The Muslim Population In The United States
" A Brief Statement " By Fareed H. Numan, American Muslim Council (AMC), December 1992.
[Ed. note: Readers should keep in mind that it is in the interests of organizations supporting Muslim political power in the U.S. to assert that higher numbers of Muslims are American citizens. Conversely, it is in the interests of organizations that oppose Muslim political power in the US to argue for lower numbers. Daniel Pipes, in his article "How Many U.S. Muslims?, published in the New York Post, October 29, 2001, argues for lower numbers, making the surprising claim that Fareed Numan was "pressured...to find 6 million Muslims in the country; Nu'man later testified that he counted just 3 million and was fired by the AMC when he refused to inflate his number above 5 million." For a more recent article than Nu'man's, see Muslims in America: Profile 2001 by Abdul Malik Mujahid of Sound Vision. ]

Slave  From the beginning of the cotton veil I held an oath as they made sail in the belly of the wooden whale That I would not fail to reach my home again All tied to the same chains with our new names, we remained- till our counted days. Listen to our call and hear the screams and pleas that one day we could be set free. God's promise to me. Out of it all we would come with great substance. Knowledge of, THE ONE. 

OVERVIEW Muslim social scientists and researchers have spent a great deal of time trying to determine the number of Muslims in the United States. Most accept the estimate of from 5 million to 8 million. That is to say at least 5 million people in North America claim Islam as their religion and/or practice. What is represented in this report is based on estimates made in 1991, the World Almanac reports that Muslim in the United States number approximately 5,220,00. The total worldwide Muslim population is generally estimated at slightly more that 1 billion. David Barrett's publication, "International Bulletin of Missionary Research" cites a lower figure, 988,004,000.

 An exact figure of Muslim population in the United States is very difficult to make. The figures presented here are based on available data. 

In the United States, there are essentially three categories of Muslims: 1) immigrants; 2) American converts/reverts to Islam; and 3) those born to the first two groups as Muslims. 

The immigrant population of the United States is relatively easy to document because the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Census Bureau, and other government agencies have been keeping records of immigrants. In order to arrive at our figures, we researched the history of Muslim ethnic groups around the world and then determined their percentage as Muslim. We then correlated this percentage with the number of Muslims in the United States, which enabled us to determine the percentage represented in the overall population. 

Determining the number of indigenous Muslims was more difficult. In most cases, records have not been kept by any single source. To arrive at the number of American converts to Islam, we had to look at various groups' conversion rates and compare them against their mortality and fertility rates. 

This is an on-going project, and AMC will keep the reader informed of new statistics through our quarterly publication, the AMC Report. The figures cited here represent a starting point for serious research on demographic data about the Muslim population of the United States. 

U.S. Muslim Population Table 

Ethnic Grouping Population 1000 (1990) Percent of Total Muslim Population Definition of Terms
African-
American
2,100 42.0

bullet African-Americans: Those persons of African descent native to the United States of America. 
South Asians 1,220 24.4

bullet South-Asians: Those of Indian/Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, or Afghan descent now residing in the United States as citizens or permanent residents. 
Arabs 620 12.4

bullet Arabs: People from Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East and North Africa who are permanent residents or citizens of the United States. 
Africans 260 5.2

bullet Africans: People from the African continent who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States 
Iranians 180 3.6

bullet Iranians: People of Persian descent, usually from Iran, who are citizens or permanent residents. 
Turks 120 2.4

bullet Turkish: People of Turkish descent who are citizens ro permanent residents. 
South East Asians 100 2.0

bullet South East Asians: People of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Indochina, or the Phillippines. 
American Whites 80 1.6

bullet American Whites: Those of West European descent, who are native to the United States. 
East Europeans 40 0.8

bullet East Europeans: People from various regions of Eastern Europe. 
Other 280 5.6

bullet Other: All other groups. 
Totals 5,000 100

Geographical Distribution:  The table below represents a breakdown by states of the largest Muslim communities in the United States. It shows that there are an estimated 3.3. million Muslims in these states. The figure represents 62 percent of the estimated 5 million Muslims living in the United States. 

Muslim State Population Table  

State Muslim Population 
(1,000)
Percentage Total Muslim Population Percent of Total State Population
California 1,000 20.0 3.4
New York 800 16.0 4.7
Illinois 420 8.4 3.6
New Jersey 200 4.0 2.5
Indiana 180 3.6 3.2
Michigan 170 3.4 1.8
Virginia 150 3.0 2.4
Texas 140 2.8 0.7
Ohio 130 2.6 1.2
Maryland 70 1.4 1.4

* Estimates under column 2 have been rounded to the nearest even number. 

The list below shows the number of facilities used by Muslims for religious activities and community affairs: 
Mosques/Islamic Centers 843
Islamic Schools 165
Associations 426
Publications 89
There are 165 Islamic Schools in the United States, of which 92 are full time. Figures here for Masjids/Islamic Centers are based on our directory listings. 

Note: The exact number of businesses owned and operated by Muslims is unavailable, but they are estimated in the thousands. These preliminary finding represent data collected during 1986-1992.


 

  Information Resources 

bullet African Presence in Early America by Ivan Van Sertima, 1987 
bullet Deeper Roots by Abdullah Hakim Quick, 1990 
bullet Arab America Today (A Demographic Profile of Arab Americans) By John Zogby, 1990 
bullet A Survey of North American Muslims by El Tigani A. Abugideiri, June 1977 
bullet A Century of Islam in America by Yvonne Y. Haddad, 1986 
bullet Ethnic Distribution of American Muslims and selected Socio Economic Characteristics by Arif Ghayrur, 1984 
bullet The Demography of Islamic Nations by John Weeks, 1988 
bullet Islam in the United States: Review of Sources by Dr. Sulayman S. Nyang, 1988 
bullet Demographic Consequences of Minority Consciousness: An analysis By Salaha M. Abedin, 1980 
bullet World Population Data Sheet Population Reference Bureau, Inc. Washington DC, 1990 
bullet Statistical Abstract of the United States U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census, 1990 
bullet Muslim Peoples , A World Ethnographic Survey Edited by Richard V. Weeks, 1984, vol. II 
bullet Muslim Peoples, a World Ethnographic Survey by Richard V. Weeks, 1978 
bullet The 1991 Almanac 44th Edition , by Houghnton Mifflin Company, 1991 
bullet The Islamic Society of North America Directory of Islamic Centers, Schools, Masjids, and MSA Chapters 1989 Revised Edition 
bullet The Islamic Struggle in America by Hijrah Magazine, Oct./Nov. 1985 
bullet Seven Muslim Slaves by Abdul Hakim Muhammad 1983 
bullet Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alford, 1977 
bullet Nature Knows no Color Line by J.A. Rogers, 1952 
bullet African Muslims in Antebellum American by Allen Austin, 1984 
bullet The Arab World Published by the Arab-American Press, 1945 
bullet The United States and the Sultanate of Oman Produce by the Sultan Qaboos Center, The Middle East Institute Washington DC, 1990 
bullet The University of Alabama, A Pictorial History by Suzanne Rau Wolfe History of the First Muslim Mosque of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Jameelah A. Hakim, 1989 

Reference: American Muslim Council (AMC)