U.S. on-track for Muslim majority population by 2050? Only in a Warped Frame
In this decade, members of the “alt-right” anti-immigrant community have developed a story of siege in which they claim that the United States is on track to become a majority-Muslim nation in a relatively short number of years. They don’t particularly care that the claim is based on a hoax; they just keep finding new ways to make the claim.
Take this article in “American Thinker” by Sierra Rayne. In it, Rayne declares that “Pew’s own data shows U.S. on-track for Muslim majority population by 2050.” Pew is the Pew Research Center, and Rayne has obtained the following three estimates of the share of Muslim population in the United States from Pew surveys:
2009: Muslims 0.4% of U.S. population
2014: Muslims 0.9% of U.S. population
2015: Muslims 1.0% of U.S. population
That’s a steady growth rate of 0.1% per year. Even assuming that such a growth rate in Muslim population share in the United States could be maintained, it would take 491 more years after 2015 for the Muslim population in the United States to reach a majority, 50.1%. That’s the year 2506. You know, three centuries after Captain James T. Kirk and Star Trek and all that.
Of course, the Pew estimates are all from polls and all at 1.0% or less based on polling data with a margin of error, making any change a possible statistical artifact. And of course, even if we take these estimates to be infallibly true, there are all kinds of reasons to think that the current rate of adding a 0.1% share to the Muslim portion of the U.S. population each year won’t continue, because the current rate is being pushed by a refugee crisis after our unnecessary invasion of Iraq destabilized the nation and, eventually, the broader region. Do you really think that there will be a 491-year refugee crisis? That’s like suggesting a 600-year Irish potato famine. It simply isn’t how history works.
But history and proportion don’t stop Sierra Rayne. No, Sierra Rayne draws a different “straight line” than the one I drew above based on the linear trend of +0.1%/year:
The three data points from Pew surveys sure do fit a “straight” line, and that “straight” line sure does look like it hits a 50% Muslim population around 2050. But look at the y axis. Sierra Rayne has fiddled with the y axis. Rayne is using a logarithmic scale, one that assumes not just a constant increase in Muslim population, not just a constant acceleration in Muslim population, but a constantly exponential acceleration in Muslim population.
What on Earth could accomplish that? Will a space alien will lift up the entire Middle East off the planet with giant spatulas, move them above the United States, and shake them wildly to get all the people off? With exponentially expanding giant spatulas?
Just look at the prediction in last decade of that graph. From a smidge before 2040 to a smidge before 2050, Sierra Rayne has the gall to predict that the share of Muslims in the U.S. population will go up by 30%. 30%! In ten years! Oh, really.
Wait, no, not really. Not really really at all. Fictionally. This is all a fiction, a fiction in the mind of Sierra Rayne, a fiction accepted uncritically by the alt-right’s The American Thinker website, a fiction that doesn’t match the linear trend of Pew’s scanty three data points. But why be a critical thinker when you can be an American Thinker? After all, when you’ve got an insane fear to stoke, actually looking at a mind-bending graph eats up valuable crazy-time activities. There’s stoking to be done. At all costs, stoke away.