Amid widely different estimates of the size of the world’s Muslim population, a new demographic study has determined that followers of Islam represent nearly a quarter of the world’s current population, with nearly two-thirds of them living in Asia.
The study, released October 7 and conducted by the Washington-based Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that 1.57 billion people are Muslims out of an estimated total world population of 6.8 billion.
Estimates of the global Muslim population have ranged from 1 billion to 1.8 billion people, according to Pew, a nonpartisan organization. Islam is the second largest religious tradition after Chris tianity, which is believed to have some 2 billion adherents.
The study, researchers said, is based on what it called “the best available data” for 232 countries and territories, including analyses of 1,500 sources, census reports, demographic studies and general population surveys.