By the numbers: Europe's growing Muslim population

Cheryl Sanders
November 30, 2017

Muslims could make up over 11% of Europe's population in the coming decades, compared with just under 5% now, if legal migration levels are maintained, a report by a US-based think tank said on Thursday. In this case, Muslims could make up 14 percent (75 million) of Europe's population by 2050 - almost triple the current figure.

Even if all current 28 European Union (EU) members, plus Norway and Switzerland, closed their borders to migrants, the Muslim population share in the west would continue to grow owing to a younger age profile and higher fertility rates, but remain very low in the east.

Europe's Muslim population will multiply even if all migration stops permanently, a study has found.

The Muslim population in some European countries is expected to triple in number in the coming decades, a new report suggests.


The report considered three scenarios: zero migration between 2016 and 2050; medium migration, in which the flow of refugees stops but people continue to migrate for other reasons; and high migration, in which the record flow of migrants between 2014 and 2016 continues indefinitely with the same religious composition. The next largest sources of refugees - Afghanistan and Iraq - are also conflict zones, with overwhelming Muslim-majority populations.

The "Europe's Growing Muslim Population" report released on November 29 by the US -based think tank, modeled three different scenarios based on "zero", "medium" and "high" migration, to project Muslim numbers in 2050. The continent's overall population could "decline considerably" ("zero" migration scenario), or "grow modestly" ("high" migration).

In its report 'Europe's Growing Muslim Population, ' the US-based research center says the United Kingdom has been the major destination for economic migrants coming to Europe, while Germany has been the top destination for refugees.

The proportion of Muslims among the total population of Britain could rise from 9.7 to 17.2 percent, it said.


The impact of the scenarios is uneven across different European countries, depending on government policies and the varying numbers of Muslim refugees arriving to date.

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. 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).

Under that scenario the proportion of people who self-identify as Muslim was projected to more than double to 11.2% of the population in 2050.


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