In a new report drawn from a case study of Philadelphia, Muslims were found to face more housing inequality, or “residential disadvantages,” than non-Muslims.
“Muslims live in neighborhoods that have significantly lower shares of whites and greater representations of blacks,” the study, published last month in the journal Demography, concluded. Furthermore, “among blacks, Muslims are significantly less likely than non-Muslims to reside in suburbs.”
Samantha Friedman, a co-author and an associate professor of sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, said Philadelphia was chosen because its Muslim population of about 1% mirrors trends in metropolitan areas across the country. However, it is unique among American cities in that the majority of its Muslim residents are African American, whereas nationally, blacks are only 20% of the faith.
Philadelphia was also selected for the study because the metropolitan region ranks fourth in the country in the number of mosques.
The report — “Muslim-Non-Muslim Locational Attainment in Philadelphia: A New Fault Line in Residential Inequality?” — is described by its authors as likely the first U.S.-based study on the subject.
“We find that Muslims experience greater residential disadvantage than non-Muslims in Philadelphia,” the report said. “Moreover, black Muslims face a double disadvantage due to both their race and their religion.”
Friedman sees that as “a barrier to having access to better neighborhoods and better schools.”
“Predominantly white neighborhoods offer the best access to educational opportunities, economic opportunities, and they have better environmental quality,” she said.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer