Muslims in the states in the present world

An interesting question concerns the correlation between the properties of states and their populations' share of Muslims. A first glimpse into these matters is given by the table below (source: Mapping the Global Muslim Population, Pew Research Center, 2009). It shows a distribution of all the states in the present world according the percentages of Muslims in their populations.


  Percentage of Muslims in the population Number of states
0-10 124
10-20 14
20-30 3
30-40 5
40-50 2
50-60 5
60-70 2
70-80 4
80-90 8
90-100 28
Sum   195


A first interesting fact is the extreme polarization of the distribution. Almost all states (124 + 28 = 152 or 78 % of the states) lie in the two outermost intervals with 0-10 or 90-100 % Muslims. Only 22 % of the states are to be found in the eight intermediate intervals. This polarization, by itself, is a strong indication of an interesting relationship between Islam and statehood.

Then, going further for trying to understand this relationship, it is interesting to note that almost all the well functioning democracies in the world are among the 124 states in the interval with 0-10 % Muslims. The exceptions are India, an at least reasonably well working democracy, and Israel, with 13 and 17 % Muslims respectively. And then, going to the 28 states in the interval with largest shares of Muslims, there is consequently no well working democracy among them. Rather there are a number of dictatorships, states which are neither dictatorships nor democracies, and failed states. In Indonesia, a democracy although not without problems, and with a large population, the Muslim share of  the population is 88 %. Thus the country is not included in the extreme interval 90-100 %.

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