For the first time in history Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion. According to the Vatican statistical bureau the number of the world's population that are Muslims is 19.2%, with the number of Catholics trailing behind at 17.4 %. When considering all Christians and not just Roman Catholics, Christians make up 33 percent of the world population. The most recent figures from the Vatican have been published by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on March 30.
"For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us," Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican daily.
"It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer," Msgr. Formenti, the editor of the Vatican yearbook of statistics, said. These latest results come from 2006 and are not all Vatican tabulated. The figures on Muslims were put together by Muslim countries and then provided to the United Nations. The Vatican could only guarantee its own data, Formenti said.
The new statistics also shows that nearly half of the Roman Catholic Christians live in America.