The Muslim population is on the rise in the United States. While the percentage of Americans that identify as Muslims is still small, their influence has grown steadily in the last couple of decades. According to a Pew 2015 study, 1% of people in the U.S. are Muslim, which totals around 3.3 million Muslims in the U.S. Ihsan Bagby, who led the research study “The American Mosque 2011,” estimates the U.S. Muslim population to number up to 7 million. With large birthrate numbers, increased immigration, and an increase in conversions, the Muslim population is expected to double in the United States by 2050.
Based on figures from a Pew Religious Landscape Study in 2014, 23% of Muslims in the United States live in the New York metropolitan area. That number represents a shockingly high percentage for one city and is most likely lower than Pew’s estimate. Nevertheless, the Metro New York Muslim population is large. Pew, which derives their numbers from telephone surveys (a method that leads to a large undercount with a Muslim population that is busy, generally suspicious of outsiders, and has a large amount of non-English speakers), estimates that 3% of the Metro New York population is Muslim (around 670,984 people). Tony Carnes, who has done the most significant research on religion in New York City through his online religious journal “A Journey Through NYC Religions,” estimates the Muslim population to number about 770,777 people (2015, based on their NYC mosque census, Bagby’s 2011 study, and Pew’s 2014 study).
Using the latest census information, the studies mentioned above, and our own research involved in our ethNYcity study which included community estimates from top Muslim community leaders, I estimate the Muslim population in Metro New York to be even larger—numbering around one million people (which would make the Metro New York Muslim population larger than the populations of Austin, San Francisco, Detroit, Baltimore, Seattle, Boston, Washington D.C., etc.). Over the next few blogs, I will break down estimates of specific Muslim groups within that one million estimate, including maps of where they are located in Metro New York.
Director of Mission Advance, Co-Founder, Global Gates