This article considers the impact of census data on British Muslims, as well as the potential consequences of changes to the UK census beyond 2011 for minority religions. Focusing on the Muslim case, it reflects on data generated in previous censuses and the ways in which they have been used. The discussion explores the perceived need for social statistics on religion, particularly in relation to the increased identification of ‘Muslim’ as a religious rather than ethnic classification. It gives an overview of insights gained as a result of having data on religion in addition to ethnicity, notably: the high levels of socioeconomic disadvantage experienced by British Muslims and the ability to access information on Muslims that was hitherto hidden. Finally, the article provides a brief summary of proposed changes to the new census format and considers the likely outcomes for British Muslims if the scope of data collected on religion is reduced.
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- social statistics
- religion question
- Muslim Council of Britain
- official categories