Muslims in Kosovo: A Socio-economic and Demographic Profile: Is the Muslim Population Exploding?

  • Mughal Abdul Ghaffar Assistant Research Professor, Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Qatar University


Kosovo has the highest percentage of Muslims of any European country except for Turkey. To our knowledge, there has been no systematic study of the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the Muslim population of Kosovo. The present study is the first attempt to fill this gap. Ethnicity and religious affiliation are almost synonymous in Kosovo, with ninety seven percent of Albanians, the dominant ethnic group, identifying themselves as Muslim. With the exception of a tiny fraction, the same is true of Turks, Goranis, and Bosnians: their ethnicity and religion are almost synonymous. By the same token, almost all Serbs are Christian Orthodox. As regards the sectarian division among Muslims, most Muslims are Sunni. Other than Muslims and Orthodox Christians, a tiny minority consists of other groups including Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Bektashi Shias, and non-believers. We estimate that in 2009, the population of Muslims in Kosovo was about 1890000 or 93% of the total population of Kosovo. The share of Muslim population is expected to grow but at a decreasing rate. By 2029, the share of Muslim population is projected to increase to 95 percent under a medium fertility scenario.  This projection is significant in that it casts doubt on the perception of Muslim demographic exceptionalism – the view that Muslims are culturally resistant to family planning and are disposed to early marriages, resulting in a higher growth rate of Muslims relative to non-Muslims. While not new, the subject of Muslim demographic exceptionalism has been receiving increasing traction in the aftermath of the September 2001 attack on the Twin Towers.  We conclude that Muslims are expected to follow the demographic trajectory of other groups albeit with a delayed effect. The projected delayed effect is accounted for by population momentum.

Keywords: Muslim, socio-economic characteristics, Kosovo, demography, Balkan, Muslim exceptionalism, demographic transition, population momentum.


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Author Biography

Mughal Abdul Ghaffar, Assistant Research Professor, Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Qatar University

Assistant Research Professor, Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Qatar University


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