Nonsense on European demographics

Alexandra Cohen at Brussels Journal makes some good points on multiculturalism here, but loses contact with reality towards the end. She writes this about the rioters in France:

They are Europe’s future because they are its youth, and they know it. The liberal media, by unqualifyingly describing them as “youths” confirmed this for all to see. What we witnessed in France in the first half of November 2005 was the writing on the wall…

(Emphasis mine).

Let’s check that assertion: As it happens, Germany alone has 17 million people under the age of 20. In other words, people under 20 in this country alone outnumber the 15 million Muslims (and that’s the very high end of the estimate) in all of Europe, of all ages, by a considerable margin.

Immigrants’ birthrates in the first generation are higher than the ‘native’ birthrate, but the difference narrows by the second, and disappears by the third generation. Many of the Muslims living here also are retirees, who originally had intended to work here and then to return to Turkey, but found the prospect of retirement in such a poor country too unpalatable. European immigration laws also are much more restrictive than the American ones, so immigration also won’t do much to increase the number of Muslims in Europe, even including illegal immigrants.

All this ‘Muslims are taking over Europe’ nonsense is nothing but ‘Anglospheric’ wishful thinking. I’m really getting fed up with this bullshit. This also includes talk about an alleged European ‘demographic death spiral’. I’ll address this in a upcoming post.

One last point, and subject of another post, is that the Muslim world is actually in much worse shape, demography-wise than Europe, given their state of economic and social development. If anything, we are going to take over the ‘Ummah’, rather than Europe becoming Muslim.

Update James asks about the number of Islamic converts. According to this website there are 14.000 German Muslim converts, and there are 250 to 350 new ones each year. As I responded in the comments, this is demographically insignificant, even if such converts could be a security headache, since they are indistinguishable from the ‘native’ population. It also has to be taken into consideration that many more Muslims than this are Muslims in name only, while many others are members of sects persecuted in Muslim countries, and therefore anything but sympathetic to Sunni or Shia fanatics.

I wrote above that 15 million is at the high-end for an estimate of Mulims living in the European Union, and I have no reason to change that in face of the several different numbers James posted. Muslim organization like to wildly overstate the numbers of the faithful, so estimates based on that are highly unreliable.

Update II Please see this new post.

23 thoughts on “Nonsense on European demographics”

  1. Now, no less than Mark Steyn was saying that in many French metropolitan areas the number of people who trace themselves to the Maghreb in the 21(or 18, I forget) and under cohort is close to 40%.
    I don’t know where he got his numbers, but this would indicate a higher proportion of “Muslims” in France later.
    I know nothing of the other Euro countries.

  2. In the middle of 90s, a catholic magazine – catholica ( – estimated around 30% of 0 to 5 yo people in France was from african continent (Maghreb and sub-Saharia). Those guy are now 10-15yo and the proportion of 0-5yo should be around 35 or 40%.

    Just look at Kosovo…

  3. In other words, people under 20 in this country alone outnumber the 15 million Muslims (and that’s the very high end of the estimate) in all of Europe, of all ages, by a considerable margin. Immigrants’ birthrates in the first generation are higher than the ‘native’ birthrate, but the difference narrows by the second, and disappears by the third generation.

    No links to sources which back up these numbers? That doesn’t surprise me, but only because there seems to be some disagreement as to the numbers involved and sources are hard to come by.

    This page at The Islam Project states that there are “35 to 50 million Muslims” which lived in Western Eusope in 2000, numbers which are significantly higher than what you assert to be the “very high end of the estimate”. The figures found at IP should be taken with a grain of salt for two reasons, though. The first is that they themselves admit that “no reliable statistics are available”. The second is that IP is devoted to promoting Islam in a positive light, so they have a strong incentive to inflate the numbers.

    Daniel Pipes wrote an article where he asserted that “5% of the E.U., or nearly 20 million persons” identified themselves as Muslim. He didn’t link to any source for his numbers either, but he did link to this article which discusses Europe’s declining population.

    An article at Times Online places the number of European Muslims at 13 million. Where did they get that number? The author doesn’t say.

    An op-ed which originally appeared on the United Press International wire also states that Europe has no more than 13 million Muslims, but that they comprise 10% of France’s population.

    And so it goes, on and on. No hard data, the numbers cited are conflicting, and it’s extremely difficult to seperate an example of biased agenda-driven reports from thoughtful analysis. The problem is made worse by the fact that professional journalism rewards those who publish alarmist fare while ignoring boring articles that claim there’s really nothing much going on.

    Still, I notice two glaring blind spots in Ralf’s post above.

    The first is the assumption that Muslims are only created through childbirth. Islam aggressively recruits, and it appears to be growing while Christianity seems to be shrinking. This presupposes that a citizen will be one or the other instead of being neither, of course, so it isn’t wholly compelling to me.

    The other problem with your arguement is that France has a real potential crises. 10% of the population is simply too large a segment to ignore, and there’s no reason to think that the numbers won’t continue to grow. Even if the rest of Europe manages to marginalize or assimilate their Islamic citizens, a nuclear armed France with a majority of fundamental Muslims at the voting booth isn’t a reassuring picture to contemplate.


  4. “…nothing but ‘Anglospheric’ wishful thinking.”

    A little bit unfair. Maybe not even fair to say Jacksonian wishful thinking. No matter irritated many of us may be with the French and Germans, etc., anyone with a brain in their head knows that we are better of with Old Europe more or less as it is than we would be if it really did end up all looking like a colder, wetter Algeria or Libya.

    I think most people are making talking about demographic decline because the numbers are widely reported and the trends are alarming, not out of malice toward Old Europe. The malice runs the other way, mostly. The ecstatic self-congratulation and gloating in the European media when Katrina hit was typical. The sense Americans have is very simple and based on evidence — the people in Old Europe see America as a malign, dangerous country and they wish us ill and they are glad when bad things happen to us, since it confirms their prejudices. As this kind of thing continues, the malice will more and more become a two way street.

  5. ElamBedn,

    in select urban spots there well might be a 40 or more percent Muslim share of population, but that’s due to the fatc that they are concentrate in those spots.


    Kosovo didn’t become majority Muslim by demographic means. During WW II, Mussolini forcibly united Kosovo with Albania to a Greater Albania, and Serbs, Roma and others were massacred or driven out. Nothing like that can happen here.


    I linked to a statistic, 17 million Germans are under 20. Muslims inflate their actual numbers everywhere in the world as a standard tactic.


    “ecstatic self-congratulation and gloating in the European media when Katrina hit was typical”

    That was actually absolutely untypical. There were some ugly examples, but there was very little of that. There is no such thing as ‘Old Europe’, but the vast majority of the people in the countries you refer to don’t despise America.

  6. As to converts: They can be a security headache, for they are obviously instinguishable of the general European population, but aren’t common enough to affect demographics.

  7. I linked to a statistic, 17 million Germans are under 20.

    Sure, but that’s hardly the point. How many Muslims are in Europe right now? How quickly are their numbers growing? How many of those 17 million German kids are going to decide to become Muslim if they aren’t already? How many Islamic immigrants will arrive in the next 5 years? 10 years? 50 years?

    European governments are usually based on Parliamentary systems, so it’s possible for a party which gains 35% or so of the vote to gain control. 10% of the French population right now is Islamic. How long will it be before there is 35%?

    These are legitimate questions, and they have to be answered before a meaningful discussion of the situation can start.

    If I’m reading your post correctly, you are saying that the Anglosphere has accepted as factual an unrealistic vision of present-day Europe. This distorted vision is leading to predictions that are simply impossible.

    Okay, point taken. So what is the true picture? Simply saying that there are 17 million young Germans without answering the other questions is hardly compelling.


  8. As to converts: They can be a security headache, for they are obviously instinguishable of the general European population, but aren’t common enough to affect demographics.

    I’m willing to accept your assertion, but not at face value. Got any proof?


  9. Pingback: Clive Davis
  10. Pingback: Clive Davis
  11. Ralph, denial of problems is not the answer.

    For example, you say
    “One last point, and subject of another post, is that the Muslim world is actually in much worse shape, demography-wise than Europe, given their state of economic and social development.”

    The UN estimates ( that Egypt will grow from 67 Million in 2000 to 125 Million in 2050 (medium variant).

    In Amsterdam, the most frequent name for newborn children is Mohammed.

    I agree that we shoud not panic. But to blind the eyes on a change that has much to do with demographic developments is not so wise.

    We have a huge demographic problem. We have a huge problem with immigration. We have a huge problem with Djihadism. Instead of denying this, we should start to look for strategies to respond to these challenges.

  12. We have a huge demographic problem. We have a huge problem with immigration. We have a huge problem with Djihadism. Instead of denying this, we should start to look for strategies to respond to these challenges

    I’m not denying anything. But in the face of claims like impending ‘Eurabia’, demographic death etc things have to be put into perpective.

    PS: The Netherlands are a special case, and so are ‘our’ Turks, compared to Arabs or Sub-Saharan Africans

  13. I agree, we should put the problems into perspective. What are the perspectives? High unemployment of immigrants, up to 40%, also in some quarters of Berlin. High birthrates of immigrants, as many of second-generation immigrants “import” their wives from Turkey or Arab countries. No real immigration policy. Furthermore, more than the half of young people in Arab countries (with very high birthrates) are ready to emigrate (cf. Arab Human Development Report). Consequence: Not less, but more immigrants. So what is to be done? First, we have to choose our immigrants. Second, we have to offer them something – we should start to see them as a chance, as a capital, not only as a problem. We should invest in them, by improving the schools etc. We need people who have a stake in our society, in our liberal order. When we continue to ignore or play down the problem, we will have a desaster on a far greater scale than France recently has lived.

  14. One of the chief issues here is whether the birthrates of second-and third-generation immigrants from high-birth-rate countries remains high, or whether the immigrants assimilate to local values. Historically, immigrants from high-birth-rate countries have adopted birth rates of their hosts throughout the West, except for religious communities that deliberately isolate themselves from the mainstream. These have included, in the USA and Canada, groups like Old Order Amish, Hutterites, and certain strictly-observant Orthodox Jews. The question then becomes, if the radical Islamists set the tone in segregated enclaves, including enforcing Salafist codes of behavior on women, will this not continue the traditional attitudes about birth rates as well?

    As for Anglosphere gloating, well, schadenfruede is a German word, not an English one. Most of the commentary I’ve seen is worried, not gloating.

  15. Ulrich,

    we are talking here about people who aren’t born, or respectively haven’t immigrated yet. Yes, we need to prepare for them, but aleast we have the time for that. Shutting our eyes won’t work anymore, and the French riots have driven that home.

    Of course, we need to distinguish between wjat’s happening in Germany, and what in the European Union as whole. It will get very unpleasant in some locally, like Amsterdam, or Kreuzberg.

    One thing that works in our favor in Germany as far as immigrants are concerned is that there are substantial economic disincentives to having lots of children. Differently from some other countries, welfare won’t make up for that, so even if someone wants to have a lot of children, they won’t be able to afford it.

  16. Jim,

    the aren’t living so close together in Germany, but they do in France and some other countries. The result will be very uneven, with problems getting serious in some places. Nothing that can’t be handled.

    Multiculturalism really doesn’t fit us. Once we get out of denial we are going to take dratsic steps. If we put them of for too long, maybe too drastic.

    Btw, Schadenfreude isn’t really German in nature. :)

    The German language just happens to allow sticking any number of words together and come up with terms other languages lack, and so need whole sentences to express the same thing instead:

    ‘Unfallschadensfeststellungsausschuss’ would be a comitee that determines the extent of damages from accident, for example. You can add as much you wish to this word.

  17. Jim,

    That’s the big issue, isn’t it? I think the relevant questions are:

    -What are the birthrates among the religious groups now as compared to in the past? It’s not enough to compare religious and non-religious groups to each other, particularly on a snapshot basis.

    -What are the rates at which non-Muslims in particular countries become Muslims? How well can we predict changes in these rates?

    -Similarly, in each specific country, are more secular or unobservant Muslims adopting traditional or Islamist ways, as compared to religious Muslims becoming relatively secular? What are the net rates of change?

    My hunch is that even members of the most religious groups tend to have fewer children as their incomes rise, but even if I am right there are conflicting trends, such as a high rate of recruiting by traditionalists that should raise birth rates. There must be data on these issues somewhere.

  18. “Nothing that can’t be handled.” “Once we get out of denial we are going to take dratsic steps.”

    I wish it were true.

    In France, nothing happens. What has to happen is to connect these people, and this means to give them the opportunity to work. Those angry young men don’t see any decent future for themselves. They feel vicimized, and they are indeed the victims of a France that opposes to open up it’s labor market as well as it’s market in general (cf. Doha).

    Integration means connectivity by work. If you don’t give people the chance to work, they will put there energy otherwise.

    Germany is different, I agree. But we have the same problem, the difference is only in quantity, not in quality.

    Neither in France nor in Germany there is any serious debate on these issues.

    When I read about “Eurabia” in the Anglosphere, I see very little Schadenfreude. To me, it sounds more like disappointed love.

  19. Yes, but if we in Germany won’t take drastic steps after all, an evolutionary approach well be enough:

    Zuwanderer gleichen ihr Reproduktionsverhalten schnell an das der
    “Einheimschen” an. So haben die in Deutschland lebenden Italiener und Spanier inzwischen noch weniger Kinder als die Deutschen. Die
    Geburtenrate der Türken Deutschlands nähert sich in schnellem Sinkflug von derzeit 1,7 dem statistischen Durchschnittsniveau der Deutschen von 1,3.

    For Non-German speakers: The Turks living in Germany currently have a birthrate of 1.7, and rapidly come closer to the 1.3 of the genetal German population. In other words, they already have a birthrate below replacement level, and soon will reproduce no faster than ‘native’ Germans.

    There are religious zealots here, but not nearly enough to have an effect on Muslim birthrates, as Jim speculated. The economic disincentives to having many children are just too great. While extended families could help young couples to have more than two children, all their resources would be used up, and the sacrifice is too much for all but the most traditionalist Muslims.

    Ulrich, as to your other point: Yes, Turks living in Germany often have wives from the ‘mother country’, but conversely that means that Turkish women here either go without a husband, or marry a German or other European man.

  20. Wees maar bang. Echt bang! Jij droomt als je denkt dat binnenkort de oorspronkelijk europese mensen geen minderheid zou zijn. Wakker worden voordat het te laat is.

  21. No one seems to have addressed the big question: what percentage of Europe’s total population increase–natural increase plus net immigration–is of Islamic origin? Perhaps it would be more accurate to focus on new births only by adding the Muslim share of the natural increase plus the number of births in various Muslim countries who are reasonably anticipated to immigrate to Europe two or three decades later, and dividing this by the sum of these numbers plus all other births in Europe, and the births of non-Muslim non-Europoeans expected to immigrate to Europe in the future.

    I also think too much hope is placed in the secularization of Muslims. The recent riots in France *were* by the more secularized Muslims, for one thing.

    For another, even among secular Muslims, Islam may remain an important social identity marker, as Judaism does for secularized Jews. The bloody civil war in the former Yugoslavia near the end of the 20th century was between secularized Orthodox Serbo-Croats, secularized Roman Catholic Serbo-Croats, and secularized Islamic Serbo-Croatian “Bosnians.”

    Finally, these immigrants from the Middle East and Africa are from populations with substantially lower IQ’s than Europeans. Eventually, large scale lower IQ immigration will lower the average IQ of European countries significantly. _IQ and the Wealth of Nations_ by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen showed that mean national IQ explains economic performance equally as well as the economic system adopted. From a bio-economics point of view, a problem is posed not only by Muslim immigrants, but also by non-Muslim immigrants with IQ’s below the European mean.

    Book review:

    Also, Ch. Murray and Richard Herrnstein showed 11 years ago in _The Bell Curve_ that a change of merely 3 points in national IQ would make a very large difference in social dysfunctions such as crime, welfare dependency, unemployment, and illegitimacy. I think they picked the 3 points figure for illustrative purposes because of at least two estimates that real IQ–undistorted by the “inflationary” Flynn Effect (first reported by Richard Lynn)–has been declining at a rate of about 3 points a century in western countries through differential fertility alone. With a mean global IQ of about 90–and generally lower in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean– immigration policies based on “blank slate” assumptions will only accelerate this decline.

  22. pellarius:
    The French riots included lots of secularized or semi-secularized Muslims; but also likely quite a lot of sec/semi-sec Christians as well. Albeit a minority among the rioters compared to Muslims of Black African or Arab or Berber backgrounds.
    IMIIC an appreciable number of the Black “youth” of the banlieus are of Christian backgrounds from areas such as southern Ivory Coast. What percentages I haven’t a clue; France doesn’t record that sort of data officialy.

    More broadly:
    There are currently some 480 million citizens of European Union states. 15 million are Muslims.

    I have read in some blogs statements about the majority of Dutch schoolchildren being Muslims.
    In the Netherlands 91% of the population is ethnic Dutch, Muslims 4%.
    The total population under 14 is 18%.
    So majority of schoolkids Muslim? I don’t think so.
    The Muslim population is heavily concentrated in a few urban centres: thats why they show up in schools and hospitals for (inner) Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

    Or take France as an example.
    Current Muslim population c.7%
    IF current rates of Muslim increase (immigration and reproduction combined)continue at 2% per annum
    AND non-Muslims decline at 0.5% per annum
    THEN after 50 years Muslim population is 20% of total, after roughly a century 50%.

    Both assumptions are unlikely. Immigrant decendant birthrates almost always fall off from initial levels. And conversions are trivial, in demographic terms. Mostly accounted for by the relatively few women of Christian or secular background who marry Muslim men.
    For instance, in the UK after pronouncements a few years ago about the “rapid expansion of Islam” it turns out there are about 40,000 British converts all told. For comparison converts to organized Buddhism number over 180,000. And Jedi Knights 390,000.

    Another such factoid was the one about “more people attend mosques than go to Church of England”. Maybe, if all the c. 1.5 million self-identified Muslims all attend mosques each Friday (which I doubt), that beats the C of E at about a million each Sunday; but not the combined Christian Churches, or even the Anclicans alone for once monthly figures (1.7 million). Never mind the 40 million odd who attend at least once a year.

    My money’s on the Jedi.

    Demographic takeover isn’t the problem, short to medium-term anyhow.
    What is the problem is a (possibly growing) minority of militants within a larger number of often poorly-assimilated ( or reacting to the problematic assimiliation and desire for masculine assertive identity Theodore Dalrymple has desribed) second or third generation Muslims, and a very few loopy converts.

Comments are closed.