India’s Hindu population is reducing, Union Minister of State For Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju claimed on February 13, 2017.

Census data and growth projections do not back his claim, and population trends indicate the Hindu population will grow by 234 million--or more than the current population of Brazil, the world’s fifth most populous country--to 1.2 billion over the next 33 years.

By 2050, India will be 77% Hindu, down no more than 3% over 40 years, as FactChecker reported on April 15, 2015.

By 2050, India’s Muslim population will rise to 18.2% from 14% in 2010, according to this 2015 report by the Pew Research Centre, a think tank. This means India will have 311 million Muslims in 2050, if present trends hold.

Over the decade ending 2011, the Hindu population rose by more than 138 million.

India’s population is 79.799% Hindu, according to Census 2011 data, marginally lower than the 2001 Census count of 80.5%. In absolute numbers, the population of Hindus in 2001 was 828 million, rising to 966 million in 2011.

Source: Census 2011

Muslim population growth rate faster, but falling fast

Population increases are linked to fertility rates--the average number of children born over a lifetime.

The fertility rate for Indian Muslim women fell from 4.1 in 2001 to 3.2 in 2010 and is expected to be 2.1 by 2050.

Source: Pew Research Centre

Hindu fertility rates are 2.5, expected to fall to 1.9 by 2050, below the replacement level of 2.1.

However, Hindus are younger, on average, than the global population. So, combined with an increase in life expectancy, the Hindu population will rise even with below-replacement fertility, the Pew report said.

So, while Muslims are, currently, growing faster, as the chart below shows, that rate is likely to fall by the next census in 2021.

(Patil is an analyst with IndiaSpend and Factchecker.)