Over the past couple of years, Europe has experienced a record influx of asylum seekers fleeing conflicts in Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries. Not surprisingly, the massive wave of Muslim migrants has become a political hot topic, particularly in countries like Germany, U.K., France, Italy and Sweden which have taken in a combined total of nearly 3 million migrants over just the past couple of years. Per the Pew Research Center (PRC):
Now, in an effort to quantify how this massive wave of immigration may transform Europe's demographics over the next several decades, the PRC has released a study estimating how the size of Europe’s Muslim population may evolve depending on future levels of migration.
To start, PRC estimated that Muslims made up roughly 4.9% of Europe's overall population at the end of 2016 with Bulgaria (11.1%), France (8.8%) and Sweden (8.1%) having the highest concentrations.
They then proceeded to analyze how those populations may evolve over the next ~30 years under various immigration scenarios with the highest migration estimates resulting in a tripling of Europe's overall Muslim population.
The baseline for all three scenarios is the Muslim population in Europe (defined here as the 28 countries presently in the European Union, plus Norway and Switzerland) as of mid-2016, estimated at 25.8 million (4.9% of the overall population) – up from 19.5 million (3.8%) in 2010.
Even if all migration into Europe were to immediately and permanently stop – a “zero migration” scenario – the Muslim population of Europe still would be expected to rise from the current level of 4.9% to 7.4% by the year 2050. This is because Muslims are younger (by 13 years, on average) and have higher fertility (one child more per woman, on average) than other Europeans, mirroring a global pattern.
A second, “medium” migration scenario assumes that all refugee flows will stop as of mid-2016 but that recent levels of “regular” migration to Europe will continue (i.e., migration of those who come for reasons other than seeking asylum; see note on terms below). Under these conditions, Muslims could reach 11.2% of Europe’s population in 2050.
Finally, a “high” migration scenario projects the record flow of refugees into Europe between 2014 and 2016 to continue indefinitely into the future with the same religious composition (i.e., mostly made up of Muslims) in addition to the typical annual flow of regular migrants. In this scenario, Muslims could make up 14% of Europe’s population by 2050 – nearly triple the current share, but still considerably smaller than the populations of both Christians and people with no religion in Europe.
And here's a more granular look at each country assuming a "zero migration scenario"...
..."medium migration scenario"...
and "high migration scenario."
Per the charts above, under the "high migration scenario," Finland's Muslim population alone could increase by more than 5.5 times, while the UK could see an increase of 2.7 times and Sweden nearly 4x.
Of course, it's probably not that big a deal...what could go wrong?
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