Australian Muslims: Doing Well?

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 21:30 Bruce Gates

In 1996 there were 201,000 Muslims in Australian [1]. Today there are 399,000[2]. In 2030 there will be 714,000 [2]. Over the period 1996-2030 the Muslim population of Australia will have more than tripled for an annual growth rate of 3.8%. No other major religion has as high a growth rate.

Why is the Muslim component of Australia’s population growing so fast? There is a very high birthrate amongst Muslim women. Many of our migrants are Muslims. Most of the refugees and asylum seekers arriving on our shores are Muslims.

It is only fair to ask the question,”With so many Muslims in Australia, are they doing well?” The University of Melbourne, Griffith University and the University of Western Sydney have established the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies [NCEIS]. A recent paper by Professor Riaz Hassan [3] compared socio economic achievement levels of Muslims and non-Muslims using data from the 2006 Australian Census of population.

More non-Muslims have completed post secondary education than Muslims which leads to better job opportunities and higher wages.

Twice as many non-Muslim families [33%] live in fully paid for homes as Muslim families [15%]. Both groups have the same proportion of families paying off homes[33%]. A high proportion of Muslims are renters [44%] and many of these renters are in public housing [9%]. The comparable ratios for other Aussies are 24% and 4%.
The low level of fully owned homes and the high proportion of renters would result in relatively low levels of family financial assets for Muslims.

One third of Muslim households earn less than $650 per week compared with 28% of non-Muslims. Enjoying earnings of more than $1200 per week are 27% of Muslim households compared with 34% for non-Muslims.

Household poverty is defined as weekly earnings of $650 or less. Twice as many Muslim children [40%] live in poverty compared with non-Muslims [19%]




For each of the above age groups Moslem unemployment is approximately double the non-Muslim level

Are Australian Muslims doing well? You decide.


[1] 1996 Australian Census
[2] Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life 2011
[3]”Social and Economic Conditions of Australian Muslims: Implications for Social Inclusion”


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 February 2011 21:50