The Muslim population in some European countries could triple as a percentage by 2050, research suggests.
Even if all immigration to the continent stops, Europe’s Muslim population will continue to grow over the next few decades, a Pew Research Centre report found.
Using a mid-2016 estimate of 25.8 million Muslims as a baseline, the report modelled three scenarios for estimating the number of Muslims who would be living in Europe by 2050.
Each scenario assumed different future migration rates.
Under the “zero migration” scenario, an estimated 30 million Muslims would make up 7.4 per cent of Europe’s population by 2050, compared to the 4.9 per cent they comprised last year, the report projected.
The researchers said it is mostly because Muslims are on average 13 years younger than other Europeans and also have a higher birthrate.
The study estimates 58.8 million Muslims would account for 11.2 per cent of the population in a “medium migration” scenario which has migration maintaining a “regular speed”, defined by the Pew researchers as migration motivated by economic, educational and family reasons, but not for seeking asylum as a refugee.
In the “high migration” scenario, the study projects the record flow of migrants who came to Europe between 2015 and 2016 would continue indefinitely, resulting in 75 million Muslims in Europe by the middle of the century.
Even with the most immigration, Muslims as a group would “still be considerably smaller than the populations of both Christians and people with no religion in Europe,” the researchers concluded.
Migration has been a politically sensitive topic in Europe following the influx of newcomers, including refugees, in 2015 and 2016.
Some countries have seen backlashes including populist parties campaigning on anti-Islam messages.