Europe's Muslim population to grow 50 per cent, even if all migration halted

The Muslim population in Europe will remain considerably lower than both the Christian and non-religious population, even if the record numbers of refugees and asylum seekers were to continue indefinitely.

The latest analysis from the Washington-based Pew Research Center predicted that the Muslim population of Europe would grow by around 50 per cent by 2050 even if all migration into Europe were to stop immediately and permanently.

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But it also highlighted that even if migration continued at current rates, including the record levels of refugees seen arriving in 2014-16, the Muslim population would only make up 14 per cent of Europe's population by 2050 – considerably less than the Christian population even taking into account Christianity ongoing decline.

The research released on Wednesday night was based on three model scenarios, projecting what would happen if migration stopped altogether; if 'regular' migration continued but refugee flows stopped; and if both migration continued and the current record levels of refugees continued.

Amount of growth in Europe's Muslim population depends on future migration

In all three scenarios the Muslim population in Europe is predicted to grow with it more than doubling in Pew's 'medium' scenario' and tripling in its 'high' scenario. Europe's non-Muslim population is estimated to decline.

However nearly half of all migration into Europe (47 per cent) was not Muslim, with Christians making up the next largest religious group, meaning that migration mitigates somewhat Christianity's decline.

In three migration scenarios, population decline for Europe's non-Muslims, population growth for Muslims

The three different scenarios play out differently across individual countries. The UK would experience the biggest change under the 'medium' scenario which would see regular migration continue at present rates but the influx from refugees stop.

This is because the UK is a popular destination for Muslim migrants but has accepted relatively few refugees compared to other European countries such as Germany.