Muslims are a comparatively small minority in Europe, making up just about 5% of the population. Nevertheless, in some European countries, such as Sweden and France, the Muslim population is higher. And, in the decades to come, the Muslim share of the continent’s inhabitants is expected to rise – and could more than double, according to Pew Research Center projections.
Using findings from Pew Research Center’s estimates, here are 5 facts about the Muslim population in Europe:
1. Germany and France have the highest population of Muslim in Europe
As of mid-2016, Muslims account for 8.8% of the population of France (i.e. 5.7 million Muslims) and 6.1% of the population of Germany (i.e. 5 million Muslims).
The EU country with the largest share of Muslim population is Cyprus. Cyprus' 300,000 Muslims account for one-quarter (25.4%) of its population and are mostly Turkish Cypriots with deep roots in Cyprus (and not recent migrants).
2. The Muslim share of Europe’s total residents has been growing steadily and will continue to increase in the coming decades
From just between mid-2010 and mid-2016, the share of Muslims in Europe increased from 19.5 million to 25.8 million; which is more than 1% point (3.8% to 4.9%). By 2050, the share of Europe’s population that is Muslim could rise to 11.2% or more, depending on how much migration is permitted into Europe.
3. Muslims are much younger and have more kids than other Europeans
The median age of Muslims throughout Europe as of 2016 was 30.4, which is 13 years younger than the median for other Europeans (43.8). Furthermore, 50% of all European Muslims are below 30 years of age, compared with 32% of non-Muslims in Europe. Plus, the average Muslim lady in Europe is anticipated to have 2.6 children, a full child more than the average non-Muslim lady (1.6 children).
4. From mid-2010 and mid-2016, migration was the most significant factor driving the increase of Muslim populations in Europe
Approximately 2.5 million Muslims flooded Europe for reasons other than seeking asylum, such as for school or employment. About 1.3 million more Muslims got (or are anticipated to receive) refugee status, enabling them to remain in Europe. Natural growth was the secondary driver, with 2.9 million more European Muslims births than deaths during this period.
5. Views of Muslims differ widely across EU countries.
A 2016 Pew Research Center survey carried out in 10 countries found that negative opinions about Muslims prevailed in Southern and Eastern Europe. However, most respondents in Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, gave Muslims a favorable rating.