How Many Muslims in the United States

Dec 3


Yusha Sayyid

Yusha Sayyid

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Muslims have been a part of American society for centuries, and their presence has grown significantly over the years. Today, the Muslim American population is a diverse and vibrant community, contributing to various aspects of the nation’s cultural, social, and political landscape. But “how many Muslims in the United States” are there, and what are the intricacies of their experiences in the country?

In this blog post,How Many Muslims in the United States Articles we will delve into the rich tapestry of Muslim life in America, exploring their historical presence, diversity, socioeconomic factors, religious institutions, political participation, and the challenges they face in a rapidly changing world.

Key Takeaways

  • The United States Muslim population is approximately 3.45 million, representing 1.1% of the total population and is rapidly diversifying
  • Muslims face discrimination, stereotyping, Islamophobia and concerns about extremism which threatens their well-being and integration into society
  • Mosques play a critical role in providing spiritual guidance, community support & promotion of democratic values to American Muslims

Muslim Population in the United States: A Snapshot

A diverse group of people from different ethnic backgrounds in a community setting

There are an estimated 3.45 million Muslims living in the United States, making up about 1.1% of the total population. As the American Muslim population continues to grow by roughly 100,000 people per year, the Muslim community has become more diverse, with members hailing from various racial, ethnic, and denominational backgrounds.

Pew Research Center Estimates

The Pew Research Center provides a comprehensive understanding of the Muslim population in the US, estimating that there are currently 3.45 million Muslims residing in the country. This number is expected to increase in the future, with projections suggesting that by 2050, the Muslim population will reach 8.1 million, or 2.1% of the total US population.

Percentage of Total US Population

Muslims constitute approximately 1.1% of the total US population. Although this percentage may seem small, especially when compared to muslim majority countries, we should acknowledge the increasing presence and influence of Muslim Americans within the nation.

Notably, New Jersey has the highest concentration of Muslims in the United States, making up 3% of the state’s total population.

Historical Context: The Arrival of Muslims in America

A historical illustration of a ship carrying enslaved people from Africa to America

The presence of Muslims in America can be traced back over 400 years, with the first documented arrival occurring in the 17th century through the arrival of slaves from Africa. Since then, significant waves of Muslim immigration have shaped the American Muslim population, such as the mid-19th century influx of immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, as well as the re-emergence of African-American Islam in the 20th century.

Early Presence of Muslims

The early presence of Muslims in America began with the arrival of African Muslim slaves, who constituted an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the African slaves brought to the country. Although many of these enslaved Muslims were forcibly converted to Christianity, some managed to maintain their Islamic faith and pass it down through generations.

Immigration Waves

The mid-19th century saw an increase in Muslim immigration to the United States, with many immigrant muslims arriving from South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. This period marked the beginning of a more diverse Muslim American population, as people from different regions and cultures came together to form new communities.

Another significant development in American Muslim history was the re-emergence of African-American Islam in the 20th century, which led to the growth of the African American Muslims community. Organizations like the Nation of Islam and the Moorish Science Temple of America played a significant part in this resurgence, drawing African Americans to the faith and encouraging a sense of community and identity among them.

Diversity Among American Muslims

A diverse group of students studying together in a classroom

Given the rich history of immigration and cultural exchange, the American Muslim population’s enormous diversity is expected. This diversity is evident in the various racial, ethnic, and denominational backgrounds of Muslim Americans, showcasing the complexity and depth of this multifaceted group.

Racial and Ethnic Backgrounds

Muslim Americans are racially and ethnically diverse, with no single majority; plurality being white; Asian 28%, black 20%, Hispanic 8%. This diversity is a testament to the multifaceted nature of the American Muslim community, including those of South Asian descent, and highlights the importance of understanding and appreciating the unique experiences and perspectives of each individual.

Islamic Denominations

American Muslims also represent a variety of Islamic denominations, with 55% identifying as Sunni Muslims, 16% as Shia, and some as non-denominational or other minority sects. This range in religious belief and practice introduces another layer of complexity to the American Muslim experience and highlights the need to recognize and value each community member’s individual faith journeys.

Socioeconomic Factors: Education, Income, and Homeownership

Socioeconomic factors play a significant role in shaping the lives of American Muslims. Some key findings include:

  • Education levels of Muslim Americans are similar to those of the general population.
  • Muslim Americans report lower incomes compared to the general population.
  • Muslim Americans are less likely to own a home compared to the general population.

These factors, coupled with other challenges faced by the community, affect the overall well-being and integration of Muslim Americans, including the first Muslim women, within the wider society.

Education Levels

Muslim Americans have similar education levels to the general US population. This equality in educational attainment is key to the integration and success of Muslim Americans in various societal sectors, including the workforce, where higher education levels often correspond with better job opportunities and income prospects.

Income Distribution

Although Muslim Americans have similar education levels as the general population, they report lower incomes. According to Pew Research, 40% of Muslim Americans report family incomes between $30,000 and $100,000, compared to 48% of the general US population. However, it is important to note that there are variations within the Muslim American community, with 18% reporting a household income above $100,000.

Homeownership Rates

In line with lower incomes, Muslim Americans are less likely to own a home compared to the general population. Several factors contribute to the decreased homeownership rates among Muslim Americans, such as financial constraints, discrimination, and limited access to financing options.

Addressing these challenges is vital for fostering economic stability and social integration within the Muslim American community.

The Role of Mosques and Religious Institutions

A mosque with people engaged in communal activities

Mosques and religious institutions hold a central position in the devotional life of American Muslims. These institutions serve as a focal point for religious practice and community life, fostering a sense of belonging and identity among their members, contributing to the Islamic society.

Moreover, involvement with the mosque correlates with increased civic engagement and support for democratic values among American Muslims.

Mosque Attendance and Civic Engagement

Mosque attendance is associated with increased civic engagement and voter registration among American Muslims. By providing a platform for political engagement and community organizing, mosques enable individuals to interact with like-minded individuals, discuss political issues, and collaborate for collective action. Furthermore, mosques often act as information centers, supplying resources and education on civic involvement, such as voter registration drives.

Another vital aspect of mosque attendance is the positive impact it has on the integration of Muslim Americans within the broader society. Research has shown that mosques and religiosity are associated with:

  • Elevated levels of civic engagement
  • Endorsement of the American political system
  • Obtaining, providing, and expected emotional support from the community

Islamic Schools and Education

There are over 270 full-time Islamic schools in the US, providing education to Muslim children. These schools not only offer academic subjects like math, science, English, and history but also teach specific subjects such as Arabic, Qur’an, and Islamic studies.

Islamic education plays a significant role in shaping the Muslim American identity. It instructs children on reconciling their Muslim and American identities without sacrificing either.

Political Participation and Views of American Muslims

American Muslims actively participate in the political process, engaging in civic activities and voting in local, state, and federal elections. Over the years, there have been shifts in party affiliations and evolving attitudes towards social issues among American Muslims, reflecting the dynamic nature of this diverse community.

Party Affiliation

Historically, American Muslims have supported the Democratic Party, but support has fluctuated over time. Muslim Americans overwhelmingly supported Republican candidate George W. in the 2000 presidential election, with 78% opting for him. This suggests that Muslim Americans hold strong conservative views. Bush, while in the 2020 election, the majority voted for Democratic candidate Joe Biden. These shifts in party affiliation indicate the changing political landscape and highlight the importance of understanding the diverse perspectives within the American Muslim community.

Attitudes Towards LGBT Issues

In recent years, US Muslims have become more accepting of homosexuality, with 52% saying it should be accepted, similar to US Protestants. This change in attitudes reflects the broader trend of increasing acceptance of LGBT individuals and issues within the United States.

As American Muslims continue to engage with the political process and social issues, recognizing the diverse viewpoints and experiences shaping their perspectives becomes necessary. The American Muslim Council plays a crucial role in facilitating this understanding.

Challenges Faced by American Muslims

A diverse group of people standing together in solidarity

Despite the many contributions and achievements of American Muslims, they continue to face challenges in the form of:

  • discrimination
  • stereotyping
  • Islamophobia
  • concerns about extremism within their communities

These challenges can significantly impact the well-being and integration of Muslim Americans, highlighting the need to address these issues and foster understanding and dialogue across society.

Discrimination and Stereotyping

Since the 9/11 attacks, Muslim Americans have experienced an increase in hate crimes and discrimination. This heightened scrutiny and hostility have led to negative stereotypes and prejudice against Muslim Americans, creating barriers to social integration and fostering a climate of fear and mistrust.

Addressing these issues necessitates increased awareness and understanding of the Muslim American experience, along with a commitment to promoting tolerance and inclusivity.


Islamophobia, defined as an irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims, has increased in the US. Public institutions accommodating Islam have faced criticism for allegedly violating the separation of church and state.

To combat Islamophobia, individuals, communities, and institutions must collectively strive to challenge misconceptions, promote understanding, and foster an environment of acceptance and respect for all.

Concerns About Extremism

American Muslims are concerned about extremist violence in the US, but the majority are well-integrated and report criminal activity, helping to uncover or deter domestic terrorism plots. By actively engaging with law enforcement and community organizations, Muslim Americans play a substantial role in safeguarding their communities and promoting peace and security for all.


In conclusion, the Muslim American population is a diverse, dynamic, and integral part of American society. From their historical roots to their contemporary experiences, Muslim Americans continue to shape and enrich the cultural fabric of the nation. By understanding and appreciating the unique experiences of this multifaceted group, we can work together to build a more inclusive, tolerant, and compassionate society for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which country in America has the most Muslims?

With over 3.45 million Muslims, the United States of America has the highest population of Muslims in America.

Is Islam the fastest growing religion in the United States?

Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States, projected to more than double from 0.6% of the population in 2015 to 1.5% by 2050. Additionally, Muslims are expected to surpass Jews as the second-largest religious group by that same year.

How many Muslims are in the United States in 2030?

By 2030, the Muslim population in the United States is projected to reach 6.2 million, according to a report by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.

How many Muslims are in Texas?

In 2010, there were 422,000 Muslims in Texas, making it the state with the largest Muslim population in the country. This number is estimated to have grown since then.

How many Muslims are currently living in the United States?

Approximately 3.45 million Muslims are currently living in the United States.