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'Indians most employed among Asians'

UK Indians are most employed among Asians; Muslims are the largest non-Christian religious group, a Census says.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2003 12:20 IST

Indians in Britain have the highest employment rates among Asians while Muslims constitute the largest non-Christian religious group in the country, say newly released Census 2001 figures.

The Asian component of the British population presents different profiles in terms of economic activity.

In the Indian group, 46.4 per cent of men aged between 16 and 74 are full-time employees, 14.3 per cent are self-employed and 4.5 per cent are unemployed. This is similar to the overall average for England and Wales.

However, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups have much lower employment rates: 31 per cent of Pakistani men aged between 16 and 74 are full-time employees, 14.2 per cent are self-employed, and 9.1 per cent are unemployed. The corresponding figures for Bangladeshi men are 23.1 per cent full-time employees, nine per cent self-employed, and 10.2 per cent unemployed.

Information about ethnicity and religious identity shows that while the British population is more culturally diverse than ever before, white Christians remain the largest single group by far.

In England and Wales, 36 million people, or nearly seven out of 10, described their ethnicity as white and their religion as Christian.

The majority of black people and those from mixed ethnic backgrounds also identified themselves as Christian, 71 and 52 per cent respectively. In all, there were 810,000 black Christians and 347,000 Christians from mixed ethnic backgrounds.

Among other faiths, the largest groups were Pakistani Muslims, at 658,000, and Indian Hindus, at 467,000, followed by Indian Sikhs, at 301,000, Bangladeshi Muslims, at 260,000, and white Jews, at 252,000.

The Indian group was also religiously diverse. Around 45 per cent of Indians were Hindu, 29 per cent Sikh and a further 13 per cent Muslim. By contrast, Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups were more homogenous, with Muslims accounting for 92 per cent of each ethnic group.

A high proportion of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women aged 16-74 looked after the home and family: 36.4 per cent of Pakistani women and 40.1 per cent of Bangladeshi women, compared to the average of 11.9 per cent for England and Wales.

In 2001, minority ethnic groups were more likely to live in England than in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. In England, they made up nine per cent of the total population compared with only two per cent in both Scotland and Wales and less than one per cent in Northern Ireland.

The minority ethnic populations were concentrated in the large urban centres, mainly London. Nearly half, or 45 per cent, of the total minority ethnic population lived in the London region, where they comprised 29 per cent of all residents.

Over half of the Bangladeshi group, or 54 per cent, lived in London. Other ethnic minority groups were more dispersed. Only 19 per cent of Pakistanis resided in London, 21 per cent lived in West Midlands, 20 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber, and 16 per cent in the North West.