British Muslim Statistics – The 2001 census put the figure for the British Muslim population at 1.59 million out of a total UK population of 57.1 million.
Until the results from the 2011 Census are released, the 2001 Census data is the most comprehensive set of statistics available on the British Muslim population.
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life 2010 report on ‘Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe’ put the figure of British Muslims at 2,869,000.
The 2001 Census contains a wealth of information about British Muslims. For example:
- British Muslims possess the youngest demographic profile of all UK religious groups with over a third being under the age of 16, and a further 32% between the ages of 17 –34.
- British Muslims have significantly larger families, with 27% of Muslim households in the UK having three or more dependent children.
- British Muslims are three times more likely to be unemployed than White Britons; are far less likely to hold a degree; are less healthy than other groups; and when employed, are far more likely to hold positions in unskilled or low paid employment.
Whilst Muslims are less than 3% of the overall population, over half of British Muslims live in just 50 parliamentary seats where they form between 7 and 20% of the population. A full list of these 50 seats can be found here.
Ethnic minorities now make up around 8% of the British electorate and while voting patterns and habits of the majority White community have been studied for some time, few studies exist of ethnic minority voting habits, political participation and political attitudes.
From studies that have been undertaken, the following is apparent:
Ethnic minorities are somewhat less likely than White Britons to register to vote. According to the Runnymede Trust’s ‘Ethnic Minority British Election Study,’ 88% of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis surveyed were registered to vote in the 2010 election. This compares to 95% for the population as a whole.
However, the figures for voter registration fall to 78% (Pakistanis) and 73% (Bangladeshis) when voter registration details are validated.
Moreover, the study shows that of the five ethnic groups surveyed, (Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians, Black Africans and Black Caribbeans), Pakistanis and Bangladeshis were least likely to have filled in their voter registration forms themselves.
Political participation in local and national elections begins with being registered to vote. The Runnymede report notes that the key barrier to political participation by ethnic minorities in the UK is not voter turnout, but voter registration.