THE Muslim population of England and Wales increased by more than a million in the space of a decade, according to a report, with a high concentration of families in Yorkshire.
An analysis of 2011 Census data for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) suggests the Muslim population had increased 75% from 1.5 million in 2001 to 2.7 million, with a third below the age of 15.
The research shows one in 12 school-age children was Muslim and there had been a significant improvement in Muslim education, with just a quarter not having any qualifications compared with two in five 10 years previously.
But just one in five was in full-time employment, compared with one in three of the wider population, with the researchers saying Muslims face a “double penalty ... in entering the labour market - of racial discrimination as well as Islamophobia”.
While more than half were born outside the country, 73% said their national identity was British, the British Muslims in Numbers report said.
Three-quarters of the Muslim population was concentrated in London, the West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and Humber and 46% lived in the top 10% most deprived areas.
Talha Ahmad, a senior member of the MCB, told the BBC the significant rise in the population could be put down in part to refugees from countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq and conversions.
The report, led by Sundas Ali of the University of Oxford, said: “There is need for various stakeholders - Muslim civil society, policy institutes, employers, trade unions and the Department for Work and Pensions - to facilitate conditions and opportunities in the labour market.
“Muslim civil society needs to have a better appreciation of the social realities.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Taking data from the 2011 census, this important new report from the Muslim Council of Britain helps give us a snapshot of the socio-economic challenges and opportunities now facing Britain’s Muslim communities.
“What’s not in doubt is that British Muslims can be proud of the contribution they make to our country. Drawing on analysis like this, together, we can help create jobs, drive growth and enable more people to get on - building the stronger economy and fairer society we want for Britain’s future.”