I noted in November 2000 that, in socioeconomic terms,
Muslims can find little fault with America. They boast among the highest rates of education of any group in the country—a whopping 52 percent appear to hold graduate degrees—and this translates into a pattern of prestigious and remunerative employment. Immigrant Muslims tend to concentrate in the professions (especially medicine and engineering) or in entrepreneurship, and their income appears to be higher than the U.S. national average; this year, median household income was said to be $69,000. Muslim magazines are replete with advertisements for luxurious mansions, stately cars, and fine jewelry, and more than a few Muslims have lived out the classic immigrant success story of rags to riches. … Muslim Americans proudly say that theirs is "the richest Muslim society on earth," and they are right.
But that's the United States; in Europe, Muslims are doing less well. Here is a report based on the 2001 census issued by Britain's Office for National Statistics, as reported by London's Guardian:
It found Muslims had the highest rate of unemployment, the poorest health, the most disability and fewest educational qualifications. In most respects Muslim women fared worse than Muslim men. Compared with people from other religious groups, Muslims lived in the biggest households and were the least likely to own their own homes. They were five times more likely to marry by the age of 24 than the British average. …
In 2003/4 Muslims had the highest unemployment rate. Among men it was 14%, compared with 4% among Christians. For women it was 15%, almost four times the rate among Christians. Muslims aged 16 to 24 had the highest unemployment rates of all at 22%, compared with an average for Christians of 11%. Muslim men and women were more likely than other groups to be economically inactive: not available for work or not seeking it. More than two-thirds (68%) of Muslim women of working age were economically inactive, compared with 25% of Christians and no more than a third of women in other religious groups. …
The health of the Muslim population was particularly poor. Among men, 13% said they were in "not good" health, about double the percentage for Christians and Jews. Among women the figure was 16%. After adjusting for the different ages of the religious groups, Muslims also had the highest rates of disability: 24% for women and 21% for men.
Muslims had the lowest level of educational qualifications, with 31% of men of working age having none, compared with 23% of Sikhs and 15% of Christians. But Sikhs were as likely as Christians to have degrees (16% in each group in 2003/4.) One in 20 Hindu men were doctors, compared with one in 200 Christian or Sikh men. Muslim men were six times more likely than Christians to be taxi drivers. Muslim and Sikh men were least likely to be working in managerial or professional occupations.
Comment: This discrepancy has vast implications for the future of Islam and Muslims in the two continents (with Canada, as usual, somewhere between). Among other things, it suggests that the creative thinking will take place in North American, not Europe. (October 12, 2004)