Muslim Population in Europe Projected to Grow, Migration or Not

Trevor Jackson
December 1, 2017

The Pew Research Center report, published on Thursday, modelled three scenarios for estimating the number of Muslims who will be living in Europe by 2050.

According to Pew's data, Muslims made up 4.9 percent of Europe's population in 2016, with an estimated 25.8 million people across 30 countries, up from 3.8 percent, or 19.5 million people, in 2010. "Levels of religious commitment and belief vary among Europe's Muslim populations", the report said.

But even the scenario with the largest growth leaves the Muslim population considerably smaller than the populations of both Christians and people with no religion in Europe, according to the report.

While Muslims made up 6 percent of Germany's population a year ago, their proportion would go up to 20 percent by 2050.

A second, "medium" migration scenario assumes that the flows of refugees stop, but "regular" migrants continue to come for reasons other than fleeing wars and instability.

The researchers said that is mostly because Muslims are on average 13 years younger than other Europeans and also have a higher birthrate, the Pew researchers said.

A new report by USA nonpartisan think tank Pew Research Center projects a dramatic rise in the Muslim population in many Western European countries over the next several decades, from about 5% of the continent now to up to 14% by 2050. Under that scenario the proportion of people who self-identify as Muslim was projected to more than double to 11.2 percent of the population in 2050.

Muslim immigrants have been a politically sensitive topic in Europe following the influx of newcomers in 2015 and 2016.

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"Predicting future migration levels is impossible, because migration rates are connected not only to political and economic conditions outside of Europe, but also to the changing economic situation and government policies within Europe", according to the study.

Meanwhile, some countries that had comparatively few Muslim residents in 2016 would continue to have few by 2050 in all three scenarios.

The authors of the report also noted that refugee flows had already begun to decline in line with European Union efforts to curb arrivals, suggesting the third outcome was unlikely.

The Pew Study outlined three predictions for what could happen to Europe's Muslim population over the coming years.

Europe's non-Muslims, the report says, are expected to decline in total number in each scenario.

The countries projected to experience the biggest changes in the "medium" migration scenario, such as the United Kingdom, tend to have received the highest numbers of "regular" Muslim migrants.

The Muslim population in Europe will remain considerably lower than both the Christian and non-religious population, even if the record numbers of refugees and asylum seekers were to continue indefinitely. Sweden would experience an even greater impact: its Muslim population could increase to over 30 percent, from eight percent in 2016 (a five-fold increase in terms of the number of migrants).

These projections make interesting reading given another recent Pew Research Center survey, which found that refugees from Iraq and Syria were perceived as a far greater threat in some countries where there were relatively few of them (Greece, Italy and Poland for example), than in countries such as Germany and Sweden, which had attracted large numbers.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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