Research from UAlbany shows that Muslims face disadvantages in their housing, and this could lead to further inequalities in health, access to health services, and quality of life as the Muslim population increases.
Using data from household surveys in Philadelphia’s metropolitan area from 2004, 2006, and 2008, the researchers— including Dr. Samantha Friedman from the sociology department and Dr. Recai Yucel of the University at Albany School of Public Health— analyzed information on religious affiliation, race, and socioeconomic and demographic factors. This information was analyzed alongside data on neighborhood characteristics taken from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey.
Dr. Friedman explains that “where people live is important because neighborhoods afford people connections to a society’s majority members, economic and educational opportunities, and public health outcomes. Our study, we believe, is the first U.S.-based study of Muslim residential attainment.”
The results show significant disparities in neighborhood characteristics. Black and non-black Muslims lived in neighborhoods with fewer white residents and more blacks than non-Muslims. Black Muslims were 30 percent less likely than non-Muslim Blacks to live in suburban neighborhoods.
Although this research cannot establish the cause of the disparities, growing anti-Muslim sentiment and discrimination in the U.S. likely has an impact and may limit Muslims’ residential opportunities.
“To reduce the inequalities Muslims may face, it is important to raise awareness and enforce protections afforded to them under the Fair Housing Act,” says Dr. Friedman. “This can have a profound impact on where Muslims live and consequently on their overall health and access to services.”Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 23