Sunday, June 18, 2006

A sketch of American Muslims: How do Muslims compare with others in America? I haven't seen many systematic descriptions of this community. Here's some stats from the GSS:

Mean age
U.S. 45.3
Muslims 36.9

Percent male
U.S. 45.3 (females are more often home when interviewer visits)
Muslims 68.5

Percent black
U.S. 14.4
Muslim 37.0

Percent foreign-born
U.S. 9.3
Muslims 72.2

Percent not finishing high school
U.S. 14.6
Muslims 13.0

Percent with at least bachelor's
U.S. 24.9
Muslims 31.5

Percent unemployed
U.S. 5.1
Muslims 1.9

Occupational prestige
U.S. 43.6
Muslims 44.6

Conservative scale
U.S. 4.11
Muslims 3.69

"Does not value citizenship" scale
U.S. 1.40
Muslims 2.20

Average number of children
U.S. 1.96
Muslims 1.59

Church attendance scale
U.S. 3.89
Muslims 4.64

Compared to the general American population; Muslims are younger; more male; blacker; more likely to have been born in another country; and more likely to have a bachelor's degree or higher. They are less likely to be without a job; they have similar occupational success; they are more liberal (contrary to what some conservatives have said); they value citizenship less (like all immigrants); they have fewer children; and they are more religious.

So they look somewhat different from the overall population, but perhaps they are not much different from many other immigrant group, except for being more religious and have a greater number of blacks in their ranks. It might be a good idea for me to compare them with immigrants next, and to look more deeply into their politics and religious beliefs. Is there anything you want me to look for?


  1. Do these figures include native-born Black Muslims (you know, Nation of Islam)? If so, what proportion of the total do they comprise, and how do their stats compare with other American blacks?

  2. A comparison of Black Muslims (NOI) and the rest of the Muslim community would be good.

    An ethnic breakdown of the different Muslim groups would be good as well.

    It would be interesting to see if the GSS asked them any Islamic specific questions such as "Do you take the Koran literally?" or "Should blasphemy of Islam be punishable under the law?".

    Lastly, if it's feasible I would be interested to know what decade most Muslims came over to America. Muslim Albanians came rather early (pre-1965) and some Lebanese Muslims did as well. Has the rate of Muslim immigration gone up since 9/11?

  3. According to the codebook, only 13 people in the entire GSS said they were Muslim. RELIG

    Is there a different code you are using?

  4. Anonymous12:37 PM

    It is likely that this population is bimodal: native born Black Muslims and non-native immigrant Muslims. Lumping the two together may produce odd results.

  5. half sigma: It sounds like you are using a different sample than I am. I am using surveys from 1998 to 2004, but it is true that this analysis is based on only 54 Muslims.

  6. Actually, I'm looking at the same data as you, but the apparently old CODE descriptions at the UMich website which only go up to 1998.

    Wow, I didn't realize the data went past 1998, cool!

    But still, even the post 1998 sample size is unfortunately too small to do much reliable analysis of Muslims.


Are never-married, childless women happier than married moms?

A piece in the Guardian reported that women are happiest if they stay single and childless, according to research done by London School of ...