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Islam Outpaces Catholic Growth

Taken from the Statistical Table on Global Missions
Prepared by Prof. David Barrett


Islam is the fastest growing major religion, with a five-fold increase from a population of 200 million in 1900. In 1970 there were 554 million Moslems in the world, and 666 million Catholics. By 2000, Islam had 1.2 billion adherents and Catholicism almost 1.1 billion. In 2025, it is estimated that 1.3 billion Catholic will find themselves in a world with 1.8 billion Muslims.

There were 558 million Christians in the world in 1900, which grew to about 2 billion by 2000. But as a percentage of world population, Christianity has dropped from 34.5 percent in 1900 to an estimated 33.1 percent today.

Around half of the world's 2 billion Christian are Catholic. The next greatest number are denominationally unaffiliated "Independent Church" with some 400 million members. Also, there are 217 million Orthodox believers, 350 million denominationally-affiliated Protestants, and another 80 million in the Anglican communion.