The Shape of Islamic Things to Come

05 June 2012
The Shape of Islamic Things to Come

Gates of Vienna 5 June 2012

The Austrian city of Salzburg is facing an increasingly Islamic future. The city’s religious makeup will become much more diverse over the next two decades, with some of the changes due the immigration of German Protestants. The largest factor in the current demographic shift, however, is the influx of Turkish immigrants and their descendants.

Many thanks to Hermes for translating this article from Salzburger Fenster:

Salzburg in 2030: An increasing religious diversity

The number of Catholics decreases to 50%

The number of Muslims will increase steadily in the country until 2030, and also the number of Protestants. More and more of them are taking leading positions.

[Photo caption: Empty churches — 60 years ago 9 out of 10 inhabitants of Salzburg were Catholics. It’s likely that by 2030 only half of the population will remain so.]

The number of Catholics amongst the population of Salzburg will continue to decrease. And remarkably. This is what calculations made by the Robert Jungk Library for questions regarding the future in Salzburg predict. "We in Salzburg have now reached the low level of 50% Catholic. We’ll see this trend also in the other districts until 2030”, a member of the JBZ, Stefan Wally explains. The reasons are many. On one hand, in recent decades many citizens of Salzburg have turned away from the Catholic church (In 1951 89% were Catholics, in 2001 only 74%). On the other hand, the arrival of Islam in Salzburg in the 1970s with the foreign workers — a religion to which about 10% of the population currently belong to. It is mainly because the Turkish families have more children on average than the Austrians that the number of Muslims increases so notably. This will not change in the near future. Over the long term the birth rate should decrease also in the Turkish community. "In Turkey women have only 2.1 children because of increasing living standards. This also happens in Salzburg”, Wally says.

The researchers of the JBZ see that the immigrants and their children and grandchildren will take new positions towards the year 2030: Their formative level gets higher. Children from immigrants are proportionally overrepresented in business schools and academies. "They will occupy leading positions in an ever increasing number of companies in the next 20 years”, Wally says. The youth organizations of the ÖVP and the SPÖ in Salzburg are already led by young citizens from Salzburg with Arab or Turkish roots.

Moreover, the biggest immigrant community in the country, the German Protestants (they were 4.3% in 2001) will cause an increase in the number of Protestants in Salzburg.