The media are all over a just-released demographic study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, projecting increases in the world-wide Muslim population.
There appears at first glance to be plenty here for the xenophobes to chew on. In the next twenty years, the Canadian Muslim population will triple! 2.7 million of ‘em by 2030! Lock up your daughters!
Around the world, the figures are similar—a projected 35% increase in the numbers, 2.2 billion by 2030, increasing twice as fast as the non-Muslim population (1.5% versus 0.7%).
Shades of Mark Steyn’s America Alone, eh?
Well, er, no.
Let’s look at the numbers again. That huge increase in Canadian Muslims will bring them to a whopping 6.6% of the population, hardly demographic swamping. The world increase will shoot up from the current 23.4% to 26.4%.
At present, Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population (followed by Pakistan, and then India). In 2030, Pakistan will have surpassed Indonesia. Closer to home, the European population of Muslims will grow from 44.1 million to 58 million—in other words, to 8% of the total population. By 2030 the US will see the numbers shoot up to 1.7% of the population—about the same as for Jews currently.
The so-called Muslim “youth bulge” has peaked, and a number of Muslim countries are experiencing an ageing population. Muslims are also urbanizing more rapidly than non-Muslims, and urban populations have a lower fertility rate. Indeed the rate of growth of the world-wide Muslim population is slowing: from 1990-2010, the growth rate was 2.2%, but in the next twenty years that is projected to drop to 1.5%.
For those who imagine that every Muslim is a death-cultist (and I could link to such sites, but will not), even a tiny minority of the population is seen as ringing Western civilization’s death knell. But urbanization, social media and increased prosperity will all play their roles in throwing off the shackles of fundamentalism and its attendant fanaticism—as we have seen in Tunisia and are seeing now in Egypt.
The wave of the future? This sort of thing: a fitting note to end on.