Gallup Releases First-of-Its-Kind Portrait of American Muslims

The new poll shows that American Muslims are the nation's most diverse religious group.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Gallup has released a first-of-its-kind national portrait of American Muslims, the nation's most racially diverse religious group. Because of that diversity—35 percent of American Muslims are African-American, 28 percent are white, 18 percent are Asian, and 18 percent identify themselves as "other" racially—I'm not sure how meaningful Gallup's broad-brush look at American Muslims really is.

The largest group of American Muslims is made up of black converts to Islam; many are Nation of Islam members who have little in common with traditional Muslims. At the same time, most American Muslims are foreign born. So it makes a lot more sense to look at individual American Muslim communities, or at least to separate Nation of Islam members from immigrant Muslims. With those caveats, here are the Gallup Poll's key findings:

  • Muslim American women are one of the most highly educated female religious groups in the United States, second only to Jewish American women. In addition, as a group, Muslim Americans have the highest degree of economic gender parity at the high and low ends of the income spectrum.
  • Only 51 percent of young Muslim Americans are registered to vote, which is one of the lowest percentages among young Americans surveyed.
  • The 41 percent of Muslim Americans considered to be "thriving" is the lowest percentage among religious groups studied.
  • When asked whether religion is an important part of their daily lives, 80 percent of Muslim Americans answer in the affirmative. Of the religious groups studied, only Mormons (85 percent) are more likely than Muslims to say religion plays an important role in their lives.
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