France: As Many Muslims as Practising Catholics in 18-29 Year-Old Demographic


Fewer and fewer French identify as being actively religious, and according to a new study there are now as many practising Muslims among the 18- to 29-year-old demographic as there are practising Roman Catholics.

In total, around 32 per cent of French in 2018 identify as being members of the Roman Catholic church, but the majority, 19 per cent, say that they do not practise, and only seven per cent say that they attend mass once a month — down from an already low nine per cent in 2008, French political magazine Le Point reports.

The research comes from sociologists Claude Dargent and Olivier Galland who compared the numbers to 1981 when 70 per cent of French identified as being Roman Catholics and 17 per cent regularly practised.

One of the largest trends in the data is the huge difference between those of different generations in terms of active religious practice. Among the 18 to 29-year-olds, a mere three per cent of Catholics say they practise, compared to  16 per cent of those over the age of 70.

As Catholicism has declined, other religions have grown in France, with Islam being the fastest. Around 14 per cent of French identify as being Muslim, and among the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket there are just as many practising Muslims in France as practising Roman Catholics.

The rise of Islam in France was addressed by Archbishop of Strasbourg Luc Ravel, who tied the trend to the shifting population demographics, claiming, “Muslim believers know very well that their birthrate is such that today, they call it … the Great Replacement, they tell you in a very calm, very positive way that, ‘one day all this, it will be ours’.”

The idea of population replacement, conceived as the “Great Replacement” by French writer Renaud Camus, is considered a conspiracy theory by many in the mainstream media.

According to a survey by  Jean-Jaurès Foundation and Conspiracy Watch, at least a quarter of French believe “elites” are using mass migration policies to replace them.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)




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