WASHINGTON — Muslims will likely surpass Jews as the second largest religious group behind Christians in the U.S. by 2040, elevated by a high birth rate and immigration, the Pew Research Center said in its latest analysis.
The 3.45 million Muslims here will more than double to 8.1 million by 2050, surpassing the number of Jews along the way, Pew estimated Jan. 3. But the research center did not give a Muslim nor Jewish numerical population estimate for 2040.
“Our projections suggest that the U.S. Muslim population will grow much faster than the country’s Jewish population,” Pew said. “By 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the nation’s second-largest religious group after Christians.”
Still, Muslims will only account for 2.1 percent of the U.S. population by 2050, Pew said, compared to 1.1 percent today. Jews total 1.9 percent of the nation’s population, Pew said.
Pew based the estimates on its 2017 survey of U.S. Muslims and official Census Bureau data, and said its analysis is in response to prevailing questions amid changing U.S. immigration policy.
“Recent political debates over Muslim immigration and related issues have prompted many people to ask how many Muslims actually live in the United States,” Pew said. “But coming up with an answer is not easy, in part because the U.S. Census Bureau does not ask questions about religion, meaning there is no official government count of the U.S. Muslim population.”