A new demographic study has determined that Muslims represent nearly a quarter of the world’s current population with nearly two-thirds of them living in Asia, and that Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity.The study, released Oct.7, and conducted by the Washington-based Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that 1.57 billion people are Muslims out of an estimated total world population of 6.8 billion.One reason the study was made was because there has been great variance in the estimates of the global Muslim population, which have ranged from 1 billion to 1.8 billion people, said Pew, a non-advocacy organization that does not support either of the main parties in the United States. The study, Pew said, is based on what it called “the best available data” for 232 countries and territories, including analyses of 1500 sources, census reports, demographic studies and general population surveys.Among the findings::: More than 60 percent of the world’s Muslim population live in Asia, while 20 percent live in the Middle East and North Africa. However, the Middle East-North Africa region has the greatest concentrations of countries where the majority population is Muslim. :: A substantial number of Muslims, one-fifth, or more than 300 million, live in countries where Islam is not the majority religion. India, for example, has nearly 161 million Muslims, making it the third largest country in the world with a Muslim population, after Indonesia and Pakistan. :: Indonesia, with an estimated Muslim population of 202,867,000 – 88 percent of its total population – has nearly 13 percent of the world’s Muslim population. Pakistan, with 174 082 000 Muslims, 96.3 percent of its population, ranked second, with 11.1 percent of the world’s Muslim population. India was third, followed by Bangladesh and Egypt.In releasing the report, the Pew forum announced it would release findings on the growth rates of Muslim populations in 2010 and would also launch a similar study of global Christianity in 2010.Studies have generally placed Islam as the second largest religious tradition after Christianity, which is believed to have some 2 billion adherents.