Historically, London had a concentration of Muslim. This took a sharp rise in the 1960s with large immigration from the commonwealth particularly from South Asia who mostly Muslim. London became the home of many that arrived. The actual number is not known as religion was not systematically recorded nationally until 2001. The 2001 census included an optional choice of stating one’s religious affiliation. The census gives a snapshot of the state of the country in a given day which in the UK is conducted every 10 years. The last census day for England and Wales was 27 March 2011.


Population of Muslims in England and Wales, March 2011

The population of the England and Wales was 56,075,912 of which 2,706,066 affiliated themselves to Islam which accounts for 4.8% of the population. This is an increase of 3.9 percent since 2001. There are Muslims in all regions of England and Wales. Wales has 45950 (1.7%) Muslims, North East have 46764 (1.7%), South West have 51228 (1.9%), East Midlands have 140649 (5.2%), East have 148341 (5.5%), South East have 201651 (7.5%), Yorkshire and the Humber have 326050 (12%), North West have 356,458 (13.2%), and the West Midlands have 376,152 (13.9%). The largest number of Muslims is in London.

37.4% percent of the Muslim population of England and Wales live in London. The population of London is 8,173,941 of which 1,012,823 declared themselves as Muslim. Hence, 12.4% of the city are adherents of Islam. This is an increase of 3.9% since 2001 of London as a whole. In terms of the Muslim population it has increased 67% within London from 607083 to 1012823; a change of 405,740. This is high compared to the London’s general population growth of 14 percent. However, compared to the Muslims in the other regions it is the slowest as they saw increases between 72 to 111 percent. Overall, the Muslims in London represent 1.8% of the population (a rise of 0.6% in the past decade).


Population of Muslims in England and Wales, March 2011

London has 33 boroughs and has the River Thames running through the middle and then veering south towards Richmond and Kingston Upon Thames with only a few free accessible crossings2.

South London

81% of the Muslims live north of the river. Most boroughs directly south of a free crossing come above the 25th percentile such as Greenwich (1.7%), Lewisham (1.8%), Southwark (2.4%), and Wandsworth (2.4%). Richmond and Kingston are below the 25th percentile despite being directly south of a free crossing. Good links to Kingston is primarily through Richmond and Merton from the north. Richmond properties on average are more expensive3 than the neighbouring boroughs with Merton (1.6%) having cheaper flats and Hounslow and Ealing being comparatively cheaper in general with the M4 in between leading to Heathrow. Hence, Muslims seem to prefer Ealing over the neighbouring southern boroughs as it provides the easiest access to the North via the M1, the East via the A406 and the West through the M4.

Croydon is the only borough south of the river above the 50th percentile (2.9%). Croydon serves a major transport corridor especially through the A23 and A22 to the south of England as well as linking the south of the city. Consequently, due to significant strategic value and economic prospects, there is an increased Muslim concentration. Additionally, a further impetus comes due to the Qadiyanis being headquartered in the region.

East London

The median number of Muslims in the boroughs of London is 25,520 with the lower quartile at 16,262 and the upper quartile at 36,744. The lowest number is in the City of London with only 409 Muslims; 5.5% of the borough and 0.04% of the Muslims in London. The highest datum is 67,467. Redbridge, Tower Hamlet, and Newham are outliers with a Muslim population of 64999, 87696, and 98456 respectively. Redbridge represents 6.4%, Tower Hamlet 8.7%, and Newham 9.7% of the Muslims in London. Thus these three boroughs represent 24.8% of the Muslims in London.

Tower Hamlets and Newham have been the home of many Muslims for more than a century with the largest influx in the 1960s. Hence, they are the largest Muslim boroughs in the UK.

Although in terms of number Newham has the largest Muslim population, Tower Hamlet proportionally is higher. 23.3% of Redbridge, 32% of Newham and 34.5% of Tower Hamlet are Muslim. In the past decade, Tower Hamlet saw a 1.9% decrease in the proportion of Muslims in the borough despite an increase of 16307 (22.8%, 0.4% higher the Tower Hamlet’s average growth). The slow growth could be due to increase in flat prices and large family sizes amongst Muslim in Tower Hamlet. Larger and wealthier families of the borough seem to have moved to Redbridge whilst younger couples and family have moved to the more affordable Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The Muslim population of Redbridge grew by 128% (36512) and Barking and Dagenham by 257% (18372). Newham had a growth of 66% (39163) since 2001 significantly higher than the borough growth of 26.3%.

West London

In the north-west of London, the largest concentration of Muslims is in Brent (5.7%), Ealing (5.3%) and Westminster (4%) which combined account for 14.9% of the Muslims in London and are above the 75th percentile. These boroughs have grown 79.6% on average. The boroughs surrounding these three are above the 50th percentile with the average borough having 31600 (SD 4386) or 3.1%. The exception is south of the river as mentioned before and the boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea as well as Hammersmith & Fulham. These have 15812 (1.6%) and 18242 (1.8%) Muslims respectively. Kensington & Chelsea has one of the highest property prices in the country. The same is for Camden (2.6%) and the City (0.4%). As such the average growth in these boroughs is 12%. Furthermore, Hammersmith & Fulham (1.8%) is also amongst the top five expensive areas although outside the congestion charge zone.

In the west, the largest growth is found in Harrow and Hillingdon with increases of 100.3% (14966) and 158.2% (17807) respectively. Correspondingly, in the east, the largest growth is found in Havering with an increase of 163% (3029) after Redbridge and Barking & Dagenham. Whether the trend will continue in the far east of the borough is still tentative as many residents are opting for Grays to the very far East, outside London, skipping Havering.

North London

North London accounted for 4.8% (SD 1%) of the Muslims in London. Enfield had 52141 (5.1%), Waltham Forest had 56541 (5.6%) and Barnet had 36744 (3.6%) Muslims. In term terms of the proportion of the borough, they represented 16.7%, 21.9%, and 10.3% respectively. All three boroughs are above the 75th percentile. The average increase is 86.6% with the fastest growth in Enfield at 98.2%. Haringey (3.4%) and Hackney (3.6%) are above the 50th percentile although they are amongst the slowest growing.


12.4% of London (4.8% of the population) are Muslims. This represents 37.4% of the Muslims in England and Wales. The majority (81%) of the Muslims in London live north of the River Thames with the outer regions of the city growing at fast a pace. Amongst these most are concentrated in East of London particularly Redbridge, Tower Hamlet, and Newham with the Muslims spreading East towards Barking & Dagenham and Havering. In the west of London Muslims are the largest in Brent and Ealing with the Muslims spreading towards Hillingdon and Harrow. In the north of London such as Waltham Forest and Enfield are also on the rise partly from first-generation migrants and influx from Hackney and Haringey amongst others. The strongest concentration in the south of the river is in Croydon. Most of the remaining boroughs with sizeable Muslim directly south of the River with easy access from the North.


Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
19 Safar 1434
2 January 2013


1. The data states what the individuals perceive themselves to be rather than their actual belief or practice. It makes no distinction between Sunni, Shia, Qadiyani etcetera. The number may be higher or lower depending on the inclusion of illegal immigrants or the exclusion temporary residence. See Measuring religion by the ONS

2. To the east, there is Dartford, Blackwall, and Rotherhithe tunnel. The first has a toll whilst the latter two are only crossable with a car. There is also the Woolwich ferry and foot tunnel, however, these are somewhat slow and lengthy. In the centre of London there are numerous bridges, however, only Tower bridge is outside of the congestion charge zone albeit on the border.

3. See UK House Prices by BBC

Cite Key:  130102501