Muslims account for only about 1% of the U.S. population, which makes it tricky for polling organizations like Pew Research Center to survey them. Adding to the challenge, most U.S. Muslims are immigrants, some of whom may not feel comfortable discussing their religion in English on the phone with strangers.
In this short video, Pew Research Center researchers explain how they overcame these obstacles to produce the Center’s wide-ranging new survey of 1,001 American Muslims. The survey, fielded from January to May, finds that U.S. Muslims are generally happy with many aspects of their lives in the United States, even as they perceive substantial discrimination against them.
The Center used several statistical techniques to conduct the survey. For example, researchers used oversampling to find a representative sample of American Muslims despite their small share of the wider population, and they used weighting to correct the biases that can arise from oversampling.
To account for the fact that some U.S. Muslims may not speak English, researchers translated the survey into Arabic, Farsi and Urdu, three of the most common languages spoken by American Muslims. And to build trust and rapport with respondents, interviewers asked a series of “warm-up” questions before getting into the more sensitive terrain of religious identity and belief.
To learn more about Pew Research Center’s survey techniques, visit our Methods page.