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Europe's Muslim population projected to increase by 50m by 2050

Europe's Muslim population projected to increase by 50m by 2050

The Muslim population is also much younger than non-Muslims.

"Although there is understandably a lot of discussion about the impact of asylum-seekers on the population broadly and particularly the Muslim population in Europe, in fact the flow of migrants who are coming to go to school, to seek jobs and other kinds of regular non-asylum-seeker migration have been, and will likely continue to be, a significant part of the increase in the Muslim population", Hackett said, referring to regular migration.

PARIS: 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, a report by a US-based think tank said on Thursday.

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.

There were an estimated 28.8 million Muslims in Europe as of mid-2016, around 4.9 percent of the overall population.

However, in Germany's case, the country's increase in Muslims mostly come from refugees as opposed to regular migration. The number of Muslim migrants arriving in Europe surged after 2014 to nearly a half-million annually, largely the result of people fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

All three scenarios - zero, moderate and high - considered by researchers produced a thought-provoking outcome: the number of Muslims in Europe will rise at any rate of migration, as they are younger and "have higher fertility (one child more per woman, on average) than other Europeans, mirroring a global pattern".

"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.

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Should that happen, several major European countries are expected to shoulder most of the burden.

Another factor that may affect the number of Muslims in Europe is whether rejected asylum-seekers return to their country of origin voluntarily or through forced deportation.

Sweden's Muslims, who were at eight percent in 2016, would account for 31 percent of the population in that same scenario.

The three different scenarios play out differently across individual countries.

Under the "medium" scenario, Britain - the top destination for non-refugee Muslims migration - would pass out France while under the "high" scenario the mantle would pass to Germany, which has received over 1.5 million refugees in the past two years.

If arrivals halted altogether, France - which was home to an estimated 5.7 million Muslims (8.8 percent) in 2016 according to the report - would continue to have Europe's largest Muslim community. In Sweden, almost a third of the population (4.5 million, or 30 percent) would be Muslims, whereas in Austria and Germany Muslims would represent up to 19 percent of the population.

Hungary received among Europe's highest numbers of asylum applications from Iraq and Syrian refugees between 2010 and 2016.

But even if the number of Muslims triples over the next 32 years, Muslims will still be a small minority compared to Europe's Christians.


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