Muslim population in Europe to rise even with ‘zero migration’

Washington: Even if migration into Europe were to permanently stop now, Muslim population in the continent is expected to rise by 7.4% in 2050, a US study has found.

The Pew Research Center in Washington considered three variable scenarios linked to future levels of Muslim migration to Europe and gave a set of projections about what could happen under different circumstances.

In a zero migration scenario, the share of Muslim population in Europe is expected to rise from the 4.9% in mid-2016 to 7.4% by 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, the study says.

The researchers then considered a “medium” migration scenario with refugee flow stopping at mid-2016 but regular migration continuing for reasons other than seeking asylum. Under this circumstance, Muslims could make up 11.2% of Europe’s population in 2050.

In a “high” migration scenario marked by heavy flow of refugees indefinitely into the future, Muslims could make up 14% of Europe’s population by 2050. However, refugee flow has slowed as European Union and many of its member states have made policy changes aimed at restricting their entry.

Future migration cannot be predicted as it is linked to changing economic and political situations and policies of European governments.

Although none of these scenarios will play out exactly as projected, each provides a set of rough parameters from which to imagine other possible outcomes. For instance, if asylum seekers arriving along with regular migrants get refugee status, Muslims will make up 11-14% of Europe’s population in 2050, the study says.

The study found that 710,000 Syrian migrants came to Europe between mid-2010 and mid-2016. Of them, 94% were seeking refuge from the civil war or Islamic State violence.

Germany was the destination for an estimated 670,000 refugees between mid-2010 and mid-2016. Sweden came next drawing 200,000 refugees.