Muslim Population in Europe Projected to Grow, Migration or Not

What proportion of Europe's population is Muslim?

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 between 2014 and 2016.

The Pew Research Center report modeled three scenarios for estimating the number of Muslims who would be living in Europe by 2050.

All three used a mid-2016 estimate of 25.8 million Muslims in Europe as a baseline to make the projections.

Researchers cautioned that it is very hard to anticipate the future and underscored that the projections are hypothetical. Much also depends on economics and European governments, which have tightened migration policies domestically and on the E.U.'s borders.

The percentage rise can be accounted for by differences in age structure and fertility rate between Muslims and non-Muslims.

"Those countries with Muslim populations that are especially young, or have a relatively large number of children, like France, as well as Italy and Belgium, would see the most significant change in the zero migration scenario", reveals the report.

Overall, Muslims could make up over 11 percent of Europe's population in the coming decades, compared with just under 5 percent now, if legal migration levels are maintained, the US-based think tank said.

The report found that Germany was the top destination for Muslim refugees between 2010 and 2016, whereas the United Kingdom took in the highest number of regular Muslim migrants.


If, for example, the record flow of refugees into Europe continued with the same religious composition, and if regular migration also continued, Muslims would make up around 14 percent of Europe's population by 2050, around three times the current number. The report also highlighted the role of migration in stemming population decline in Europe.

The "medium" migration scenario assumes refugee flows will stop but regular migration will continue at previous levels.

Each scenario assumed different future migration rates. "It seems like there is a good chance that the medium scenario, or something a little higher than that, is a more reasonable guess".

In the "high migration" scenario, the study projects that the record flow of migrants who came to Europe between 2015 and 2016 would continue indefinitely, resulting in 75 million Muslims in Europe, a 14 percent increase, by the middle of the century.

Only 1.6 million of the total 7 million people were refugees.

Each scenario predicts that Europe's non-Muslim population will decline significantly - from 521 million to an estimated 482 million. During the same period Germany also took in 680,000 regular migrants, of whom 40% were Muslim.

Europe received more than one million migrants and refugees in 2015, according to figures from the UN's refugee agency. Around 1 million of these 1.7 million individuals are Muslim. Pew's projections showed Europe being unevenly affected by migration.

The first considers how France's Muslim population would be impacted by 2050 if migration stops altogether. Accepted asylum-seekers are generally allowed to bring immediate family, although in countries such as Germany the government has moved to impose some restrictions. On the other hand, high migration sees predictions of some 76 million Muslims dwelling in Europe by 2050. Its content was created separately from USA TODAY.

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