Yemenis in the United Kingdom

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Yemenis in the United Kingdom
Total population
70,000 - 80,000[1]
0.13% of the UK's population
Regions with significant populations
South Shields, Birmingham, Sheffield, London, Liverpool, Hull, Middlesbrough, Manchester
Cardiff, Swansea, Newport
British English, Arabic
Predominantly Muslim, some Jewish adherents

Yemenis in the United Kingdom include citizens and non-citizen immigrants in the United Kingdom of Yemeni ancestry, as well as their descendants. Yemenis have been present in the UK since the 1860s, and are probably the longest-established Muslim group in the country, although currently much smaller than some other British Muslim groups.[1]


The 2001 UK Census recorded 12,508 Yemeni born people in the UK,[1][2] and by most recent estimates (including British born people of Yemeni descent), the community numbers around 70,000 to 80,000 people.[1]

As early as 1860 2 Glynrhondda Street in Cardiff, Wales, was used as a mosque by Yemeni sailors who travelled between Aden and the Cardiff Docks. It is commonly accepted as the first Muslim mosque in the United Kingdom.[1]


Uk outline map.png
Main Yemeni communities in the UK

Yemenis are present across the entire UK. Cities with large and notable Yemeni populations are:

  • Birmingham
    The first immigrants arrived in the early 20th Century, because they were offered work in the local metal-forming trades. However, as industry declined, unemployment rose in the city, and many Yemenis returned home. Despite this, Yemenis still have a strong presence in the city and have diversified by improving educational qualifications and setting up businesses. There are an estimated 10,000 Yemenis in Birmingham, about 1% of the city's population.[3][4]
  • Cardiff
    Cardiff was one of the first places in the UK to see the arrival of Yemeni seamen. In the 1920s an estimated 1,500 Yemenis lived in Cardiff (they made up half of Cardiff's entire ethnic minority population). There are no reliable estimates of the present Yemeni-origin population of Cardiff.[5]
  • Hull
    Kingston upon Hull is also another port which saw the city's ethnic makeup drastically change in the early 20th century, although not to such an extent as in South Shields, Liverpool and the Southern Welsh Coast.
  • Liverpool
    The first Yemenis arrived in Liverpool in the early 1900s, seamen and their families. The present Yemeni-origin population of Liverpool is not known, but an estimated 400 Yemeni-owned newsagents are in the city.[6] The Liverpool Yemeni/Arabic Centre was established by locals in 1997. Most Arabs in Liverpool are of Yemeni origin.[7]
  • London
    Despite being the largest city in the UK and the home of the country's Yemeni embassy, it is unknown how many Yemenis live in London. Its Yemeni community is not as notable as other British locations. Many Jews of Yemenite descent live in NW London and Stamford Hill
  • Manchester
    Many Yemenis migrated to Manchester around the early 20th century, largely attracted to the city's growing industrial base. They are located across the whole city, but one of the most noted communities is Salford, where today at least 500 people are of Yemeni origin.[8]
  • Middlesbrough
    Middlesbrough is another industrial town that witnessed a significant number of Yemeni arrivals. The present Yemeni population is not known, but it is considerably smaller than the Yemeni population of the mid 1900s. This is due to decreasing industry, with many Yemenis either returning to Yemen or migrating to the Arab states of the Persian Gulf or the United States.[9]
  • Newport
    The Welsh port is home to a fairly large Yemeni community that consists of several generations. Many Yemenis came to the city to seek a better life.[9]
  • Sheffield
    One of the UK's largest Yemeni communities is located in Sheffield, one of the industrial cities that attracted immigrants to work in the many factories that were experiencing a stage of prosperity in the mid 1900s. Yemenis number between 3,500 and 9,000 in Sheffield.[10][10]
  • South Shields
    Although not the largest Yemeni community in the UK, South Shields is the most notable. A wave of Yemeni sailors came to the UK in the early 20th century, which makes it one of the newest communities. Despite this, the period between now and then has seen drastic change in the town. Even Muhammed Ali visited the local Yemeni Mosque and School in 1977. Today an estimated 1,000 - 3,000 people of Yemeni origin reside in the city (around 2% of the local population). For more information see South Shields' Yemeni community.
  • Swansea
    Swansea is one of three Welsh, and seven British ports that saw a large number of Yemeni seamen arrive for work and better living prospects throughout the 20th century.

Notable Yemenis in the United Kingdom[edit]

Boxer Khalid Saeed Yafai is the first British person to win the Under 17's World Championships

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "History of Islam in the United Kingdom". BBC. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  2. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  3. ^ "Archives and Heritage Service". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  4. ^ "Ramadhan and the Yemeni community in Birmingham, UK". Yemeni Times. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  5. ^ "Cardiff Yemeni Community Association". Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  6. ^ "Tribute to newsagent gunned down in Huyton". The Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  7. ^ "Liverpool Yemeni/ Arabic Centre". Liverpool Arabic Centre. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  8. ^ "Salford's Yemeni community". Partners IN Salford. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  9. ^ a b "The Yemeni community in the UK". Mohammad Al Masyabi. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  10. ^ a b "Yemenis in spotlight". Sheffield Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 

External links[edit]