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Washington: An estimated 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages live in the world today, representing 23 percent of the global population of 6.8 billion, according to a new study of more than 200 countries.


India is estimated to have the third largest Muslim population of over 160 million after Indonesia with more than 200 million and Pakistan with nearly 175 million.


"The new study is based on the best available data for 232 countries and territories," said the Forum on Religion and Public Life, a unit of leading US-based think tank Pew Research Centre, which conducted the study.


"Previously published estimates of the size of the global Muslim population have ranged widely from 1 billion to 1.8 billion," said the centre, which analysed over 1,500 sources, including census reports, demographic studies and general population surveys.


The key findings of the study, released here late Wednesday, are:

-India has the third-largest population of Muslims worldwide


-China has more Muslims than Syria


-Russia is home to more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined.


-While Muslims are found on all five inhabited continents, more than 60 percent of the global Muslim population is in Asia


-Middle east and North Africa account for 20 percent of the Muslim population


-The Middle East-North Africa region has the highest percentage of Muslim-majority countries


-More than half of the 20 countries and territories in Middle East-North Africa region have populations that are approximately 95 percent Muslim or greater


-More than 300 million Muslims, or one-fifth of the world's Muslim population, live in countries where Islam is not the majority religion


-These minority Muslim populations are often quite large


-Of the total Muslim population, 10-13 percent are Shias and 87-90 percent are Sunnis Muslims


-Most Shias, between 68-80 percent, live in just four countries, namely Iran, Pakistan, India and Iraq


The new report has an executive summary, maps and charts to illustrate the geographic distribution of Muslims, explanations of the study's methodologies and a list of data sources by country.


According to the study, Indonesia accounts for the largest number of Muslims with 202.87 million, or 88.2 percent of the country's population, followed by Pakistan with 174.08 million, or 96.3 percent of the population.


India is home to 160.95 million, representing 13.4 percent of the country's population, or 10.3 percent of their global numbers. India also tops the list of countries with the largest number of Muslims living in any country as a minority community.


Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey Algeria and Morocco, in that order, make up the 10 countries with the largest population of Muslims going by the sheer numbers.








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