Muslims in America: Profile 2001 |

Muslims in America: Profile 2001

Some well known American Muslims


Estimates of Muslim population in the US range from less than three million to nine million. The World Almanac 2001 states that there are about 5.8 million Muslims in the USA 1. One Muslim sociologist, however, after an exhaustive review of all the research regarding the number of Muslims in the US estimates that there are 6.7 million Muslims in the USA 2. William B. Milam the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan states that there are seven million Muslims in America 3. The lowest numbers given are by the Kosmin study. According to its population survey essentially aimed at finding out the Jewish population of America, Muslims are only one percent of the population. Therefore, less than three million people in America today are Muslims 4.

About 79% of all Muslims fall between the ages of 16 and 65. Muslims' average household size is 4.9 persons 5. A very significant part of the Muslim community in North America is in prison since 30% of all incarcerated African-Americans are Muslims who have accepted Islam in prison in the tradition of Malik Shabaz (Malcom X) and Imam Jamil Al-Amin (the former H. Rap Brown) 6. A little more than one percent of all US armed forces are also reportedly Muslims.

Most Muslims live the major cosmopolitan areas of America. Twenty percent of all Muslims live in California, 16% in New York state, eight percent in Illinois, four percent in New Jersey and Indiana each, and about three percent in Michigan, Virginia, and Texas, and Ohio each 7.

About two-thirds of all Muslims in the United States are immigrants and their descendants according to Yvonne Haddad and Adair T. Lummis 8. However, the American Muslim Council reports that 42% of all Muslims are African-Americans, 24% are of South Asian origin and 12% of Arab origin 9. The Jewish community, in comparison, has fewer than one-third immigrants or children of immigrants, a percentage similar to that of Italian-Americans 10.

Muslims in Professions:

Professionally, Muslims in America are a versatile people. However, engineering and computers employ more than 10% of Muslims in America. Medicine-related fields engage eight percent of Muslims as compared to about four percent in the financial field. There are very few Muslims in businesses of their own 11.

Muslims' Income:

There are no recent studies available about Muslim income level nationally. However, if an Illinois study is taken as representative of Muslims in America, Muslims have an average household income of $53,500. The average Arab Muslim family income is the highest at $69,000, while African-American Muslim families earn the least at $32,000 per year 12. In comparison, more than 41 percent of Jews report a household income of $75,000 or more, far above any other group surveyed 13.

Islamic Centers and Organizations:

There are about 3,000 small and large Islamic centers, mosques, and prayer locations in the US. This is kind of small considering one million Jehovah's Witnesses have 11,000 places of worship and five million Mormons who have 12,000 houses of worship.

Islamic Education:

There are about 200 Muslim schools, about 500 Sunday Islamic schools, and six schools of Islamic higher learning in America. Not more than three percent of Muslim children, however, acquire any formal Islamic schooling outside of their home, as compared to about 80% of American Jewish children who have attended Sunday school or other forms of Jewish educational programs 14.

Practice of Islam:

Shahadah: There is a significant growth of Islam through new persons accepting Islam in America. In the state of Illinois, a growth of about 25% in the Muslim population was found to be due to conversion. However, about 41% of these new Muslims in Illinois and 61% in the State of New York leave Islam within a few years 15.

Salat: According to surveys three to four percent of Muslims attend weekly Friday prayers in America 16. This number is low compared to about 40 percent of Christians in America who attend their church at least once a week 17 and 15% of Jews who visit their synagogue once a week or more 18. It may be because Muslims don't get a day off on Fridays or their practice of Islam is nominal. We do not know for sure.

Zakat: There are no statistics available on this topic. However, it is estimated Muslims in America donate about 100 million dollars every year to their relief organizations, Masjids, and schools. Not all of these donations are Zakat money and not all donations go through Muslim channels.

Fasting: About 47% of all Muslims fast in the month of Ramadan 19 which is similar to 46% of Jews in America who fast on Yom Kippur 20.

Muslims' Vote: Muslims voted in bloc for President Bush in the US presidential election 2000. There is no exit poll information available about the Muslim votes. Nevertheless, based on three unscientific surveys of Muslim voters, Muslims voted 70% to 90% in favor of Bush with a significant 34% voting for the first time. Muslims, therefore, became the only bloc vote for Bush. In Florida, the last battleground, there would not have been any battle without an estimated 60,000 votes which Florida Muslims asserted that they delivered in favor of Bush. There are more than 200 Muslim organizations and communities in Florida.

If we take an arbitrary criterion of 70% or more votes as a sign of a bloc vote by a community, then three of the four distinct minorities who voted in bloc did so for Gore in election 2000. African-Americans with 90%, Jews with 80%, and gays and lesbians with 70% voted for Al Gore according to the CNN exit poll statistics 21.

Note: Survey and research which is comparable about Muslims in America is hard to find. We will keep this profile updated through a version number and date at the bottom:


1. The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2001, World Almanac Books, Mahwah, NJ, 2001, P. 689.

2. Muslim of Illinois, A Demographic Report, Ilyas Ba-Yunus, East-West University, Chicago, 1997, p.9

3. "The Muslim community in the U.S. numbers some 7 million". William B. Milam (1999)
U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan. The ambassador increased the number by a million as compared to his speech a year ago in which he said there are six million Muslims in America. Certainly it suited him to say that in Pakistan. Public opinion survey organizations normally get about two percent Muslims in their samples. Although this is lower than their usual margin of error, since this number consistently shows up, it could be consider a good measurement. If this percentage is applied to the census 2000 total population figures, Muslims come out to be litlle over 5 million in America.

4. Kosmin, Barry & Seymour Lachman. One Nation Under God: Religion in Contemporary American Society; Harmony Books: New York (1993), pg. 88-93. The study show zero number of Muslims in 21 states including Washington State where several Muslim community center operate.

5. Ba-Yunus, p.22

6. Robert Dannin, Island in a Sea of Ignorance, 1991.

7. Fareed H. Numan, The Muslim Population in the United States, American Muslim Council, Washington DC, 1990

8. Yvonne Haddad and Adair T. Lummis, Islamic Values in the United States (New York: Oxford Press, 1987), 3ff.

9. Fareed H. Numan, The Muslim Population in the United States: Brief Statement, American Muslim Council, Washington DC, 1990

10. Zogby International Polls 2000 as published in the Jerusalem Post, Monday, June 26 2000.

11. These figures are essentially from Illinois, Ba-Yunus, p. 25.

12. Ba-Yunus p. 26

13. Zogby Poll as referred earlier

14. The Los Angeles Time Poll of the US Jews 1998.

15. Ba-Yunus p. 29. The statistics regarding New York are given to this author in a phone interview by Ba-Yunus. It will be published in a forthcoming book by him.

16. Abdul Malik Mujahid, Unpublished Monograph about Muslim Attending Friday Prayers in Chicago, 1987. These figures also corelate with Ba-Yunus data that 9.8% male adults attend Friday prayers while only 5.3% of male adults pray five times a day. Ba-Yunus, p. 27. A forthcoming publication by the same author studying Muslims in New York state puts the number of Friday attendance in New York at 14% adult males.

17. General Social Survey March 1999 release.

18. The Los Angeles Time Poll as referred to earlier.

19. Ba-Yunus p. 27.

20. The Los Angeles Time Poll as referred earlier

21. Abdul Malik Mujahid, Monthly Impact International London, UK, December 2000.


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i realy appreciate your up great reserch and islam must go up insha Allah



It is most difficult to get this type of demographic information on Muslims that is not biased. Thank you for the footnoted data. I would suggest including data on Canada. Allah Barafekum for your work.



That's good for anyone live on USA


Los Angeles, California

Brother keep up the good work... It was great to to know all that... May Allah Bless you for this...



A very informative article about Muslims in America. Excellent job; keep up the great work!


buffalo, new York

i really appreciate your research work and marvellous efforts on explaining everything clearly.Keep up the good work.


New Jersey

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