Muslim World Facts

muslim world map

To many, the average Muslim is an Arab who lives in the Middle East and speaks Arabic. However, only twenty percent of Muslims speak Arabic. The majority do not live in the Middle East nor are ethnically Arab. The Muslim world today is incredibly diverse: Muslim populations fall into several major cultural groups and over 2300 language or ethnic subgroups located across the world.

Muslim Cultural Groups

Ninety-nine percent of the world's two billion Muslims live in Asia and Africa and are broadly described by these seven cultural groups, sometimes referred to as affinty blocs. Listed with each of the following seven cultural groups are some of their major grouping of peoples or clusters. Many of the major peoples are further divided into small groups by dialect or tribal idenity.

palestinian man

Arabic-Speaking Muslims are spread out across North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Southwest Asia, comprising 20% of Muslims globally (362 million).

 ogan woman

Malay Muslims are concentrated in Southeast Asia, especially in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar, comprising 14% of the world's Muslims (243 million).

tajik man

Persian-Median Muslims live in Iran and parts of Central, South, and Southwest Asia, comprising 10% of Muslims worldwide (181 million).

kashmiri girl

South Asian Muslims are the most numerous of the Muslim cultural groups, comprising 29% of Muslims (525 million), and are located in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.

    somali girl

    Sub-Saharan African Muslims are spread out in a band across Africa, just south of the Sahara desert, making up 14% of Muslims globally (256 million).

      kyrgyz woman

      Turkic Muslims are located in Turkey and across Central Asia and western China, comprising 10% of the world's Muslims (185 million).

        hui man

        Chinese and Eurasian Muslims are small in number but have characteristics that distinguish them from other Muslim cultural groups as distinctly Chinese or European and are 2% of Muslims (32 million).

        Chinese Muslims

        Eurasian Muslims

        african-american man

        Muslim Americans are estimated to number 2.35 million in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center. Fifty-eight percent of the Muslim American population consists of Muslim immigrants to the United States, with over a third of these coming from the Arab-speaking cultural group. The other 42 percent are native-born, the majority of which are African-American. A third of these were born Muslim, while the other two-thirds are converts to Islam.

        Source: The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.