Last year the United Nations released its global population estimates, revealing an alarming population shift that will have serious worldwide consequences within the near future. The blame lies on the rapid spread of abortion, contraception and sterilization in the past century.
But another force is exerting its influence on population and that is religion. If you belong to a religion, it is probably the same one as your parents. A recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that nearly three-quarters of American adults professed the religion in which they were raised. Statistics indicate that some religious groups are out breeding others. During the 20th century, Mormons in America grew by an average of 40%. On average, Mormon women have nearly three times more children than Jewish women.
Conservative Protestant denominations grew much faster than liberal denominations in 20th-century America. It has been estimated that three-quarters of this growth is due simply to higher birth rates. Israel's Ultra-Orthodox Jews, are also experiencing high birthrates. These families have three times more children than other Israelis. According to Eric Kaufmann at Harvard at least a quarter of Israel’s population of under-17s is expected to be ultra-Orthodox by 2025.
The Catholic church's population is continuing to shift to developing countries, especially those in Africa and Asia. The church's population grew fastest in Africa, where the number of Catholics increased 3.1 percent in 2005.
Places that are relatively secularised such as western Europe, reproduce more slowly than places that are more religious. According to the World Bank, the nations with the largest proportions of unbelievers had an average annual population growth rate of just 0.7% in the period 1975-97, while the populations of the most religious countries grew three times as fast.
Kaufmann expects western Europe to become more religious in the course of the 21st century, due to the relatively low fertility of unbelievers and immigration from more religious countries.
Atheists and agnostics are at a serious demographic disadvantage. They ought to focus on having more children if they wish to pass on their “faith” to others. Even this piece of advice will likely not help them. Religion and fertility tend to go together.
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Demographic winter and faith