In my post last week, I demonstrated using surveys mostly from Gallup and Pew Research Center that Muslim Americans are rapidly abandoning beliefs widely held in their native countries and adopting the more liberal social and political beliefs of other Americans. But what’s even more remarkable about this fact is that this transition has occurred at the same time that Muslim immigration has ramped up. In other words, immigration is not detracting from those changes and may even be contributing to them.
While the number of Muslim immigrants and their children increased by nearly 60 percent from 2007 to 2015—from 1.7 million to 2.7 million—the native Muslim population actually fell by 10 percent—from about 658,000 to 594,000. This provides evidence that the immigrants themselves are taking part in the recent changes.
Figure 1: Muslim Population in the United States by Generation in the United States*
Sources: Pew (2007), Pew (2011), Pew (2015). Note Pew (2015) failed to provide the ratio of immigrant to native, so the figure uses Pew (2014). Pew has no surveys before 2007, but the best survey estimate for year 2000 placed the total Muslim population at 1.9 million (Smith (2002)).
*Note that this figure and its corresponding numbers were updated. The earlier figure used the 2007 ratio of immigrants to natives from Pew’s religious landscape survey, which had a Muslim sample size in 2007 of only 111. The figure was updated with Pew’s Muslim specific survey from 2007 which had a sample size of 1,050 and had a lower proportion of native Muslims.