Saturday, August 21, 2010

How many Muslims are there?

This is a very brief post. How many Muslims are there? Everyone seems to have a different number. Is this number being inflated sometimes? Maybe it's just notoriously hard to estimate something like this.

Anyway, on Wikipedia, they give a range of 1.2 to 1.57 billion Muslims. This is a difference of 370 million. Not a small difference. It also said that this represented about 25% of the world population of 6.8 billion, but this is patently wrong. Even if we use the high estimate of 1.57 billion, the percentage would be 23%, and if we get the average of those two numbers, the percentage is 20%. I changed the article to reflect this.

But even this upper estimate is not high enough for some people. I am watching Larry King Live and Russell Simmons is on and he claims there are 2 billion Muslims worldwide.

When I searched for "number of muslims" in Google, half of the first page contained links to pages promoting Islam, compared to 2 out of 10 when searching for "number of christians". Just from my own observation, it seems many Muslim websites attempt to report the highest numbers they can.

The estimate of the number of Muslims worldwide varies from 1.2 billion to 2 billion, a huge difference in numbers. Compare this to estimates for the number of Catholics. The official Vatican count on Catholics is 1.147 billion. Not between 1 and 1.5 billion, for example. This may be because the Catholic Church is very organized compared to other religions. Overall, it is estimated that there are 2.1 billion Christians in the World. Statistics show that for the past 100 years, around 33% of the world has been Christian. This estimate is well established and accepted. There is not one estimate for 1.5 billion Christians and another estimate for 2.5 billion.

My question is, why are the estimates for Muslims so variable?


  1. What happens with the number of Muslims out there is that they count by country, for example, they consider Morocco a Muslim country and they count all the population of Morocco and they take them as Muslims but there are Catholics, Christians, etc that are included as if they were Muslims... that is why the numbers are different depending on the source

  2. Always,the western medias try to underestimate the muslim population. According to real calculation by taking all the countries, we can easily estimate the muslim population in 2011 to 1.85 billion, which is 27% of world population. It is projected that, if the current trend continue, Muslims will make up a majority in 2035 with 30% of world population. At that time the Christian population will decline to 29%.

  3. Could you provide sources for your claims Anonymous user? How can we "easily" estimate the number to be 1.85 billion? I must disagree with your view of the media. It is not my opinion that the media tries to downplay the number of Muslims. My main issue is with the variability of the estimates of the number of Muslims. When there is an estimate range of 800 million people, that's a lot!

  4. That is not true. Western Media say there are more muslims than they really are. This is true. Not the other way around. They downplay Christianity. The person above got is sources mixed up. 6 million muslims convert to Christianity every year but many fear to go public. 15,000 muslims in France convert to Christianity every year as well as large number of muslims all over Europe.

  5. well if u understand what muslim means then i think u can question the stats . To enlighten u its simply means one who submits to the will of god . Now re calculate all the people that submit to one god and then question the numbers . Islam means the belief that there is only one god . If u had to look at it from a logical view and if u believe in one god as jesus preached then u might reconsider your opinion and god willing follow jesus and the 10 commandments and if u do that then soon u shall call yourself a muslim because jesus never proclaimed to be god and in no bible does he say "i am your god worship me "instead he said our father who art in heaven hello be thy name in thy kingdom come . . .
    So my point is that if jesus submitted to god then he is muslim and whoever else follows him is muslim . So attempt a recount and lets see what number u get . May the peace and blessings of allah (God) be upon u . Ameen (amen)

  6. i forgot to mention that we muslims follow the gospel that was revealed to jesus (pbuh) and we follow his teachings and his example 100% so if u wanna calculate the numbers using the followers of jesus as a messenger and a prophet of almighty God then i bet u that we muslims out number the christians . Islam has been around since adam (pbuh) set foot on this earth and he is muslim too . I think one must look at the numbers between the believers and non believers and by the grace of god i can say that the believers out number the non believers .

  7. I think christianity was founded before islam but I might be wrong as I am agnostic

  8. I'm a islamic missionary.

    There is about 1.8 up to 2.1 billion of muslims in world(2013), counting all sects and groups like sunni,shia,bahai,Ahmadiyya ,qadanis,taliban,kadajaritas,ismaelitas etc

    And counting who practices ou no pratices islamic religion, but declare himself as a muslim.

    Changing the number of muslims 'cos some research count only sunny and shia that live in islamic world(about 1.5-1.6 billion) leave out others groups.

    Only Ahmadiyya islam got about 30-50 millions of members around world.

    In china there is 50 up to 100 millions of muslims.