Saturday, June 07, 2008

Lies, damn lies, or statistics: how reliable are Steyn's numbers?

In 2005, Steyn wrote an article for the Jewish World Review with the title ("U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode"), which adumbrated the argument of his book, America Alone, that Europe was in the process of being overrun by Muslims. Money quote:
    "By some projections, the EU's population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. "
Whose projections? That has been not easy to determine. This post by blogger The Crossed Pond may have found the answers:
    There was an NIC report released in December 2004, a couple of months before the article was written, where four ‘fictional scenarios’ were considered; one of them ... is ‘A New Caliphate’ in which the moslem population of Europe is projected to go as high as between 22 and 37 million; that is not the same thing, of course, as heading towards 40 percent. Could he have made that mistake? It doesn’t seem reasonable that he could have, but maybe he did, and in company; there is a Scotsman article at about the same time ... where it is projected that the moslem population will climb to 22 to 37% instead of the 22-37 million in the report. So it seems that the Scotsman author, at least, did make the mistake of switching percent in for millions. ...

    At the beginning of 2004, the population of the EU was 456 million. 40% of that figure is 182 million. Where are they going to come from in twenty years, assuming anything close to a constant EU population, from a 2005 muslim EU population of 15 million or so? Even if the population drops as the babyboomers do, there’s still going to be, ballpark, over a hundred million new moslems needed to make that figure true.
Islam in France
There is, of course, a big difference between 40 of 456 million (and if that was a round up) and 40% of 456 million.

But how many Muslims are in Europe? This study reports a French poll that asked the French what religion they identified with. 3% of those polled "identified most" with Islam. The map to the right is instructive. There are larger communities of self-identifying Muslim in Paris, Lyons, and Strassbourg. Elsewhere, not so much.

Catholicism in France
For comparision, look at those self-identifying as Catholics (below and to the right).

So, what of Steyn's thesis that Europe will eventually become Islamic? Not for a long, long time.