muslim populations are growing at the same rate as each country’s general population” (Mapping the Global Muslim Population, 2009).
The sources include national censuses, demographic and health surveys, and general population surveys and studies. Calculating the Shia population is a harder task as there are no surveys determining which sect a Muslim self-identifies with. The Pew Forum therefore had to use the following for its calculations: analysis by more than 20 demographers and social scientists at universities and research centers, ethnographic analysis published by the World Religion Database and other published or frequently used estimates. A report like this helps us to understand how regions with affluent, influential or poor Muslim populations affect policy outcomes and national political worldviews. Knowing where and how many Muslims there are around the world create better understanding of Muslim culture and life.
Report found at: http://www.pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=450