Europe’s Muslim population growing — but won’t be a majority anytime soon

Photo courtesy of Arthimedes, Shutterstock

(RNS) — Even if migration to Europe ceased — no immigrants, no refugees — the percentage of Muslims in those countries would still rise over the next three decades. 

That’s according to new projections released Wednesday (Nov. 29) by the Pew Research Center. 

Though it hasn’t been long since Pew made its last projections on population growth of world religions, which were based on 2010 numbers, a record number of asylum seekers from Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries has changed the picture considerably.

As of mid-2016, Muslims make up nearly 5 percent of the population in the 28 countries of the European Union, plus Norway and Switzerland, according to the new Pew report. That’s an estimated 25.8 million people.

By comparison, Muslims make up about 1 percent of the population in the United States and could reach 2 percent by 2050, according to Pew estimates released earlier this year. 

The new European numbers are based on Pew analysis and projections of census and survey data from each country, as well as data on immigration from Eurostat and other sources.

With the recent wave of Muslim immigrants and refugees to Europe, anti-Muslim movements have sprung up in several countries, including PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West), which has protested the arrival of Muslim migrants, claiming Germany will be “overrun” by Muslims.

That sentiment can cross the Atlantic: On Wednesday, President Trump retweeted three inflammatory videos purporting to show violence committed by Muslims that had been posted by the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First, Jayda Fransen.

READ: Trump retweets videos critical of Muslims

How much Europe’s Muslim population actually will grow over the next three decades depends on future migration and birthrates. Pew created projections for three possible scenarios.

  • If all migration to Europe stopped, the Muslim population could grow to 7.4 percent by the year 2050. One reason for that growth is that European Muslims are younger than other Europeans by 13 years, on average. They also have more children — an average one more child per woman.
  • If no more refugees were admitted into European countries as of mid-2016, but immigration continued at its current pace, the Muslim population could more than double to 11.2 percent.
  • If refugees and immigrants continued to come to Europe in similar numbers with a similar religious makeup from now until 2050, the Muslim population could nearly triple to 14 percent.

Meantime, Europe’s total population would drop from about 521 million to an estimated 482 million without any future migration, according to the report. It would remain roughly stable if only nonrefugee immigrants were admitted to the country and grow modestly if all were admitted.

The non-Muslim population is projected to decline in each scenario — at most, by about 10 percent in the scenario with no migration.

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.

“There will be no country where Muslims make up more than a third of the population,” said Conrad Hackett, Pew’s associate director of research and senior demographer.

“There have been sort of sensationalistic claims that due to different fertility or migration patterns, France or other countries might perhaps have a Muslim majority by midcentury. Even in our highest scenario, we just don’t find that to be an outcome that would materialize.”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.


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  • This article is based on the idea that because Muslims are, on average, having one more child than other Europeans, their numbers will continue to increase. The same argument was made about Catholics in the 1950s. That did not happen because Catholics ceased having larger families than others, and many Catholics abandoned their faith.

    Just as with Catholics: many Muslims give up practising their faith, and there is no guarantee that Muslim families will continue to be larger as they become more integrated into European societies. So we can’t be sure that Muslim numbers will continue to increase.

  • “Arab Country’s Caucasian Population Growing — but won’t be a majority anytime soon.”
    A headline we will never hear.
    Arab Nations for Arabs…….Asia for the Asians……Africa for the Africans……White Nations are Open to Everyone.

  • and cue uninformed anti-muslim rants in 3 2 1

    Not really new news.

    What the projections do not take into account is the tendency over time for immigrants to either adopt the religion of the new nation or simply becoming more secular. i suspect European Muslims of the future will be Muslim in a more cultural/social sense.

  • Indeed…also…immigrants from poverty stricken nations (or where education is limited) tend to have kids who are better educated in the new country.

    Better educated people tend to have fewer kids. This is only anecdotal but I know several young Muslim couples who are second generation..they have no intention of having any more than 2 kids…they have careers etc.

  • Indeed, in situations in which a particular religion has dominance through government many members of the religion simply identify socially with it rather than having an active faith commitment. When the relocate to another country dominated or even predominated by another religion they will easily change their social identity to the other religion–or simply identify as nones.

  • a smooth over article, trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. and disregards the fact, that almost every nation in existence today, was the result of the clash of radical groups.

    radical groups, that began with only a few radicals. even judaism, islam, christianity and others, began as small radical groups by a few individuals gaining support. so current numbers, are meaningless in radicalization’s.

    jews, christians, muslims, secular fight against each other and among themselves. christians in wwii, even blindly fought against each other as well as secularists. when jews, christians, muslims, others and nations where not busy killing each other they killed their own. and fight over their own errant ways, against each other. people, will fight to defend their own ways of lying.

    almost all nations and religions, that begin with some good intent and morals of few men very seldom end up that way because of errant radicalization’s. and nations or religions that begin with ill intent, very seldom if ever improve in morality or intent.

    so yes even i, am a radical with abnormal but standard views. since i believe in THE ELOHEEM, of Noach, Avraham, Yeetzak, Yaachov, Moshe, Adam to The Male Child adam and his sister again. in This forever and again, exact same story of the physical creation from ELOHEEM. so i believe in The Torah, that we are all here in just again. since there is no other physical story to be given by ELOHEEM but this One forever now. and accept there shall always be violence, in this world of diverse other radical opinions.

  • A politically correct person wrote “and cue uninformed anti-muslim rants in 3 2 1”

    I agree with this “Urban Dictionary” definition of politically correctness:

    Politically Correct: A method of controlling and dictating public speech and thought.

  • AHEM AHEM Jimmie Shortbeard Cooper BS Boswell you KOOOOOOK, still no progress with that MOLEHILL of a puny beard of yours. Get stuffing those GARBONZO BEANS in or you’ll never be allowed into the RAPTURE CAPSULE when the great YANKUP begins.

    Now enough about your imposter ELOHEEM the female wallwart. It’s ELOAHEMAHEMPOOTPOOT that is your real MASTER and don’t you ever forget IT. Poot.

    Now get that physical beard growing or even your husband Edward will be far head of you and you won’t be cojoined in the rapture capsule and you won’t hear your beloved rap music chukka chukka BOOMboom there that your heart so desires. Chukka Chukka Boom Boom at 200 decibels.

    Jimmie SHORTBEARD, get back to work on that little scruff and GROW IT! Chin DOWN, beans IN!!!

  • The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, often speaks about the dangers of mass Chinese immigration into Tibet:
    . . .the unabated influx of Chinese immigrants to Tibet, which has the effect of overwhelming Tibet’s distinct cultural and religious identity and reducing the Tibetans to an insignificant minority in their own country, amount to a policy of cultural genocide.” — Is The Dalai Lama a “racist”, or does he get a pass from self proclaimed anti-racists because he isn’t White?

  • Who cares if they eventually abandon their Islamic faith (which most won’t by the way). Whether they keep or discard their Islamic faith makes no difference to the fact that they are Africans, Arabs, Asians, etc, and they are displacing the indigenous White European population, ultimately transforming Native White Europeans into tiny irrelevant minorities in their own ancestral homelands. Native White Britons are already a minority in their own capital city of London. Native White French are already a minority in their capital city of Paris, Native White Belgians are a minority in their capital city of Brussels, which is also the capital of the EU, which is a good insight as to what the EU has in store as the future for Europe’s native White peoples.

  • The Greeks really do have near-mythical origins, ancient DNA reveals.
    Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the exploits of Odysseus, King Agamemnon, and other heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods. Although these Mycenaeans were fictitious, scholars have debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who created a famous civilization that dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., or whether the ancient Mycenaeans simply vanished from the region. Now, ancient DNA suggests that living Greeks are indeed the descendants of Mycenaeans, with only a small proportion of DNA from later migrations to Greece. And the Mycenaeans themselves were closely related to the earlier Minoans, the study reveals, another great civilization that flourished on the island of Crete from 2600 B.C.E. to 1400 B.C.E. (named for the mythical King Minos).

  • Gene Study Suggests Migration of Homo sapiens Into Africa & Interbreeding with Local Hominins 150,000 Years Ago.
    A Protein Found in the Saliva Samples of Sub-Saharan Africans Offers Evidence that Strongly Contradicts the ‘Out of Africa’ Theory for Human Origins. Scientists from the University of Buffalo stumbled on the genetic marker for an unknown African interbreeding event while researching the evolution of an important mucin protein called MUC7.

  • Nope. Nobody is killing or mass deporting white people in the US and Europe. Liar can’t even come up with a decent analogy.

  • Bad analogy. Comes from being dishonest. White womenfolk just don’t want you. How sad.

    Neener, neener, neener.

  • As you admitted to me earlier that you have Jewish heritage, this might interest you. It’s an article by ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ published in the New York Times.
    Here are some excerpts: American Jews–as a people–have never been in greater danger of disappearing through assimilation, intermarriage, and low birthrates. American Jewish life is in danger of disappearing, just as most American Jews have achieved everything we ever wanted: acceptance, influence, affluence, equality. As the result of skyrocketing rates of intermarriage and assimilation, as well as “the lowest birth rate of any religious or ethnic community in the United States,” the era of enormous Jewish influence on American life may soon be coming to an end. [ONE CAN ONLY HOPE].

    Head of Anti-Assimilation Group Appeals to Zuckerberg. Benzi Gopstein, head of the Lehava Organization, sends a letter to Mark Zuckerberg over his marriage to a non-Jew.

    Hanukkah today: The battle against assimilation.

  • Some of the ISLAMIC TERRORIST ATTACKS that have taken place on European soil since January 2015.

    Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, 12 DEAD (January 2015)
    Paris Bataclan theatre terrorist attack, 137 DEAD (November 2015)
    Brussels airport bombings, 35 DEAD (March 2016)
    Nice, Bastille Day terror attack, 87 DEAD (July 2016)
    Berlin Christmas Market attack, 12 DEAD (December 2016)
    Westminster terrorist attack, 5 DEAD (March 2017)
    Saint Petersburg Metro bombing, 15 DEAD, (April 2017)
    Stockholm, Sweden terror attack, 5 DEAD, (April 2017)
    Manchester pop concert terrorist attack, 22 DEAD, (MAY 2017).
    London, terror attacks, 6 confirmed DEAD so far, 30 wounded, (JUNE, 4, 2017)
    Barcelona terror attack, 15 DEAD, (AUGUST, 2017)
    Marseilles terror attack, 2 female cousins, 20-year-old Mauranne Harel and 21-year-old Laura Paumier, STABBED TO DEATH by illegal Tunisian immigrant Ahmed Hanachi, who shouted “Allahu akbar” (Arabic for “God is great”) as the scene unfolded. (OCTOBER, 2017)

    YOU KNEW DAMN WELL I WAS A SNAKE (MUSLIM) BEFORE YOU LET ME IN !!! Donald Trump Reads THE SNAKE Lyric At Campaign Rally Referring To Immigration.

  • So now Alan Dershowitz is preventing you from settling down with white womenfolk?

    Damn! He must have game like you wouldn’t imagine!

  • I was responding to your lie that nobody is killing White people in the US and Europe. P.S. I forgot to mention the deadly effects of Diversity (DIEversity) in the U.S. Here’s one recent example of multiCULTural enrichment in America.

    29-year-old Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people on a popular bike path in Lower Manhattan on October 31, 2017, killing eight White people and injuring 12 in what the authorities called a deliberate act of terrorism.

    The people he killed were ALL White people. This article has their photos.

  • Forcing you into camps or deportation? Emptying out your communities in mass murder? Nope. Still the majority and dominant culture and political group. You are blaming others for your dysfunction. How infantile.

    Its just you and your deficiencies in mating with white womenfolk. Clearly your personality is a form of birth control.

    Face it, you can’t compete with other groups. You hope racism and discrimination will give you the leg up that your inadequate abilities just can’t do for you. 🙂

  • It’s first 17 years were far less violent than the last century. There is nothing going on in the world now even close to what happened between 1901-1917.

    The world has gotten safer and less violent in comparison to the last century and ones before.

  • This site is drawing conclusions not found in the actual study.

    All the study indicates is that there were newer human populations that returned to Africa to mate with the already established human population there. It does nothing to obviate the Out of Africa model. The saliva they tested was from a sample not as old as the remains of the Out of Africa hominids. All this is saying is: after emerging from Africa and spreading out, some European and Asian populations returned to Africa and mated.

    “Thus, our results contribute to the emerging notion that functional variation introgressed from an African hominin population into modern humans and has been maintained among contemporary African populations.”

  • I have yet to see evidence to overturn the overall Out of Africa model. I’m open to new peer reviewed studies..

  • 1) World War I was a global conflict. Nothing even close to its scale is going on in the world today. Unlike a century ago, you are even hard pressed to find much in the ways of wars of national conquest even going on in the world. They used to be more common than dirt.

    2) We are a far more connected world than we were a century ago. The world has gotten more difficult for mass murderers, conquerors, and warlords to carry out actions without notice. I remain optimistic.

  • The paper says nothing about mathematical certainty.

    Again..this does not overturn Out of Africa. It simply complements it.

  • Catholicism has an HQ that got taken over by liberals in the ’60s. Once they did that, they wrecked the religion. Islam has no such centralized structure.

  • Considering how liberals project all the time, I expect you’re actually the one here going without.

  • Nice try. But I am not the one calling sexual dysfunction “genocide”. That is all white supremacist limpdix. Their term, their issue. I am just interpreting it in plain English.

  • Well, they never really needed to make a headline out of it, but there was…

    “North America’s Caucasian Population Growing — will be a majority after they’ve brutally killed all the red people”

    “Australia and New Zealand’s Caucasian Populations Growing — will be a majority after they’ve killed all the savage aboriginals”

    And so on.

  • Well there you go — Classic White Guilt.

    Try reading Scalp Dance by Thomas Goodrich. If you are a lover of Truth, I will continue having a conversation with you. You simply either just bought the propaganda; or you are propogating the propaganda. Which is it?

  • I don’t have “White Guilt”, I was simply pointing out historical fact; white people DID go to other continents, brutally wiped out the native populations and took over.

  • Yascha Mounk, a German born (Jewish) Lecturer on Political Theory at Harvard University’s Government Department, was interviewed on German state run TV about why “evil right wing populists” are on the rise in Germany and Europe.

    Yascha Mounk gives 3 reasons and either intentionally or accidentally admits, quote: “We’re trying a historically unique experiment: Transforming a mono-ethnic, mono-cultural society into a multi-ethnic one.”

    WATCH: Harvard Elite Insider Yascha Mounk Admits Turning European Countries Multi-Ethnic Is An Experiment.

  • Sorry, I don’t click youtube links from weirdos.

    Lets face it, white women just don’t like nutballs like you. “White genocide” is what you guys say to cover your sexual inadequacy.

    “Evil right wing populists” are what polite people call Nazis. Sorry buddy but nothing is going to take the stink away from scum like that.

    European countries have been multi-ethnic ever since they started to colonize other countries. Now they have to be now, because demographic decline requires immigration to keep markets and labor forces stable. There are only so many Poles, Balkan peoples, and Russians to go around for cheap labor.

  • Rabbi Baruch Efrati celebrates Europe losing its [Christian] identity, saying that Jews should rejoice at the increasing Islamization of Europe.,7340,L-4299673,00.html

    Muslims are Jews’ natural allies in Europe – Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt

    American Jewess Barbara Lerner Spectre, moved to Sweden and founded Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden. In a 2010 interview with Israeli IBA-News Barbara Lerner Spectre stated: “Europe has not yet learned how to be multicultural. And I think WE are going to be part of the throes of that transformation, which must take place. Europe is not going to be the monolithic societies that THEY once were in the last century. Jews are going to be at the center of that. It’s a huge transformation for Europe to make. THEY are now going into a multicultural mode, and Jews will be resented because of OUR leading role. But without that leading role, and without that transformation, Europe will not survive.”

  • Wesley Clark stated: “There is no place in modern europe for ethnically pure states, that’s a 19th century idea and we are trying to transition into the 21st century, and we are going to do it with multi-ethnic states.”

    — Oh look, another (((COHENcidence))).

    (((Wesley Clark))) told The Jewish Week in New York, that his ancestors were not just Jews, but members of the priestly caste of Kohens.

    Jewish American General Wesley Clark, led the 78 day NATO bombing of Orthodox Christian Serbia, in 1999 which tore away Serbia’s Orthodox Christian heartland, Kosovo and handed it over to the Narco, organ trafficking Islamic Albanian KLA.

  • The Israelis are also keeping you from mating with white womenfolk? That is some powerful mojo they have over your ability to procreate.

    You are getting funny in your inadequacy.

  • Wesley Clark is keeping you from mating with white women as well? There must be a long line of people who are preventing you from settling down. Or maybe its just your personality which keeps them away.

    You are admitting neo-nazis are limpdix who have to blame others for their inadequacies.

  • Rabbis are preventing you from mating?

    Jeez that’s a long list of people impeding your ability to procreate. Or maybe you should just own up to your personal sexual inadequacies and leave the rest of the world alone.

  • Without supporting any of the racist views expressed in this thread, why do you keep insisting about this “sexual disfunction”? Having a lower number of children in a controlled way, in order to be sure that you will be able to sustain the best education you can give them, prepare them with the best tools you can, instead of popping out as many children as you can, how is it bad?