New Studies on Number of Muslims in the U.S.

November 24, 2001

Source: The Washington Post

On November 24, 2001, The Washington Post reported, "Number of U.S. Muslims Depends on Who's Counting." It noted, "With a spotlight cast on American Muslims since Sept. 11, one seemingly simple question has defied a clear answer and become the focus of a politically charged dispute: What is the size of the U.S. Muslim population?" Studies include estimates of 6 to 7 million in contrast with more recent studies with figures of "no more than 3.4 million and perhaps as few as 1.5 million." The article notes, "The conflicting studies are not simply a case of sponsors with different political agendas, however. The gap in the numbers also illustrates the problems that demographers have long faced when trying to count religious populations. Definitive numbers don't exist in part because the U.S. Census, the most extensive survey of American society, is prohibited from asking about religious affiliation. Religious groups, when contributing population figures for reference books, most often rely on self-reported membership figures from houses of worship." The article lists the contrasting figures of recent studies.