In the past decade, Muslims living in the U.S. has increased by nearly one million people—and if that population growth continues, Muslims could replace religiously Jewish people as America’s second-largest religious group by 2040, a new study out of the Pew Research Center shows.
Coming up with a detailed account of how many Muslim people live in the U.S. is difficult, because the Census Bureau does not ask questions about religion. However, based on Pew’s demographic research and survey results, they estimate that about 1.1 percent of the total U.S. population is Muslim.
In 2007, there were approximately 2.35 million Muslims living in the U.S. According to Pew’s projections, the Muslim population is growing much faster than the country’s Jewish population, and by 2050, the U.S. Muslim population will reach 8.1 million, or 2.1 percent of the nation’s total population—that’s twice their representation today. In fact, the U.S. Muslim population increases at about 100,000 people every year.
This increase isn’t due to religious conversions, because about as many Americans convert to Islam as those who leave Islam, the study shows.
“Indeed, while about one-in-five American Muslim adults were raised in a different faith tradition and converted to Islam, a similar share of Americans who were raised Muslim now no longer identify with the faith,” the study read.
So many of these Muslim Americans moved to the U.S. from other countries. Americans are evenly split on whether Muslims in the U.S. wish to assimilate, according to a separate Pew study, but a majority of Americans believe that “having an increasing number of people from many different races, ethnic groups and nationalities is a positive for the U.S.”
Despite this, hate crimes and assaults against Muslim Americans are increasing each year. There were more assaults against Muslim Americans in 2016 than in 2001, the year of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new hate crimes statistics from the FBI.
In 2016, there were 307 incidents of anti-Muslim hate crimes, marking a 19 percent increase from 2015. However, the largest number of all types of hate crimes against a religious group was toward Jewish Americans.
“In 2016, there were 684 anti-Jewish hate crime incidents, marking a slight increase from 664 in 2015,” a report from Pew Research Center read. “By comparison, in 2016, there were 62 hate crimes against Catholics and 15 against Protestants.”