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Demographics of British Bangladeshis

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Demographics of British Bangladeshis

British Bangladeshis are people who have immigrated from Bangladesh to the United Kingdom. They have mainly settled in the boroughs of east London, primarily in the borough of Tower Hamlets, Camden, Haringey, Hackney, Newham, Westminster and Redbridge. Over 50% of the Bangladeshi population living in the United Kingdom, live in London.


United Kingdom regions

The table below shows the dispersity of Bangladeshi people in the United Kingdom. The percentages include, the population percentage of the total population of the region itself, and the percentage of the Bangladeshi population in that region.[1] The population of the regions, are data from the Office for National Statistics (Neighbourhood Statistics), as of 2006 estimates.[2]

The Bangladeshi population in the regions of the United Kingdom
Region Population of region Bangladeshi population Percentage of total population Percentage of UK-Bangladeshi population (Census 01) Significant communities
England London[3]
Tower Hamlets - 33%
Newham - 10%
Camden - 6%
England West Midlands[4]
Birmingham - 2%
England East Midlands[3]
England South East[5]
England North West[3]
Oldham - 5%
Burnley - 1.6%
Rochdale - 1.5%
Manchester - 1.0%
Rossendale - 1.4%
England East[6]
Luton - 4%
England Yorkshire and the Humber[7]
Bradford - 1%
England South West[8]
Scotland Scotland
England North East[9]
Newcastle upon Tyne - 1.1%
Wales Wales
Cardiff - 0.83%
Northern Ireland

Tower Hamlets wards

The Bangladeshi populations in the 17 local electoral districts called wards in London borough of Tower Hamlets[10] (based on census data, from the Office for National Statistics - Neighbourhood statistics).[11]

Ward Population Percentage
Bethnal Green North[12]
Bethnal Green South[13]
Blackwall and Cubitt Town[14]
Bow East[15]
Bow West[16]
East India and Lansbury[18]
Mile End East[20]
Mile End and Globe Town[21]
Spitalfields and Banglatown[24]
St Dunstan's and Stepney Green[25]
St Katharine's and Wapping[26]


Part of a series on the
History of Bangladeshis in Britain
Brick Lane
History of Asians in Britain
Demographics of Bangladeshis
Demographics of Asians
Sylheti · English · Bengali
Baishakhi Mela
Culture of Bangladesh
Channel S · Bangla TV
East London Mosque
Brick Lane Mosque
Islam in England
List of British Bangladeshis
List of British Asian people

In comparison with all pupils nationally in the country, Bangladeshi pupils have average attainment at the end of each key stage and achievement by pupils is steadily improving. The attainment of Bangladeshi pupils at Key Stage 1 is the considerably above the national average and this pattern can be seen in Key Stages 2 and 3. The numbers of Bangladeshi pupils who are attaining five or more A*–C grades in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) are above the national average.[29] According to Ofsted, reports from many secondary schools showed that many Bangladeshi pupils are making significant progress compared with other groups, achieving better by the equivalent of four GCSE points. In London the pupils do better than the average of the whole city. Increasing fluency in English is playing a greater role in improved education for Bangladeshis, the progress of pupils through Key Stage 1 and 2 in English tends to be growing rapidly compared with other such subjects in school. At the end of Key Stage 2, they are attaining 11 percentage points, which is above the national average in English. This is a very considerable type of achievement when set against the fact that their peers who have English as a mother tongue are also improving their language skills from a very different starting point.[29] 97 per cent of Bangladeshi students in Tower Hamlets mainly speak English as a second language, after Sylheti, but despite this they perform as well as or better than white pupils at GCSE. ref name=BTG>

Bangladeshi pupils make more progress than several other minority ethnic groups between Key Stage 3 and GCSE. Bengali speaking pupils with greater English fluency are closing the gap for GCSE average scores with other language groups. For example, 71% of Bangladeshi pupils who achieve level 5 at Key Stage 3 achieve five or more A*–C grades at GCSE, compared with 67% of Pakistani pupils and 48% of Black Caribbean pupils. Overall, the correlation between FSM eligibility and attainment at GCSE is less strong for Bangladeshi girls and boys than for other groups. Overall, girls are more likely to do better in education than boys, with 55% of girls achieving 5 or more A*-C at GCSE compared with boys at 41%, and the achievement rate overall is at 48% for Bangladeshi pupils compared with 53% for all pupils.[29]


A lot of Bangladeshis are mainly employed in the retail, distribution, transport, hotel and restaurant industries, for both men and women. This is unsurprising, because many Bangladeshis have founded the restaurant and curry houses throughout Britain. 1 in 3 Bangladeshi women worked in this industry in 2004, compared with one in five of all women in employment.[30]

Between 2001 and 2002, particularly among men, Bangladeshis had the highest unemployment rate in Britain at 20%, which is four times that for White British or White Irish men. The Bangladeshi women also had the highest unemployment rate of all at 24 per cent, and over 40 per cent of under the age 25 Bangladeshi men were unemployed.[31] Unemployment was mostly high amongst the youths, for example in Tower Hamlets itself had 32% of people aged between 18–25 years who were unemployed. The rates of unemployment and under-achievement are sometimes very common with Bangladeshis. The average earnings of the Bangladeshis were at only £150 per week, which is considered to be very low.[32][33]

New generation Bangladeshis living in Britain, are now willing to be involved and employed in professional careers. Bangladeshis were most likely to be employed or own curry restaurants in Britain. However, this is mainly present among the older generation or the first generation who have started this cultural business. The younger generation who are receiving better education in comparison with their ancestors, are not very influenced by the business of the curry. Many of these people are now looking to have professional types of careers in the mainstream of British business. In the third and fourth generation of British Bangladeshis, are also to be involved with politics, increasing numbers of people are barristers. Also many are, doctors, IT and management specialists, teachers and working in the business. Notable British Bangladeshis in professional careers include, Iftekharul Islam - Citigroup macro-strategy managing director, Sham Ahmed - Mathworks managing director, Asif Ahmed - director of Asia International Group of UK Trade and Investment and many more.[33]


Bangladeshis have the highest rates of illnesses in the UK, as of 2001. They were more likely to suffer from medical conditions, fevers or headaches than any other ethnic group. The men were three times as likely to visit their doctor than men in the general population. The age standardized rates for both genders of Bangladeshis were twice as larger than the White British. And taking account of the different structures of age groups, Bangladeshis also had the highest rates of people with disabilities.[34]

Smoking was another serious health issue which was raised amongst the Bangladeshi community. They were most likely to smoke cigarettes at a rate of 44% in 1999 in England than any other people. The smoking was very common amongst the men, but a very a few women smoked cigarettes compared to men, however 26% were to have chewed tobacco. Tobacco was mainly used as conjunction with the cigarettes. Bangladeshis, have the highest amounts of gender difference in terms of smoking, it is believed to be because of cultural or religious customs because of these differences. Smoking amongst Bangladeshis was also part of the socio-economic problems facing the people, which explained why many men do smoke.[35]

The women of the community is found to suffer from a medical condition termed as the Begum Syndrome. Many women would had to visit the doctors for an analysis, the symptoms as said by the women was all related to pain inside the body. The researchers finally concluded it was not a serious medical condition, in fact it was just a talk of pain, it was all a form of somatisation, an internalisation of the women’s depleted types of resources and cramped dwellings of which they lived in.[36]


Bangladeshi households contain the largest numbers of people living together than any other ethnic group. The average number of people living in each house was 4.5 people (at least 5 people in each house), based on the census. Households which contained only one person was at just 9%. Nearly three-quarters of houses at least contained a child living with parents, the highest figure than any other ethnic group, three times larger than White families. The percent of houses which contained a married couple was at 54%, also the largest, and the proportion of pensioner households ranged from 2 per cent of Bangladeshi households to 27 per cent of White Irish households. These types of households made up 2 per cent of all households in Great Britain whereas among the Bangladeshi community they made up 17 per cent of households.

Bangladeshis living London were to be 40 times more likely to be living in cramped and poor housing types of housing than anyone else in the country, especially in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, where more than half of the UK Bangladeshi population lives. Families were to have twice as many people per room as white households and 43% live in homes with insufficient bedroom space - compared with a national average of just 3%. The desire to remain within a tight community is putting Bangladeshis off moving to new larger housing and to areas where larger properties and space are available.[37] A third of Bangladeshi homes contain an extended family – 64% of all overcrowded households in Tower Hamlets are Bangladeshi.[38]

Bangladeshi students

Increasing numbers of students from Bangladesh are arriving to Britain since at least 2002. Prior to 2001, the United States was the primary destination for those students who sought undergraduate or postgraduate degrees abroad. Since the September 11 attacks, however, the difficulty of obtaining a US student visa,[39] has forced many Bangladeshi students to seek alternative locations, in particular Australia, Canada and the UK. The total number of incoming students is currently estimated to be around 2,000-3,000 per annum.[40] Most of these students come from urban locations such as Dhaka and Chittagong. The vast majority chooses London as their primary base, not least because of the ease of finding paid work to finance their education and living costs. A network of colleges - known as visa colleges - has taken root in East London,[41] in order to cater to these students, often established and run by Bangladeshi proprietors. These students are heavily concentrated in east London boroughs where majority of Bangladeshi Sylhetis have settled. Besides their studies, they can be found working a variety of low-skilled, low-paid jobs. The UK government's decision to encourage foreign students to stay and work in Britain after their studies,[42] has resulted in many of these students settling in Britain, particularly graduates working in 'shortage sectors' such as science and technology. This is likely to increase the diversity of the British Bangladeshi population in coming years.


Religion Percentage of British Bangladeshi pop. Percentage of total British pop. Population (2001)
Islam 92.48% British Bangladeshi Muslims represent 16.35% of the British Muslim community and 0.46% of the UK population 259,712
Not Stated 5.83% 0.37% of the total number of non-correspondents and 0.03% of the UK population 16,373
Hinduism 0.60% British Bangladeshi Hindus represent 0.30% of the British Hindu community and close to 0.00% of the UK population 1,685
Christianity 0.50% British Bangladeshi Christians represent represent 0.00% of the British Christian community and 0.00% of the UK population 1,404
No Religion 0.43% 0.02% of the total number of Agnostics and 0.00% of the UK population 1,208
Buddhism 0.06% British Bangladeshi Buddhists represent represent 0.11% of the British Buddhist community and close to 0.00% of the UK population 169
Judaism 0.05% British Bangladeshi Jews represent represent 0.05% of the British Jewish community and close to 0.00% of the UK population 141
Sikhism 0.04% British Bangladeshi Sikhs represent 0.00% of the British Sikh Community and close to 0.00% of the UK population 112
Other Religion 0.01% 28
Total 100% 280,830

See also


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