Have you heard about this guy, Donald Trump? Apparently he’s making the news a bit recently… seriously though, every single thing he does is reported on every hour radio news bulletin here in New Zealand. I can only imagine what it’s like in the USA! I do hope that the news coverage quietens down otherwise the next 4 (or 8! Can you imagine the squealing!?) years are going to be interminably long. Anyway, to add to the white noise which is coverage of every presidential tweet, here’s another story tangentially related to Trump’s recent executive order temporarily freezing immigration from seven Islamic nations.

According to Pew Research (who tend to have the best diagrams, graphs and maps) these seven nations (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) make up about 12% of the world’s Muslim population, leaving 88% of the global Muslim population unaffected. In fact, all of these nations come from the Middle East-North Africa region which as whole, contrary to what you might have thought, contains only a fifth of the world’s Muslims. Based on 2010 figures, there are 1.6 billion Muslims (making it the second largest religious tradition in the world) and nearly 62 percent live in the Asia-Pacific. Two nations in the Asia-Pacific, India and Pakistan, by themselves are home to more Muslims than the entire Middle East-North Africa region. The two largest Muslim nations in the world by absolute numbers are both in the Asia-Pacific: Indonesia (209 million) and India (176 million).

However, the reason why we might associate Islam with the Middle East or North Africa, is because this area of the globe is unarguably the most Muslim in the world in terms of proportion of the population. 93% of the people in this area are Muslim, whereas less than 1% of the USA’s population is Muslim.

In the decades ahead, the number of Muslims worldwide is expected to grow to 2.76 billion people, or just under 30% of the world’s population. They will be more concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa (at 24% of the whole) while the share of the world’s Muslim population in the Asia-Pacific will decline to just under 53%. The proportion of Muslims living in the Middle East-North Africa area will stay the same at about 20%. In the USA meanwhile, the proportion of the population that is Muslim is expected to double by 2050. 

Marcus Roberts is a Senior Researcher at the Maxim Institute in Auckland, New Zealand, and was co-editor of the former MercatorNet blog, Demography is Destiny. Marcus has a background in the law, both...