The following information is taken from the "South
Asian Population Report for Great Britain" which was originally
produced for the TECS and the Minorities Working Group. It is based
on information gathered from the 1991 Census. Its aim is to
offer an insight into the South Asian community in Britain - a community
of 1.5 million (in 1991, the figure is closer to 1.8 million today),
with a disposable income exceeding £5 billion! The South Asian
community is not only the largest minority group in the UK, but it
is also the wealthiest, and they are rapidly becoming the most influential.
The 1991 SADP
Summary of Conclusions
Just a Flavour
The brief overview of the South Asian community
in Britain that follows is, we fully accept, limited in its scope
and content. The prime purpose of the report, however, is to give
Training and Enterprise Councils (TECS) and other interested parties
just a flavour of the achievements and economic characteristics
of, and the problems faced by, South Asians in the UK. When it comes
to the development of plans and strategies, the report highlights
a number of important and significant issues for TECS, which, we
suggest, must be taken into account if they (TECS and their partners)
are to meet the needs of all sections of their communities effectively.
Issues like the dangers of applying generic
descriptions such as Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi, to whole
groups of people, when, within each group, we find such a rich diversity
of religious, cultural and social backgrounds. The implications
for the design of products and services, for marketing and communications
and much more besides, are many and various.
Asian Population Report for Great Britain
Based on County
Monitors (England & Wales) and Regional Monitors (Scotland)
of the 1991 OPCS Census
Putting aside the problems of using broad definitions
for diverse groups of people, and turning instead to achievement,
the report shows that Indians appear to have been the most successful
among South Asians. More Indians, for example, can be found among
the professional and managerial classes, and, again, perhaps underpinning
this achievement, more Indians hold a degree or its equivalent.
In respect of educational attainment, Indians are as successful
as the White majority. Pakistanis and Bangladeshis on the other
hand have, as the report shows, fared less well within the UK educational
system. Small wonder, then, that they are less well represented
within the managerial and professional occupational groups.
Indians can be found among the professional classes
Why have Indians been so successful in British
society? The answers are complex and beyond the scope of this report.
However, two factors spring to mind. First, their success could
have much to do with the fact that a high proportion of Indians
now in the UK came from a middle class background. Second, their
academic/success-oriented culture may fit more easily into British
society than the rural/agrarian cultures of their Pakistani and
Despite their notable achievements, success
within the educational system for example, it is a sad fact that
Indians still suffer from a higher unemployment rate than the White
population. Why? Possibly this is but one of the numerous indicators
of racism - a problem faced by all too many South Asians.
Coming back to where we started, we trust that
this brief introductory report will help to give TECS and other
organisations a clearer, more highly focused picture of the South
Asian communities in Britain. To achieve our ultimate goal of developing
everyone's potential to the full, we must first seek to understand
the needs of all members of our multi-racial society.