Economic activity includes those aged 16 or over who are employed or unemployed (those who are actively seeking and available for work). Economic inactivity, includes people who are aged 16 and over who are not in employment and are either not actively seeking and/or not available for work.

Economic activity and economic inactivity varies considerably by religion. According to the 2011 Census, the Hindu community is the most active of all the faiths, and only second to people who identified themselves with no religion at 74%. The groups with the lowest levels of economic activity were Muslims (55%) and Christians (60%). Age is a major factor in economic activity. The older age profile of Christian’s means that a large proportion of Christians not participating in the labour force were ‘retired’ (69%). Muslims, on the other hand, had the youngest age profile and were most often economically inactive because they were ‘looking after home or family’ (31%) or because they were ‘students’ (30%).

Religion and economic activity, England and Wales , 2011

In 2011, the majority of those who were economically active were employees in employment (75%); around three quarters of Christians and those with no religion (77%) and 74% respectively) were economically active employees, compared with around three-fifths (59%) of Muslims. Self-employment made up the next largest category of economic activity (14%); More than a quarter (28%) of Jewish people were self-employed compared with 13 to 19 % of people with other religious affiliations. Around seven per cent of Muslims and six per cent of Buddhists and Hindus were students in employment compared with three per cent of Christians, Jewish people and those with other religious affiliations.Economic Activity

Religion and type of economic activity, England and Wales , 2011

Employee Self-employed Employed Full time Unemployed

A quarter of economically inactive people with Other religious affiliation were long-term sick or disabled. This compares to 15% of those with ‘no religion’, 11% of Muslims, 9% of Christians, 8% of Hindus and 7% of Jewish people were long-term sick or disabled. Almost a third (31%) of economically inactive Muslims were ‘looking after the home or family’, compared to 17% of those with no religion, 18% Hindus and 8 per cent of Christians. More than two-thirds (69%) of economically inactive Christians were ‘retired’ compared to 33% of those with no religion and 34% Hindus. Just nine per cent of Christians who were not in the labour force were full-time students compared to around a third of Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists (29, 30 and 33% respectively).Economic Inactivity

Religion and economic inactivity, England and Wales  2011

Sick CarerOther RetiredStudent

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