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British Muslim Statistics

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How are British Muslims faring relative to the wider population?

These key statistics provided below are invaluable for anyone wishing to understand more about British Muslims, and also form a case for the importance of our work at 1st Ethical.

All statistics are taken from the 2001 census, save where stated otherwise.

    • The UK Muslim population in 2001 was 1.65 million, rising to 2.42million in 2008
    • 34% of UK Muslims were aged between 0-15, and 37% were aged 16-34 (compared to 20% and 25% nationally
    • Whilst the national ratio was 49% : 51% in favour of women, Muslim men outnumbered women 52% : 48%
    • Muslims were concentrated in four regions: London(31.5%), West Midlands(11.9%), North West(11.1%), and Yorkshire(10.4%) – compared to 12.2%, 8.96%, 11.45% and 8.45% respectively, of the UK population
    • 34% of Muslim households contained 5 people or more compared to 7% nationally
    • UK Muslim unemployment stood at 16% (4.7% nationally), with nearly a third of 16-34 year olds unemployed
    • 43% of British Muslims were of Pakistani origin, 11% were of Bangladeshi origin, “White” ethnicity constituted 11%, with Indians making up 8% of the British Muslim population.
    • 30% of British Muslims were considered to be in poor health, nearly double the national average
    • 52% of British Muslims owned their own home, compared to 68% nationally. 28% were renting from the Council/Housing Association whilst the national average was 20%
    • 13% of British Muslims had no qualifications compared to 11.6% nationally. 15% were educated to a degree standard compared to 16.4% nationally

Muslims were the largest religious group after Christians. There were 1.65 million Muslims (2.7%) living in Britain in 2001, out of a total population of 58,789,194.

More recent data taken from the Labour Force Survey found the Muslim population to have grown faster than any group in society from 1.87million in 2004 to 2.42million in 2008, a percentage change of 29.4%.

Age distribution

Muslims have the youngest age profile of all the religious groups in Great Britain.

Approximately 34 % were under 16 years of age in 2001 as compared to the national average of 20%, illustrated in the graph below.


Muslim men outnumber women 52%: 48%, as compared to a national average of 49%:51% in favour of women.

Geographic Distribution

The regions that are most populous with Muslims are London, West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire.

Household Size

A third of Muslim households (34%) contained more than 5 people, compared to 6.81% nationally. Muslim families tended to have a greater number of persons in their households, whereas nationally more households consisted of fewer people.

Out of nine society groups, the proportion of Muslims headed by a lone parent was 15.1%, compared to 22.15% nationally.

Muslims and Employment

Accoring to the 2004 Annual Population Survey (ONS), unemployment for British Muslims stood at 15.8% per cent, compared to a national average of 4.7%. Unemployment rates for Muslim men were 13.5% compared to a national average of 5.1% for UK males, and 18% for Muslim women compared to 4.3% for women nationally.

In terms of ethnic groups, Pakistani women had the highest levels of unemployment in the UK at 20%. Along with Bangladeshi women, they had the highest economic inactivity rates also at 75 and 69% respectively, compared with “White British” who had nearly three times less, with 35% of natives economically inactive.

Muslims aged 16 to 24 years had the highest unemployment rates at 27.6% (as a proportion of the economically active population), compared to a national average of 12.4%.


Within Employment, 15.2% of British Muslims were employed in manual labour jobs specifically ‘elementary occupations’, the highest of any ethnic group (the national average was 11.6%). Similarly Muslims had the greatest proportion of their population employed as ‘machine/process/plant operatives’ at 14.3 % whereas countrywide the average stood at 7.6%.

Muslims however fared marginally better in the proportion employed in ‘professional occupations’ at 13.7% compared to 12.4% nationally.


The main ethnic origins of British Muslims are:


‘Poor’ Health

The proportion of Muslims in ‘poor health’ was 14%, 6% higher than the national level.

12.8% of Muslim males were in poor health (Age standardised) compared to a national average of 8%, 16% of Muslim females were in poor health compared to a national average of 8.3%.

‘Good’ Health

In terms of ‘Age standardised’ rates, British Muslims fared 10% lower than the UK average. In terms of ‘crude’ rates however, British Muslims had a greater proportion of people in good health than the average of the total UK population, 71 to 69% respectively.

Home ownership

In 2001 over half of Muslim households owned their own home, compared to 68% nationally.

Moreover, 28% of Muslims were renting houses from the council or Housing Association, the highest of any group at a value 8% above the national average.

UK Poverty Line

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 less than three-quarters of Bangladeshi and Pakistani children (73%), were living in households below the poverty line (classified as 60% of median income). This compares with a third (31%) for children in all households.

(Source: Department for Work and Pensions. Households below Average Income 1994/5 – 2000/01)


In 2004, 13% of British born Muslims of working age in Great Britain had no qualifications whatsoever, the highest proportion of any other faith, compared to a national average of 11.6%.

Only 15% of Muslims were educated to a degree standard or higher (the lowest of any group) compared to a national average of 16.4%.

The Future of the Global Muslim Population

Please also see this excellent report from the Pew Forum. You can visit it HERE.

List Of The Fifty UK Parliamentary Seats With The Highest Muslim Population

Please see the attached document below for a list of the fifty UK parliamentary seats with the highest Muslim population (based on. 2005 boundaries).

This analysis demonstrates that over half of British Muslims live in only 1/13th of parliamentary seats thereby confirming British Muslims are highly concentrated in inner city conurbations in Greater London, the Midlands, and the North West and Yorkshire regions.