This trend is even more dramatic in New Zealand, where there will be a 150 per cent rise in residents who adhere to Islam.
The projections, by the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, have been calculated using fertility, mortality and migration rates.
But while the study confirms the continued spread of the Islamic faith — Muslims will comprise 26.4 per cent of the world’s population of 8.3 billion in 2030 — it anticipates that this growth will level off.
As living standards rise, more Muslims gravitate towards cities and women gain access to education and employment, the fertility rates in these communities will fall.
Bob Birrell, a sociologist and immigration expert from Monash University, said that while Middle East migration had plateaued, the forecast rises were “very plausible”. Family reunion, the refugee program and high levels of net migration would contribute to the growth, especially with the pressures to migrate in countries such as Indonesia, Pakistan and Malaysia, he said.
The Muslim population in Australia would still remain relatively low. At present, Muslims comprise 1.9 per cent of all Australians. That figure will rise to 2.8 per cent.
“It needs to be looked at in context,” Dr Birrell said. “The main challenge is that at least some of the sources of Islamic migrants have had relatively low English and job skills, and they tend to concentrate in particular areas — mostly Sydney’s west, but also Melbourne — so you get concentrations of disadvantage.
“From the point of view of integration, that can be a hurdle.”
The research also projected that more than six out of 10 Muslims would live in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030, with Indonesia being overtaken by Pakistan as the most populous Muslim nation in the world.