In response to my snarky request that Pew clarify its ways and means of counting Muslims, Brian Grim, Senior
Researcher at the
Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, has sent along the following:

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The apparent difference between the
Pew Research Center estimates is explained by the fact that both the 2007
Muslim American Survey and the 2007 Religious Landscape Survey deal only with
adults, while the more recent report, Mapping the Global Muslim Population,
deals with the total population (i.e., both adults and children).  Based
on questions in the Muslim American survey about household size and the
religious affiliation of children in the household, we estimate that Muslims
account for a larger proportion of the population that is under 18 than they do
of the 18-and-over population; thus, our estimate of Muslims’ share of the
overall population is larger than our estimate of Muslims’ share of the adult
population.

The Pew Research Center’s 2007
Muslim Americans survey (Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream)
estimated that 0.6% of U.S. adults are Muslims.  The first chapter of the
accompanying survey report, “How Many Muslims Are There in the United States,”
provides detailed information on how the 0.6% estimate was obtained and why we
think it is superior to estimates derived from most surveys that are conducted
only in English (or English and Spanish, as was the case with the 2007
Religious Landscape Survey, which found 0.4%).  (See U.S. Religious
Landscape Survey Report II transcript at http://www.pewforum.org/events/?EventID=190.)

I’d only add that it would have been better had Pew given the actual .4 percent number in its Landscape Survey report, and explained why it believes the actual percentage of Muslims in is higher, rather than simply substituting what it believes to be the more accurate number. Results are results. But anyway, thanks, Brian.

 

 

Categories: Beliefs

Mark Silk

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life.

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