Despite the fact that Muslims tend to exhibit behavior that clearly distinguishes them from both the European host populations and other immigrant groups, there are no official figures to indicate how many Muslims live in Sweden and Denmark. Danes and Swedes have had to rely on wildly diverging estimates because the authorities refuse to publish statistics on religion or culture.
In Denmark estimates ranging from 200,000 to 700,000 have been circulated.
Dispatch is now able to reveal the true figures based on our own research: 574,000 Muslims in Sweden and 256,000 in Denmark. The statistical uncertainty is roughly +/- 20,000 in Sweden and +/- 10,000 in Denmark.
This means that Muslims make up 6.05% of Sweden’s population and 4.59% of Denmark’s.
In 1998 there were 284,000 Muslims in Sweden and they made up 3.21% of the total population. In other words, the number of Muslims has roughly doubled over the period 1998-2011.
During the same period, Muslim immigration and natural increase among Swedish Muslims have accounted for slightly over 41% of Sweden’s total population growth.
The Muslim share of Denmark’s total population growth 1998-2012 is markedly lower and accounts for a bit over 33%
In 1998 Denmark’s Muslim population was 153,000 and made up 2.88% of the total population.
As mentioned, neither Statistics Denmark nor its Swedish equivalent, Statistiska Centralbyrån, keep records of how many Muslims live in the two countries. They do, however, register how many people bear particular first names.
By January 1, 2012, e.g., 50,697 Danish men and boys were named Jens and 43,258 were called Henrik. Ali was a name shared by 3,776 and Mohammad by 3,717. It should be kept in mind that the bearers of variations on the Mohammad name – such as Muhamad, Ahmed and Mahmoud – are registered separately.
Sweden’s name statistic follows roughly the same principle when it comes to name registration as Statistics Danmark. There is, however, a difference in that Sweden does not register names of persons that intend to stay less than 12 months in the country nor the names of asylum seekers while their application is being processed. For this reason the number of Muslims in Sweden is undoubtedly higher than indicated by Dispatch International’s count.
The two most popular Swedish names registered by December 31, 2011 were Lars (98,435 persons) and Anders (81,562). The most common Muslim names were Ali (9,062) and Mohamed (5,056).
As practically all Muslims have Muslim first names, it is a simple albeit lengthy operation to count the number of Muslim males and, with the assumption that there is an equal number of Muslim females, one may calculate the total Muslim population.
This is the method by which Dispatch has reached its figures.
When there has been doubt whether a name is Muslim, we have not taken it into account. In addition, a number of Swedes and Danes have converted to Islam. In many cases converts have exchanged their Nordic names for Muslim ones, but not always.
These factors explain why Dispatch operates with a statistical uncertainty. As a result we may have underestimated the number of Muslims that can be identified through a name count, but probably not by more than 20,000 in Sweden and 10,000 in Denmark.
It goes without saying that Dispatch’s survey does not include people that are here illegally.
In the case of Sweden, we have only done name counts for 1998 and 2011. For Denmark, Lars Hedegaard has calculated the figures relating to 1998, 2004, 2008 and 2012. The Danish figures are as of January 1 whereas the Swedish ones relate to December 31, 1998 and 2011.
Our calculations reveal an interesting development. Between 1998 and 2004, Denmark’s Muslim population grew by an average of 4.26% a year. During the period 2004-2008, the average yearly growth decreased slightly to 3.52%.
After 2008 this trend has been reversed and the yearly growth is now higher than at any time since 1998, namely 4.29%
This reversal has taken place while Denmark’s former center-right government was in power with the parliamentary support of the immigration-critical Danish People’s Party. This government was heavily criticized for being ”xenophobic” and ”Islamophobic” due to its supposedly restrictive immigration policies. But the actual figures show that the center-right governments that were in power from 2001 till 2011 hardly made a dent in the Muslim growth rate.
Over the entire period 1998-2012, the average yearly increase in Denmark’s Muslim population was 4.27% whereas Sweden, with its much more welcoming immigration policy, experienced an average growth rate of 7.85%
There are several indications that the Muslim growth rate is set to rise in both Denmark and Sweden. As one of its first actions the Social Democratic-led government that came to power in 2011 reversed some of the restrictions on immigration imposed by the former cabinet.
As for Sweden, the immigration authorities (Migrationsverket) estimate an influx of 174,500 new immigrants over the coming two years.
Most of these arrivals will probably be Muslims, as the largest groups of immigrants are likely to come from Somalia and Afghanistan.
Article by Ingrid Carlqvist & Lars Hedegaard