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UK Muslim community statistics

Demographics

  • In 2001, there were 1.6 million Muslims living in the UK, compared to a total population of 58.7 people.
  • Three quarters of Muslims (74%) were from an Asian ethnic background, predominantly Pakistani (43%)
  • 46% of Muslims had been born in the UK.
  • 34% of Muslims were under 16 years of age.
  • A third of Muslim households (34%) contained more than 5 people, 25% of households contained three or more dependent children.
  • 38% of Muslims lived in London.

(Source: National Statistics 2001 Census)

Education

  • In 2001, there were 371,000 school-aged (5 to 16 year old) Muslim children in England (Source: National Statistics)
  • In 2004, 67 % of Indian, 48% of Bangladeshi and 45% of Pakistani pupils gained five or more grades A* to C at GCSE (or equivalent), compared with 52% of White British pupils. (Source: Social Trends No. 36, 2006)
  • 31% of young British Muslims leave school with no qualifications compared to 15% of the total population. (Source: National Statistics)

Poverty

  • 35 % of Muslim households have no adults in employment, (more than double the national average). (Source: ‘Muslim Housing Experience’, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies)
  • Just under three-quarters of Bangladeshi and Pakistani children (73%) are living in households below the poverty line (60% of median income). This compares with under a third (31%) for children in all households. (Source: Department for Work and Pensions. Households Below Average Income 1994/5 – 2000/01)
  • In 2001, 13% of Muslim men and 16% of Muslim women reported ‘not good’ health. These rates, which take account of the difference in age structures between the religious groups, were higher than those of Jewish and Christian people, who were the least likely to rate their health as 'not good'. (Source: National Statistics 2001 Census)

Housing

  • In 2001 52% of Muslim households did not own their own home.
  • 28% of Muslim households were living in social rented accommodation that is accommodation rented from the council or housing association.
  • Muslim households were the most likely to experience overcrowding. One third of Muslim households (32%) lived in overcrowded accommodation. This compares with just 6% of Christian households who experience overcrowding.
  • Muslim households were the most likely to lack central heating (12%).

(Source: National Statistics 2001 Census report on faith)

Employment

  • In 2004, 28% of 16-24-year-old Muslims were unemployed. This compares with only 11% of Christians of the same age. (Source: National Statistics 2001 Census report on faith)
  • In 2004, a fifth of Muslims were self-employed. (Source: National Statistics)
  • In 2004 almost seven in ten (69%) Muslim women of working age were economically inactive. (Source: Social Trends No. 36, 2006)

Crime

  • 47% of Muslim students have experienced Islamophobia. (Source: FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Societies) survey, 2005)
  • Almost 10% of the prison population are Muslim, two-thirds of whom are young men aged 18-30. (Source: Prison Service statistics, 2004)
  • Between 2001 and 2003 there was a 302% increase in ‘stop and search’ incidents among Asian people, compared with 118% among white people. (Source: Home Office, Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System, 2004).

Issues and concerns

A sense of identity for many young Muslims, is formed from a mixture of experiences within the community, educational institutions, religion and family. Yet many young Muslims feel they have an inadequate grasp of their own heritage and history, against which to balance the other influences in their lives. (Source: Young Muslims Speak, Peace Direct, 2006)

Young Muslims are concerned about the way they are understood by the public (non-Muslim and Muslim) and portrayed in the media. (Source: Young Muslims Speak, Peace Direct, 2006)

31% of British Muslims agreed that Imans are out of touch with the views of young Muslims. (Source: MORI poll, 2005)

Discussion between young people on the Muslim Youth Helpline, a confidential helpline for young Muslims, has included topics such as ineffective services for young Muslims; discontent over foreign policy; and the difficulties of integrating when people have the dual identity of being British and a Muslim. (Source: http://www.myh.org.uk/)

A survey of 136 Muslim young people (of which 51 responded to an online survey and 85 took part in a focus group), undertaken to research their opinions on the Government’s Green paper’ Youth Matters’ (2005) reported that:

40% of the 51 Muslim young people responding to the online survey considered the standard of service provision in their local area to be ‘poor’, with 15% describing it as ‘terrible’. Most participants in a focus group of 85 young people agreed that the lack of information about what was available in their local areas was an important reason why they do not take up more activities.

A significant majority of the young people considered their local mosque an important focus for community participation and support, where they go to play sport, volunteer, learn and engage in spiritual activities.

74% of young people felt that the delivery of youth services should reflect the religious and cultural sensitivities of the users.

Almost all Muslim young people called for different sports sessions for young men and young women, as well as certain arts and drama activities like dance, which many young Muslims said they would prefer to do separately.

The majority of Muslim young people said they were actively involved in voluntary work in their communities.

Over 80% were in favour of the idea of an Opportunity Fund, letting young people decide how money is spent on youth services. They felt that ‘it would feel like people were really listening to us’.

(Source: Youth Matters: a report from Muslim Youth Helpline and the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, 2005)

A survey of 1,003 Muslim people conducted between July 2006 and January 2007, by the polling company Populus for the Policy Exchange, found that:

86% of Muslims feel that ‘my religion is the most important thing in my life’.

62% of Muslim young people aged 16 to 24 feel they have as much in common with non-Muslims as Muslims, compared to 71% of 55+ year olds.

37% of 16-24-year-olds prefer to live under sharia law compared to 71% of 55+ year olds.

74% of 16-24-year-olds would prefer Muslim women to choose to wear the veil, compared to 28% of 55+ year olds.

(Source: Living apart together: British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism, Policy Exchange, 2007).