Number of British Muslims will double to 5.5m in 20 years
By Steve Doughty
UPDATED: 15:48, 28 January 2011
- Muslims to make up quarter of world’s projected population of 8.3billion
- 72 countries already have one million or more Muslims
- Britain to have more Muslims than Kuwait by 2030
The Muslim population in the UK will almost double to 5.5million within 20 years, it has been claimed.
Immigration and high birth rates will mean nearly one in ten Britons will be Muslim by 2030, according to a worldwide study about the spread of Islam.
And the forecasts mean Britain will have more Muslims than Kuwait.
Rising: Nearly one in ten people in Britain will be Muslim by 2030 because of immigration and high birth rates. The report comes amid continuing debate over the views of Muslims in Britain and attitudes towards them
From 1990 to 2010 the number of followers of the Islamic faith around the world increased at an average rate of 2.2 per cent annually. Last year there were 1.57billion around the world.
The British increase in the Muslim population from the current 2.8million will be mainly driven by immigration, according to figures prepared by a Washington think tank.
Projections by the respected Pew Research Centre said the 40 years between 1990 and 2030 will see a fivefold rise in Britain.
In 1990 there were 1.1million Muslims in Britain, representing two per cent of the population.
By last year that figure had risen to 2.8million, or four per cent. By 2030 the number will hit 5.5million – eight per cent of an estimated 68million population, Pew researchers said.
In the U.S., the number of Muslims will also double by 2030 – rising to 6.2million from 2.6million today. But the percentage of Muslims will remain lower than the UK because the total population is five times bigger there, with around 300million at present.
Last May, official figures showed that there could be 70million people in Britain by 2029 – largely fuelled by the migrant boom.
By comparison, in the same year the Arab state of Kuwait is expected to have a Muslim population of 3.6million, it forecast.
The report said one in four migrants to the UK are Muslims.
In Canada, the number of Muslims is set to nearly treble to 2.7million in 2030 from 940,000 at present, the study found.
‘The greatest increases in the Muslim share of the population – driven primarily by continued migration – are likely to occur in Western and Northern Europe, where Muslims will be approaching double-digit percentages of the population in several countries,’ it said.
Britain has long had high immigration levels from some Muslim countries, notably Pakistan and Bangladesh, and in recent years has seen high numbers of migrants from Islamic parts of Africa.
The Pew report also cited high birth rates. It said that ‘generally, Muslim populations tend to have higher fertility rates than non-Muslim populations’.
It added: ‘A larger share of the Muslim population is in, or soon will enter, the prime reproductive years between the ages of 15 and 29.
‘Also, improved health and economic conditions in Muslim-majority countries have led to greater-than-average declines in infant and child mortality rates, and life expectancy is rising even faster in Muslim-majority countries than in other less-developed countries.’
MUSLIM POPULATION IN THE U.S.
The number of Muslims in the U.S. is expected to double in the next 20 years to 6.2million from 2.6million today.
There will be as many Muslims in America as there are Jews or Episcopalians today, if the predictions are correct.
Currently 0.8 per cent of the U.S. population is American, but by 2030 that is expected to rise to 1.7 per cent.
The reports authors warned that political change in the U.S. could limit immigration.
The study used past population changes, migration figures and fertility rates to estimate changing Islamic populations.
By 2030 Muslims will make up 26 per cent of the world’s projected population of 8.3billion, up from 23 per cent of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9billion, it said.
Those figures represent an increase from 1.6billion in 2010 to 2.2billion in 2030, a rise of 35 per cent.
The analysis comes amid continuing debate over the views of Muslims in Britain and attitudes towards them.
The study was based on past demographic trends and estimations on what will happen to them over the next 20 years.
Last week Tory Party chairman Baroness Warsi said prejudice against Muslims is seen as normal and called for people to stop categorising them.