Why is Islam legal in Europe

Europe's growing Muslim population

It is predicted that the Muslim share of the European population will increase - even without future migration

Europe has seen record numbers of asylum seekers fleeing conflicts in Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries in recent years. This wave of Muslim migrants has sparked immigration and security policy debates in numerous countries and raised questions about the current and future number of Muslims in Europe.

In order to see how the size of the Muslim population in Europe will change in the coming decades, the Pew Research Center has designed three possible scenarios, each different according to the future level of migration. These designs are not aspirations to predictwhat will happen in the future, but rather a number of Projectionshow Europe will develop in different circumstances could.

The basic basis for all three scenarios is the Muslim population in Europe (defined here as the 28 member countries of the European Union, plus Norway and Switzerland) as of mid-2016, estimated at 25.8 million (4.9% of the total population) - increased from 19.5 million (3.8%) in mid-2010.

Even if all forms of immigration to Europe were to end immediately and permanently - a “zero migration” scenario - the Muslim population in Europe would be expected to increase from the current 4.9% to 7.4% by 2050. This is because Muslims are younger (an average of 13 years) and have a higher fertility than other Europeans (an average of one more child per woman), which reflects a global trend.

A second, “medium” migration scenario assumes that all refugee flows will end in mid-2016, but that “regular” migration to Europe will continue (i.e. migration of people who come for reasons other than seeking asylum). Under these conditions, Muslims could make up 11.2% of the European population by 2050.

A “high” migration scenario envisages that the record numbers of refugees to Europe between 2014 and mid-2016 will remain unchanged without restrictions and in the same religious composition (i.e. consisting largely of Muslims), in addition to the usual annual flow of regular migrants. In this scenario, Muslims could make up 14% of the European population by 2050 - almost three times what it is today, but still significantly smaller than the proportions of Christians and people without religion in Europe.

While the Muslim population of Europe is expected to increase in all three scenarios - and will more than double in the medium and high migration scenarios - the non-Muslim population in Europe will most likely increase in all scenarios go back. Migration, however, mitigates this decline somewhat; almost half of all new immigrants (refugees and regular migrants) to Europe (47%) no Muslims, with Christians forming the next largest group.

Overall, without future migration, the population of Europe (both Muslim and non-Muslim) is likely to decline significantly (from around 521 million to an estimated 482 million). It would remain roughly stable in the medium migration scenario, while moderate growth would be expected in the high migration scenario.

The effects of these scenarios are different in different European countries; Due to government decisions in particular, some countries are more affected by migration than others.

In countries that have received a relatively large number of Muslim refugees in recent years, the greatest changes can be expected in the high migration scenario - the only scenario that projects strong refugee flows in the future. In the high scenario, the German population (6% Muslim in 2016) will probably be 20% Muslim by 2050 - a reflection of the fact that Germany has taken in many Muslim refugees in recent years - compared to 11% in the medium scenario and 9 % in the zero migration scenario.

Sweden, which has also taken in a relatively high number of refugees, would see an even greater impact if migration rates were to continue indefinitely from 2014 to mid-2016: Sweden's population (8% Muslim in 2016) could rise to 31% in the high scenario. increase by 2050, compared to 21% in the medium scenario and 11% without further Muslim migration.

In contrast, the countries where the largest changes are expected in the middle scenario, such as the UK, are more likely to be targets for the highest number of regular Muslim migrants. This scenario only describes the migration of people who come for reasons other than seeking asylum.

And countries with Muslim populations that are particularly young or have relatively large numbers of children would see the most significant change in the zero migration scenario; these include France, Italy and Belgium.

Some countries, such as Poland and Romania, would not change significantly in any of the scenarios, usually because they have few Muslims overall and / or low levels of immigration.

The starting point for all these scenarios is the European population in mid-2016. The estimates for 2016 are based on analyzes and calculations by the Pew Research Center of the best available census and survey data in all countries, combined with data on migration from Eurostat and other sources. However, determining the exact number of Muslims in Europe is not an easy task.

One reason for uncertainty is the status of asylum seekers who are not granted refugee status. For the future population estimates presented in this report, it is assumed that only Muslim migrants who already have legal status in Europe - or who are expected to gain - will remain in the long term, resulting in a base value of 25.8 million Muslims in 2016 ( 4.9% of the European population). However, based on previous admission rates in each country, Pew Research Center estimates that nearly a million more Muslim asylum seekers who have come to Europe in recent years have submitted their asylum applications Not get approved. If all Muslims who are currently in legal limbo in Europe, would remain in Europe, the base value could rise to 26.8 million from 2016, with far-reaching effects in all three scenarios.

These are some of the key takeaways from a new demographic analysis by the Pew Research Center - part of a broader effort to forecast the population growth of religious groups around the world. This report, which focuses on Muslims in Europe and the rapid changes brought about by the recent influx of refugees, provides the first estimates of the growing size of the Muslim population in Europe after the wave of refugees between 2014 and mid-2016. It is based on the best available data combined using estimation and projection methods developed in previous demographic studies by the Pew Research Center. The projections take into account the current size of both Muslim and non-Muslim populations in Europe as well as international migration, age and gender composition, fertility and mortality rates, and religious changes. (See methodology for details.)

This report was produced by the Pew Research Center as part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, which analyzes religious changes and their impact on societies around the world. Funding for the Global Religious Futures project comes from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation.

The full research report with further results can be found here.

An article that takes a closer look at the growth of the Muslim population in Germany can be found here.