A Roundup reader posed the question of how many Muslims die on a daily basis. This is a stat sometimes used in a way similar to the unevangelized death stat (1 unevangelized person every 2 seconds).
Calculating the number of births and deaths within a religious group is tricky as this data is not readily available. One way to approach this is to take the number of deaths per country each year and infer that the same proportion of those fatalities likely belong to the religious group in question. For instance, if 33% of a nation’s population are Christians, then it can be assumed that 33% of its deaths were Christian too. If 95% of a nation follows a single religion, then we should expect that 95% of deaths will come from that faith across any regular year (though rare cases such as wars could cause this to vary).
When people of different religions—such as Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, or Muslims—move to a new country, their mortality rate begins very quickly to imitate those from the country they are now inhabiting. The birth rate of diaspora populations slowly changes over successive generations: first-generation “arrival” groups often have the same fertility rate as the country they left, while the third generation usually has a similar birth rate to their host nation. Now, I haven’t done deep statistical analysis, but it’s reasonable to think mortality rates would shift quicker. Death is caused by health troubles, old age, or local socio-environmental factors—but it’s the environmental factors that will kill earlier: malnutrition, war, disease, drought, criminal activity, and so on. An infant born in Libya who moves over to London is much less likely to perish from starvation, sicknesses, or stray bullets.
I don’t have ready access to the % Muslim of the countries of the world, so I posed this question to Dr. Todd Johnson (Center for the Study of Global Christianity and co-editor of the World Christian Encyclopedia). He told me, “A rough approximation for today is about 14.7 million per year, calculated by using national death rates and assuming they are the same for all religionists in the country.” He also notes The Pew Forum did a more in-depth study for 2010-2015, estimating 61 million deaths over 5 years (12.2 million per year). You can see that here.
The difference between these two numbers is simple: time. Death rates remain fairly stable over time, but the absolute number of deaths changes as populations change. Thus the 14.7 million number is more accurate for today than the Pew Forum number, although the two are in line with each other. Taking 14.7 million per year and dividing it out, we find there are 40,273 Muslim deaths per day, 1,678 per hour, and 27 per minute.
Please note not all of these are unevangelized deaths. Many Muslim groups do have access to the Gospel. While the number of Muslim deaths and unevangelized deaths “overlap,” they are not the same. (In fact, I suspect Hindus and Buddhists would likely overlap more with unevangelized.)