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Hindus healthiest group in England and Wales: Census data

Some 87.8 per cent of people who identified themselves as Hindu in the 2021 census said they enjoyed good or very good health

Prime minister Rishi Sunak lights a candle for Diwali in Downing Street in London on November 12, 2020, when he was the chancellor of exchequer. Hindus are more likely to have high-level education than any other religious group in England and Wales, according to the 2021 census. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

HINDUS are the healthiest people in England and Wales and are more likely to have high-level education than any other religious group, according to the most recent census.

Figures from the 2021 census released last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also reveal that Sikhs (77.7 per cent) are most likely to own their own homes, while among Muslims, 45.6 per cent lived in households that owned their home.

A quarter of Muslims live in socially rented housing – the highest for any religious group.

In contrast, groups with the youngest average ages, Muslims (27 years) and those who reported “no religion” (32 years), had the lowest percentages of people living in households that owned their home outright (16 per cent and 18.6 per cent, respectively).

Some 87.8 per cent of Hindus said they enjoyed “good or “very good” health, compared with 82 per cent of the overall population who came with a similar response.

Hindus (8.8 per cent), Sikhs (10.8 per cent) and Muslims (11.3 per cent) reported the lowest prevalence of physical or mental health conditions, well below the overall figure of 17.5 per cent for England and Wales.

The data showed that 31.8 per cent of people belonging to ‘other religion’ reported some kind of physical or mental health conditions or illnesses lasting or expected to last 12 months or more.

Muslims are more likely to live in overcrowded homes – their bedroom occupancy being the highest for any group.

They are followed by Hindus and Sikhs. In contrast, those who identified themselves as having ‘no religion’, Christians and Jews live in the least crowded homes.

According to the figures based on self-declaration, Hindus have the highest percentage of ‘level 4 or above’ qualification at 54.8 per cent, compared with 33.8 per cent for the overall population. However, just 31.6 per cent of Christians reported they have a similar level of education and it is least reported by any religion.

Education of level 4 or above includes Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma, bachelor’s degree or postgraduate qualifications.

Jews and Hindus have the highest proportion of ‘managers, directors or senior officials’ and ‘professional occupations’, whereas Buddhists and Muslims have the highest percentages of people working in elementary occupations.

Jesse Ransley from 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.”

The ONS data also showed that while 8.9 per cent of the overall population for England and Wales provided unpaid care, those who identified as “Hindu” and as “Muslim” were the most likely to say they did not provide any unpaid care.

In 2021, Muslims had the lowest percentage of people aged 16 to 64 years in employment (51.4 per cent, compared to 70.9 per cent of the overall population) – this was attributed to high percentages of people who were students or looking after home or family in this group.

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