• Friday, April 19, 2024

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South Asians among migrants most likely to have religious affiliation

Arrivals from Bangladesh top the list with nearly 95 per cent of them identifying with a religion

(Representational image: iStock)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

MIGRANTS from Bangladesh are more likely to report a religious affiliation than any other group living in England and Wales, according official figures.

Analysis of the 2021 Census data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 94.9 per cent migrants from the south Asian country reported a religious affiliation. They were followed by those who came from Somalia (94.8 per cent) and Pakistan (94.8 per cent).

More broadly, the top 10 countries of birth with the highest percentage of residents with a religious affiliation were from Africa or the Middle East and Asia.

South Asia accounted for four out of top six countries migrants from where identified themselves with a religion.

Pakistan was in the third position with 94.8 per cent of migrants from it reporting a religious affiliation. They were followed by Eritrea (94.7 per cent), Sri Lanka (94.2 per cent) and India (93.8 per cent).

The figures compare with a little more than half (56.8 per cent) of all usual residents of England and Wales having identified themselves with a religion.

On the contrary, Chinese (18.9 per cent) and Japanese (32 per cent) migrants reported the lowest proportion of religious affiliation.

The religion question was voluntary and the proportion of migrants from the top 60 countries of birth who chose to not answer varied from 2.7 per cent to 12.3 per cent, the ONS said.

Overall, six per cent of all residents in England and Wales did not answer the question.

According to the data, residents born outside European Union (EU) countries were more likely to report a UK-only identity than EU-born residents, though this difference was smaller for arrivals from 2011 onwards, where reporting a UK-only identity is less common.

The analysis comes months after data revealed that net 606,000 migrants arrived in Britain in 2022 with a large number of them coming from outside the EU on student and work visas.

Migrants have been contributing to the UK’s economy, immigration experts have said, pointing out how education fees from overseas students are financially supporting British universities.

Among all arrivals, Bangladesh-born residents had the lowest English proficiency, with only 74 per cent of them reporting high levels of proficiency. On the other hand, close to 90 per cent of migrants born in India and about 82 per cent of the arrivals from Pakistan fell in this category.

The census results also showed that non-UK residents who arrived most recently are the least proficient in English language.

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