Muslim Population of the Republic of Macedonia: A Demographic and Socio-economic Profile
This paper challenges the thesis of Muslim demographic exceptionalism by providing a detailed case study of the Republic of Macedonia. Given the heterogeneity of Muslim populations in different countries, country level investigation of the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of Muslim population is important to devulgarize the level of discussion about this subject, which has been receiving increasing attention in both academic/policy and popular circles in the aftermath of 9/11. The Republic of Macedonia had a population of 2.1 million as of 2009. Ethnicity and religious affiliation are almost identical for the main ethnicities - with the exception of a tiny fraction, almost all ethnic Macedonians are Christian Orthodox, and almost all Albanians, Turks, and Bosnians are Muslim. Ninety two percent of Romas are also Muslims. In 2009, about 35% population of Macedonia was estimated to be Muslim. Muslim population of the Republic of Macedonia will continue to grow over the next twenty years, with its the share of projected to increase to 40 percent by 2029 under a medium fertility scenario. Given the decreasing rate of growth, Muslims are expected to remain a minority for the foreseeable future. Thus, Muslims are expected to follow the demographic trajectory of other groups albeit with a delayed effect because of the population momentum. This finding is consistent with the conclusions from recent studies on the demographics of Muslims, and casts serious doubts on the thesis of Muslim exceptionalism.
Keywords: Macedonia, Macedonian, population, Muslim, Balkans, demography, socio-economic characteristics
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