“Population replacement policy a verifiable fact”

Population replacement in the West

It is not a subjective opinion, but a plain statement of fact that demographic policy in Sweden in particular and the West in general represents an ongoing population replacement. So writes Kyösti Tarvainen, Associate Professor Emeritus of Systems Analysis at Aalto University.

Published 2 June 2023
This is an opinion piece. The author is responsible for the views expressed in the article.

I have been making population projections for the Nordic countries for ten years. The demographic change is fastest in Sweden. This is very sad for us in Finland, as we are grateful for the Western and Christian culture we have received from you – but now Sweden could become the first Muslim country in Western Europe.

Population replacement means a replacement of the main population

In the US, it appears that the original Native American population has changed to an immigrant European population since Columbus. However, according to the US census, there are probably more people today who identify themselves as Native Americans than there were before Columbus. The term ‘population replacement’ therefore means that the main population of a country is gradually changing.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau – the agency responsible for the census that is regularly conducted in the United States – the next census will result in a minority of the European population in the United States in 25 years’ time, with the majority being non-European1. It is possible that in the next century the Mexican and Latino populations will become the majority. The majority will then be the non-European population. It is possible that in the next century the Mexican and other Latino populations will grow into a majority. Since this population is partly of Indian origin, it has been jokingly said that the Indians are getting their land back.

The Swedish model

In Europe, demographic changes are most dramatic in Sweden. Statistics Sweden classifies people with a Swedish background as those who were born in Sweden and have at least one parent born in Sweden. This population thus includes ethnic Swedes and also some other population groups.

In Europe, demographic changes are most dramatic in Sweden.

The large dots in Figure 1 show the share of the population with a Swedish background in 2003 ̶ 20202. These points are almost on the same line. If there are no major changes in immigration, it is clear that the trend will continue in the same way. A straight extension through the points is drawn in the figure to provide a forecast of the share of Swedes in Sweden’s future population for the years 2020 ̶ 2062.

Figure 1 shows that the part of the population with Swedish background and ethnic Swedes is becoming a minority. In Sweden this will happen in about 40 years, only about 15 years later than for the European population in the USA. As shown below, the exact standard demographic method, i.e. the cohort component method, which uses several hundred population parameters for the calculation, yields almost the same results (compare Figure 2).

Figure 1. Observed share of the population with Swedish background 2003 – 2020 according to Statistics Sweden’s definition (dots) and linear extrapolation of the future population (straight line).



As shown in Figure 1, Sweden is experiencing a historical phenomenon: the ethnic Swedes, whose country was previously considered by many to be one of the best in the world, are becoming a minority in their own country.

Deniers of the population exchange

Just as there are deniers of the Holocaust and climate change, there are also deniers of population exchange. One reason may be that they want to close their eyes to an unpleasant issue. For example, in September 2020, Swedish Government Minister Morgan Johansson denied that there was a population exchange in Sweden. But there are also two influential parties working to hide the facts highlighted by the demographic projections.

First, there are Muslims who fear that predictions of Muslim population growth will lead to restrictions on Muslim immigration. Second, there are multicultural idealists who sense that if demographic changes are realized, their multicultural ideals would collapse ̶ ideals that can be part of a person’s identity3.

We do not make ‘forecasts’ but ‘projections’

A very common way of ignoring population forecasts is to say that unexpected events may occur in the future and therefore the future cannot be predicted. This is true because, for example, the level of immigration is entirely dependent on immigration policy and no one can predict long-term election results.

However, we do not do ‘population forecasts’ but ‘population projections’ – which can be as simple as in Figure 1, although usually they are not. However, the starting point for population projections is the current situation or trend. If we do not have information on whether a quantity will increase or decrease, current values are usually used in the projections. This is usually the case for net migration (net migration is the difference between immigration and emigration). Therefore, as in the following, it is often assumed that net migration remains at the current level. This information is valuable to policy makers, and useful for making decisions.

Similarly, it is not known for the native Nordic populations whether the current decline in fertility will continue or whether fertility will increase. Therefore, the fertility of the native population is assumed to remain at the same level as in 2019 in the following projections.

However, the high fertility of the Muslim population has been declining in Muslim and Western countries and the decline can be expected to continue. The Pew Research Center has assessed the future development of Muslim fertility in the Nordic countries. Mortality in the Nordic countries has been falling so steadily for many decades that the decline can be expected to continue, at least for the foreseeable future.

Sensitivity analysis

It is also useful to know that when there is uncertainty in projections, such as fertility, a sensitivity analysis is always carried out. In this case, the fertility rate is given different possible values to see how much the results change. In other words, we study how sensitive the results are to possible errors in the quantities used in the model.

Population projections have regularly found that the results of the model are most sensitive to assumed future net migration, not, for example, to assumed fertility levels. For example, if the population projection for Sweden assumes that the fertility of Muslims will be the same as that of native Swedes as of January 1, 2020, the date on which ethnic Swedes will become a minority is shifted, but it will occur only five years later.

The cohort component method is simple

The cohort component method used in demography is based on the age distribution of each population group at the beginning of each year, i.e. the number of 0-year-olds, 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds and so on at the beginning of the year. Suppose, as a numerical example, that at the beginning of a year there are 2000 people aged 30 in some population group. Thus, at the beginning of next year, there will be 2000 people aged 31, minus those who died during the year, plus new immigrants aged 31. A special case is the number of 0-year-olds at the beginning of the following year. In each population group, we have estimates of the percentage of women in each age group who give birth to a child during the year. Based on these, the number of 0-year-olds is obtained.

Anyone skilled in programming can implement this method on a computer. Given the values in Table 1 and the statistical authorities’ data on age distribution, probability of death and childbirth, the results presented below can be repeated. Population projections work within the framework of the assumptions made, with mathematical certainty.

Changes in Nordic immigration since 2015

In 2018, a study on demographic developments in the Nordic countries 2015-2065 was published, describing in more detail the population groups covered and demographic issues4. It was assumed that net migration would continue at the average level of 2012-2014 before the crisis year 2015. The following are updated results where net migration is based on 2018 and 2019. Table 1 shows the changes in migration since the crisis year 2015.


Table 1. The values in the table are based on the years 2018 and 2019. The values in brackets are based on the years 2012-2014 used in the previous study.4


Table 1 highlights two points. Firstly, net migration has halved in Denmark and Norway compared to the pre-2015 situation, in Finland it has decreased slightly, but increased in Sweden. Secondly, the net migration of Muslims has decreased significantly from 25% to 5% in Denmark, a figure of 52% in Sweden and 42% in Finland. It is also known that 730 more refugees moved out of Denmark in 2019 than arrived5.

Table 1 shows the fertility rates of non-Muslims and Muslims. The table shows the number of children a woman gives birth to during her life, for each population. For a population not to decline, it is necessary to have about 2.1 children per woman. This value applies to the Nordic countries, which have a high standard of living and good health care. The table shows that the fertility rate for the Nordic indigenous populations is below the level required for them not to decline.

One possible reason for the changes in Denmark is that the Danes have made it clear to immigrants that Danish culture is the leading culture and thus Denmark should no longer be a multicultural country. In immigrant suburbs, for example, children are required to take courses in Danish culture, which includes such things as democracy and Christmas6. This teaching probably offends the sensibilities of many Muslims, since the Koran says that Muslims are the best people. Another obvious reason is that since 2019 the Danish government has been very generous in helping refugees returning to their home countries7.

Projections for indigenous populations

The left half of Figure 2 shows the historical evolution of the indigenous population until the first of January 2020. To the right of the green vertical line in the figure, the projection of the indigenous population until 2100. The projections have been calculated using the cohort component method.

For example, in Figure 1, the term ‘native population’ in the case of Sweden is slightly different from the SCB term ‘persons with a Swedish background’ mentioned above. The original population does not include second-generation immigrants, or immigration that goes back even more generations. However, the original population also includes people with a foreign background who marry a person belonging to the original population, which means that the original population is slowly changing. Today, the difference between the two concepts is very small: at the beginning of 2020, the share of ‘persons of Swedish background’ was 74.5% and the share of ‘indigenous population’ was 74.0%.


Figure 2. Share of the indigenous population in the total population: historical values 1980-2020, and projections for 2021-2100.


Figure 2 shows that Denmark has deviated from developments in other countries (compare Table 1), but that its indigenous population is also moving towards a minority in the long term. Figure 2 shows the crisis year 2015 as small changes in the direction of the graph.

Muslim populations and Western populations

When the cohort component method is used to consider the Muslim population, the projections in Table 2 for 2100 are obtained. These reviews have been applied to the Pew Research Center’s estimate, based on French research, that 10 percent of those born into Muslim families renounce belief in Islam.


Table 2. Share of Muslims in the population in 2100.


In their 2017 study, the Pew Research Center considered three scenarios for the growth of Europe’s Muslim population by 20508. They consider the middle scenario to be the most likely. According to this, the Muslim share of the population in 2050 will be 20.5% in Sweden. The corresponding reading in the computer program for the year 2050 in our latest study is almost the same, 20 percent.

Figure 2 does not give the share of the Swedish indigenous population in 2100, but it is lower than the Muslim share of 34% (Table 2). This means that there will be more Muslims in Sweden in 2100 than ethnic Swedes, if current trends continue. The rest will be non-Muslims with a foreign background.

At the current rate Sweden could become the first Muslim-majority country in Western Europe. This would mean a dramatic cultural change given that Sweden is in the upper right-hand corner furthest away from Muslim countries on the world cultural map9.

Table 3 shows the projection for 2100 for the Western population. The Western population consists of the indigenous population (Figure 2) and people with a foreign background whose background is Western in Danish statistics. These include EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (and a few other small countries). As with the indigenous population, a non-Western person who marries a Western person is considered to be Western.


Table 3. Share of western population in 2100.


According to Table 3, the Western population in Sweden will be a minority in 2100. The Western population in Sweden will be a minority already in 2080, if the current level of immigration continues.

Demographic timetable

In the case of the Nordic countries, three stages of demographic change can be distinguished, which in Sweden occur as follows, if current policies continue:

  • The indigenous population will become a minority in 2065.
  • The Western population will become a minority by 2080
  • The Muslim population will be the largest population group by 2100 (slightly later, Muslims will become an absolute majority, i.e. more than half the population.

The other Nordic countries follow suit. Figure 2 shows that Finland, for example, is about 60 years behind Sweden in terms of changing population composition. Similar developments are taking place in many parts of the world, leading to more than 50 states becoming Muslim. Such developments can be stable and long-lasting: in about 300 years, for example, Turkish territory changed from being 100 percent Christian to 50 percent Islamic.

The latest significant example is Lebanon, where Christians were the majority in 1900, but then at the end of the century Muslims gained significant political power as their population grew to a majority for two reasons: immigration of Palestinian refugees with the help of Christians combined with the high birth rate of Muslims.

As a result, the country has suffered a civil war and is in a state of unrest with strong divisions between different population groups.

The demographic development in the Nordic countries can be stopped by changes in immigration policy, but the necessary measures are radical. The required changes in immigration policy have been examined from a demographic perspective in two articles in The Good Society10,11. For example, in order for the proportion of people with a Swedish background to be the same in 2100 as in 2020, net migration should be negative, with 7 000 more people with a foreign background leaving Sweden each year than immigrating to the country.

European ‘dissidents’: Former communist countries

One of the strangest things in world history is that the countries of Western Europe, which have created a high culture, have turned a blind eye to population change. If population exchange continues, it will lead to the creation of an entirely new Islamic culture, based on the divine laws that Muhammad said he received from Allah through the archangel Gabriel in the 6th century. This is happening despite the fact that the prestigious Pew Research Center has been presenting population projections for Muslim population growth for about a decade, and national statistical institutes have long published historical data on demographic changes as shown in Figures 1 and 2.

A further historical paradox is that communism seems to have saved the countries of Central and Eastern Europe from the likely serious conflicts that will arise in Western Europe as the Muslim population grows. Communism made these countries so poor that they did not attract Muslims or other non-European immigrants. Now that several former communist countries have begun to prosper, these countries see the social ills caused by the influx of Muslims into Western Europe and see how quickly the number of Muslims is growing. They therefore do not want the immigration of people whose culture is different from their European culture.

Table 4 shows how dramatically the projected development is different in Western Europe compared to the former communist states in Europe. The table is based on the Pew Research Center’s 2017 study8. In the table, the countries of Western Europe are the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta. Former communist states are Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Latvia and Estonia.


Table 4: Proportion of the Muslim population in Western Europe and former communist states according to a 2017 Pew Research Center study8.


As shown in Table 4, by 2050 the proportion of the Muslim population in Western Europe could be ten times greater than in the former communist states. At least the Visegrad countries (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) have announced that they do not accept Muslims for cultural reasons. Former communist states have had recent historical experience of what foreign cultural supremacy means for national culture. Several have also experienced Muslim rule during the Ottoman era.

Western Europe also turns a blind eye to these historical experiences and sees Islam only as a religion that must be accepted in the name of religious freedom. Most politicians have no understanding of what the growing number of Muslims will bring in terms of conflicts and other problems arising from cultural and religious differences. Muhammad said that he received the laws from Allah. These laws and rules of life govern everything in the lives of Muslims. They also deal with many of the social and political issues that our culture decides in parliament. Thus, Islam is not only a matter of personal faith, but also a religious-political ideology whose divine laws cover the whole of society and conflict at crucial points with the constitutions of the West.

Since information on Islam is very incomplete, now would be the time to establish Islamic research centers that do not study Islam only as a religion as the theological faculties of universities do. I am referring to research that considers the social and political implications of Islam, and especially its relationship with the West; the rise of Islam to political power in different countries; the political and cultural implications of Islam over 1400 years; the current more than 50 Islamic societies compared to Western countries; what kind of changes Islam’s power in the West might bring in the light of historical experience. But already now politicians should familiarize themselves with these issues through literature. An example of well-written, objective books on Islam are those written by Robert Spencer.


Kyösti Tarvainen,
Associate Professor Emeritus of Systems Analysis at Aalto University




  1. U.S. Census Bureau (2015). Projections of the size and composition of the U.S. population: 2014 to 2060. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p25-1143.pdf.
  2. SCB (2020). Antal personer med utländsk eller svensk bakgrund (grov indelning) efter region, ålder och kön. År 2002-2019. http://www.statistikdatabasen.scb.se/pxweb/sv/ssd/START__BE__BE0101__BE0101Q/UtlSvBakgGrov/.
  3. Expo är en förnekare av folkutbytet; se Staffan Marklund, ”Critique of the article by Morgan Finnsiö, titled ’Nej, svenskar riskerar inte att bli minoritet, published Expo, 2019-06-19.” Oberoende förnuft, 20 juli 2019. https://www.fornuft.se/aktuellt/debatt/critique-of-the-article-by-morgan-finnsio-titled-nej-svenskar-riskerar-inte-att-bli-i-minoritet-published-by-expo-2019-06-19/.
  4. Kyösti Tarvainen (2018). “Population projections for Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland, 2015–2065.“ Bulletin of Geography. Socioeconomic Series, 39, 147-160. http://doi.org/10.2478/bog-2018-0010.
  5. The Copenhagen Post. “Danish news round-up: More refugees leaving Denmark than arriving.” 4 May 2020. http://cphpost.dk/?p=113808.
  6. Reuters. “Denmark to school ‘ghetto’ kids in democracy and Christmas.” 28 May 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-denmark-immigration/denmark-to-school-ghetto-kids-in-democracy-and-christmas-idUSKCN1IT1EO?il=0.
  7. Danish Refugee Council (2019). About repatriation 2010 – Information about repatriation for refugees and immigrants. https://flygtning.dk/media/5095763/a6-folder-2019-engelsk.pdf.
  8. Pew Research Center (2017). Europe’s growing Muslim population. https://www.pewforum.org/2017/11/29/europes-growing-muslim-population/.
  9. World Values Survey (2020). Findings and insights. Institute for Comparative Survey Research. http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSContents.jsp.
  10. Kyösti Tarvainen. ”Del 1 – Om den katastrofala demografiska utvecklingen i de nordiska länderna – vad måste göras för att stoppa befolkningsutbytet.” Det Goda Samhället 6 mars 2020. https://detgodasamhallet.com/2020/03/06/gastskribent-kyosti-tarvainen-del-1-om-den-katastrofala-demografiska-utvecklingen-i-de-nordiska-landerna-vad-maste-goras-for-att-stoppa-befolkningsutbytet/#more-23777.
  11. Kyösti Tarvainen. ”Del 2 – Hur invandringspolitiken måste ändras med utgångspunkt i ett demografiskt perspektiv.” Det Goda Samhället 7 mars 2020. https://detgodasamhallet.com/2020/03/07/gastskribent-kyosti-tarvainen-del-2-hur-invandringspolitiken-maste-andras-med-utgangspunkt-i-ett-demografiskt-perspektiv/#more-23801.

Kyösti Tarvainen is Associate Professor Emeritus of Systems Analysis at Aalto University.

Tarvainen has taught at Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Helsinki. His academic background includes a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Engineering Physics from Helsinki University of Technology and a PhD in Systems and Control Engineering in the USA with a specialization in mathematical modelling.