The term British Asian usually refers to a racially ethnic group of people of south Asian descent who currently live in Britain. Typically the vast majority are the descendants of immigrant who came to the UK from the Indian sub continent. Virtually all can trace their roots back to Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. However there are smaller Asian ethnic groups from countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka. The term British Asian does not include the Diaspora of people from the Far East, like Vietnam or China.

Most of the forefathers of these immigrants arrived from the 1950’s onwards and then that immigration source stopped in the early 1970’s. Although in the 1970’s thousands of Asian people who were living in Uganda arrived in the UK after being expelled by Idi Amin. The last census taken in the UK in 2001 revealed that 3.9 per cent of the population were ethnically South Asian. Most tend to live in the big cities of England, like Birmingham, London and Manchester, there are also significant number in the northern mills towns like Bradford.

Contrary to popular belief Asian people have not just arrived n the UK in the last 60 odd years, in fact there are records of small communities of Asian people from the Indian sub continent living in Britain since the seventeenth Century.

On the subject of religion the Asian community is diverse with most British Asians being either Muslim, Hindu or Sikhs. People of Pakistani descent tend to be almost exclusively Muslim. Due to the religious freedom that exists in Britain, a large number of mosques have been built for Muslims, temples for Hindus and also Gurdwara’s for people of the Sikh faith. There are many languages that people from the sub continent speak the main languages are Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujerati, Pashto and Tamil etc.

Today it’s a fact that most of the young generation of British Asians who were born in the UK cannot speak their ‘mother tongue’ fluently, as they tend to speak English socially, at work and increasingly at home as well.

Ethnically the majority of British Asians come from specific locations in their home countries. For example over 90% of the people of Bangladeshis descent living in the UK come from the Sylhet district of Bangladesh. Whereas the majority of people of Pakistan descent tend to come from the Mirpur district of Pakistan.

In the present day the descendants of these immigrants are third and fourth generation British Asian people living in Great Britain. Most have fully integrated into mainstream society, in employment many have made a useful contribution to workplace diversity. There is a small representation of British Asians in business and also local government politics as well as national politics as well as within the major political parties.


For more information about the ethnic minority population of the UK, click on the following links:

Diversity Jobs Board

Disability Jobs Board

Other related links:

Urdu language

Hindi language