Muslims in the 2001 Census of England and Wales: Gender and economic disadvantage

Ceri Peach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article presents new data for the Muslim population of Britain from the 2001 Census. It uses the cross tabulations of ethnicity by religion to back-project the growth of the Muslim population from 21,000 in 1951 to 1.6 millions in 2001. It examines the social, economic, demographic and geographic characteristics of the population. Although Muslims are often represented as a homogenous group, there are considerable internal differences, so that the characteristics of the population as a whole do not apply to all groups within. The 2001 Census shows that two-thirds of British Muslims are ethnically Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi, but one-third comes from diverse European, African, North African, Middle Eastern and other Asian sources. Nevertheless, Muslim gender roles emerge as a critical differentiator of socio-economic vulnerability. Taken as a whole, the Muslim population is young and rapidly growing; its socio-economic profile is depressed, marked by the exceptionally low participation rate of women in the formal labour market, and by high concentration in areas of multiple deprivation. © 2006 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-655
Number of pages26
JournalEthnic and racial studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Britain
  • Census
  • Islam
  • Religion
  • Segregation


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