It is important to note that the study does not aim to provide a direct causal link between religious behavior and economic practices. Instead, it seeks to connect selfidentified religious affiliation with economic environments around the world. In this way, religion and religious change is neither analyzed as a causal force leading to economic change nor is economic change analyzed as a causal force in religious change. Instead, the analysis provides a global perspective of how the relative size and economic power of religious groups occur today and how these dynamics are expected to change in the near- and long-term future.
Overview of the Findings
At the same time the growth of the global religiously unaffiliated population is slowing at a much faster rate than global population growth although their economic growth is expected to track global trends in the years ahead. Although population growth among Buddhists is expected to stagnate, economic growth is also expected to be on par with global economic growth, largely due to China’s economic rise where half of all Buddhists live and two-thirds of all religiously unaffiliated people live.
Economic growth among the global Jewish population is expected to increase, but be significantly less than economic growth in the world as a whole as Jewish population growth is slowing more quickly than the world as a whole.
By 2050, only one of the five leading economies is projected to have a majority Christian population – the United States. The other mega economies in 2050 are projected to include, as mentioned, India (Hindu majority), as well as Indonesia (Muslim majority), and China and Japan countries with high levels of religious diversity.
Read the full report: Changing religion, changing economies.