By Geoffrey Paul
March 8, 2009
Gallup has completed the first ever nationally representative in-depth analysis of how American Muslims see themselves and their status in the US. What Gallup has not been able to do is establish just how many Muslims there are in the States. Estimates vary widely from 1.2 million to as many as 8 million. What Gallup did discover is that 35 per cent of the Muslim population is Afro-American, 28 per cent describe themselves as “white” and 18 per cent say they are of Asian origin. The Gallup researchers placed Muslim responses to their queries alongside those of other major religious denominations. The result is that we have some interesting comparisons with the Jewish community (estimated 5.3 million). For one thing, the percentage of young Muslims aged between 18 and 29 is 36 per cent of the sample surveyed. This is much larger than Jews in the same age bracket – 16 per cent. Of the Muslims in that age range, 41 per cent said they went to the mosque at least once a week. Young Jews who went to synagogue were less than one half of that, 19 per cent.. In a question which covered all age ranges, 80 per cent of Muslims and 39 per cent of Jews said that religion was important in their daily life (which placed Jews well below the national average of 65 per cent). Jews in total were also well below both the Muslim and national average of those attending a place of prayer at least once a week. Overall, 40 per cent of Muslims said they had a college degree or higher. For Jews, that figure was 61 per cent, while Muslims earning over $5000 a month totalled 28 per cent. For Jews, the figure was 41 per cent. Asked if they felt they were thriving or struggling, 41 per cent of Muslims said they were thriving, 56 per cent said struggling (Jews 56 per cent and 41 per cent respectively). The same percentage in both groups – 3 – said they were “suffering.” Both were more charitable (70 per cent and 78 per cent} than the national average of 64 per cent but when it came to political outlook only 29 per cent of Muslims described themselves as liberal or very liberal. The figure for Jews was 45 per cent.
[You can read the whole, very lengthy survey here: http://www.muslimwestfacts.com/mwf/116074/Muslim-Americans-National-Portrait.aspx]