The religious composition of India’s population since Partition has remained largely stable, with both Hindus and Muslims, the two largest religious groups, showing not only a marked decline but also a convergence in fertility rates, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center, a non-profit based in Washington DC.
The study, based on data sourced from India’s decennial census and the National Family Health Survey (NHFS), looked at the three main factors that are known to cause changes in religious composition of populations — fertility rate, migration, and conversions.
With regard to fertility rates, the study found that Muslims, who had the highest rate, also had the sharpest decline in rates.
From 1992 to 2015, the total fertility rates of Muslims declined from 4.4 to 2.6, while that of Hindus declined from 3.3 to 2.1, indicating that “the gaps in childbearing between India’s religious groups are much smaller than they used to be.
Although growth rates had declined for all of India’s major religious groups, the slowdown had been more pronounced among religious minorities, who outpaced Hindus in the earlier decades.