Social Security Data Points to Growth in 2nd-Generation Muslim Population

David North, Center for Immigration Studies, January 5, 2016


About a tenth of the total flow of new immigrants and about three tenths in the diversity lottery are from predominantly Muslim countries. But how about the next generation, the ones born here? Our government, unlike many in Europe, religiously avoids counting people by religion, so we must look for indirect measures.

One such indirect measure doesn’t shed light on the size of the second-generation Muslim population but is suggestive of its growth, which has been huge over the last 50 years, based, admittedly, on a small base. And the data source is a highly reliable government system.

I am referring to the Social Security Administration’s count of the names of newborn babies in the United States. A boy named Mohammed (or with one of a dozen other spellings) born here is likely to grow up in a Muslim environment and, at the same time, be a U.S. citizen. So we can get a rough proxy of the growth of the population of second-generation Muslim immigrants by noting how many of them carry these names. (Third-generation babies are also included.)

The figure below shows the huge growth in this population over the last 50 years, but bear in mind that only 29 baby boys bore these names in 1964. By the year 2014 the number had soared to 2,931, a more than 100-to-one ratio.

Babies Born in the U.S. Named Mohammed (various spellings)

Babies Born in the U.S. Named Mohammed (various spellings)

Note the drop after 2001, presumably a reaction to the events of 9/11, and then the sharp increase from 2004 to 2014, of more than 1,000.


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