Hindus have best health in Britain, Sikhs are most likely to own their own homes and Christians are least likely to have a degree, census figures show
- New census data reveals the different lives that different religions live in the UK
- Hindus rated their health highest, whereas Sikhs are most likely to own a home
- Read more: Britain’s ‘economically inactive’ rural coastal hotspots revealed
Hindus are the healthiest, Sikhs are the most likely to own their own homes and Muslims to live in social rented housing – and Christians are least likely to get a degree, census data shows.
There are ‘stark inequalities’ in levels of home ownership, education and good health across religious groups in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
People who identify as Muslim are nearly four times more likely to live in overcrowded homes than the overall population and are also more likely to live in social rented accommodation.
Those who identify as Hindu have the lowest prevalence of disability and the highest percentages of good health, according to the self-reported figures.
Those who told the census they are Christian are less likely than other religions to have a high-level qualification such as a degree.
Sikhs were more likely to own their own home outright or be paying down a mortgage (blue column) than other people, whereas Muslims were most likely to live in social rented housing (burgundy)
Hindus had the best self-reported health across the population and the lowest rates of disability, the data shows (Shri Santa Hindu Mandir, Hindu temple in Wembley, file image)
Some of the difference is down to the age profile of religious groups but other factors are likely to have contributed including income, employment and cultural background, according to the ONS.
The census took place in England and Wales on March 21, 2021, and included a range of questions on housing, education and wellbeing, as well as asking everyone to indicate which group best described their religion.
Among the 3.9 million people in England and Wales who told the census they were Muslim, 32.7 per cent lived in overcrowded homes, compared with 8.4 per cent of the overall population.
The figures for people identifying as Hindu (14.9 per cent), Sikh (14.9 per cent) and Buddhist (10.9 per cent) were also above the national level, while those for Jewish (6.7 per cent) and Christian (6.2 per cent) were below.
People who identified as Muslim are more likely to live in social rented homes – such as from a council or housing association – with 26.6 per cent saying they lived in this type of accommodation, 10 points higher that the overall population (16.6 per cent) and well above the figures for Christian (14.2 per cent), Buddhist (13.2 per cent), Jewish (5.3 per cent), Hindu (4.6 per cent) and Sikh (4.5 per cent).
By contrast, more than three-quarters (77.7 per cent) of those who identified as Sikh live in households that own their home, the highest for any religious group.
Over two-thirds of people identifying as Jewish (71.2 per cent), Hindu (67.9 per cent) and Christian (68.6 per cent) live in households that own their home while the figure drops to 56.7 per cent for those identifying as Buddhist and 45.6 per cent as Muslim.
People in the Christian group are most likely to live in households that own their home outright (36.0 per cent), with no outstanding mortgage or loan repayments – 8.9 percentage points higher than the overall population (27.1 per cent).
Responding to the findings, Jesse Ransley, of the ONS, said: ‘It’s important to recognise that age profiles vary among the different religious affiliation groups in England and Wales.
‘Those who identified as Christian, for example, tended to be older, and those who identified as Muslim younger.
‘But this by no means accounts for all the differences in life outcomes for people of different religious affiliations we see in today’s analysis, with some stark inequalities evident.’
Those who told the census they are Muslim have the youngest average age (27) of any religious group and also the lowest percentage of people living in households that own their home outright (16 per cent).
People identifying as Christian have a median average age of 51 years, compared with 40 years for the overall population, suggesting that they may have had time to pay off a mortgage or loan, the ONS said.
People who identified as Christian were less likely to have higher qualifications, like a degree (dark blue column), and had an average age of 51 years
Hindus were the healthiest , according to the census rating system, whereas ‘other religion’ saw the highest number of people with bad health
The census also asked people to rate their health as ‘very good’, ‘good’, ‘fair’, ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.
People who identified as Hindu had the highest percentage of their population reporting either ‘very good’ or ‘good’ health (87.8 per cent), compared with 82 per cent of the overall population and 79 per cent who identified as Christian.
The figure was 85.4 per cent among those identifying as Muslim, 85.2 per cent as Jewish, 84.9 per cent as Sikh and 81.9 per cent as Buddhist.
When asked education, more than half (54.8 per cent) of people identifying as Hindu told the census they have a higher-level qualification, such as a degree or NVQ level 4 to 5, compared with just under a third of people who said they were Muslim (32.3 per cent) or Christian (31.6 per cent).
This category had the largest variation across religious groups, with the percentage for the Hindu group being 21 points higher than that for the overall population, while the Christian group is 2.2 points lower.
Groups with the highest percentages for no qualifications were Muslim (25.3 per cent), Sikh (22.4 per cent) and Christian (20.8 per cent).
Factors affecting all these trends can ‘often overlap’, as for example those in poor health or caring for others may be less able to work or gain education, while ‘income, where people live, and cultural background, will also have an influence on outcomes’, the ONS added.
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