Europe's Muslim population to grow strongly, even if migration ends

Europe's Muslim population to grow strongly, even if migration ends”

Pew, which based its projections on government data and other studies, explained the rise by saying that fertility rates were higher among Muslims, who are on average 13 years younger than non-Muslims.

Pew reports some nations will display this trend of change more clearly than others, with Sweden expected to have the highest levels of Muslim settlement by 2050, at a projected 30.6 per cent. Sweden will be followed by fellow high migration nations Austria, Germany, and France, at between 18 and 19.9 per cent Muslim population.

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. The number of Muslim migrants arriving in Europe surged after 2014 to nearly half a million annually, largely due to people fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, it said.

Defining Europe as the 28 countries of the European Union plus Norway and Switzerland, and estimating its present Muslim population at about 25.8 million people (or 4.9% of the total population), the think tank concluded that even if all Muslim migration into Europe were immediately halted, the continent's Muslim population would still rise by almost 33% (to 7.4%) in just over a generation.

Under a medium scenario, which assumes the flow of refugees stopped in mid-2016 but "regular" migration continued, Europe's Muslim population would reach 11.2 percent (57.9 million).

The "Europe's Growing Muslim Population" report released on November 29 by the USA -based think tank, modeled three different scenarios based on "zero", "medium" and "high" migration, to project Muslim numbers in 2050.

Even with the most immigration, Muslims would "still be considerably smaller than the populations of both Christians and people with no religion in Europe", the researchers concluded.

In the absence of further migrants the population was projected to shrink from 521 million in 2016 to 482 million in 2050. Some countries have seen backlashes that have included populist parties campaigning on anti-Islam messages.

Countries which have accepted a higher number of refugees, such as Sweden, would see the percentage of their Muslim population grow from 8 percent in 2016 to 31 percent in 2050. This means that, even if migration were to stop completely, the group's population share would rise by more than 3 percent in the United Kingdom, as well as in France, Italy, and Belgium.

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

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