Estimating the Size and Distribution of the Muslim Population of the United States


This project was based on a pilot project done in the 1990s in San Diego County, which was funded by a grant from Dar al Islam, a private foundation in New Mexico. In turn, that project was inspired by the following publication: John R. Weeks, “The Demography of Islamic Nations,” Population Bulletin Population Reference Bureau), 43(4), December, 1988. These earlier efforts led to a grant from the American Muslim Council to estimate the Muslim population in the United States. Although the number of Muslims in the United States is now large and growing, prior to estimates from survey organizations such as Pew Research Center, it was difficult to know how large and at what rate the population was increasing, since there are no official statistics on religious identification. Published estimates of the Muslim population in the United States in the 1990s produced a mean figure of slightly less than 5 million, but the bases of the estimates varied widely in terms of the data used and the assumptions made. In this research we defined the Muslim population largely in ethnic terms, using data from Census 2000 and the 1990 Census on ancestry, language and place of birth to estimate the Muslim population that is largely of non-US origin (although including children of immigrants). Most estimates of the Muslim population vary especially on the number of African-Americans who are Muslim. We used a range of surveys that provided data cross-tabulating race and religion in order to generate low, medium, and high estimates of the percentage of the Muslim population in the U.S. that is African-American. Our results are found in the following publication:

John R. Weeks, Estimating the Muslim Population in the United States Using Census 2000 Data. Espaces-Populations-Sociétés, 2003-1:89-101, 2003.

Muslim Population by State (2000)

Project Team

PI: Dr. John R. Weeks
Co-PI: Dr. Saad Gadalla

Graduate Student Researchers

Jennifer Paluch and Thomas Hauger.


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