British Iraqis

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British Iraqis
Total population
Iraqi-born residents
32,236 (2001 Census)
65,000 (2009 ONS estimate)
75,295 (2011 Censuses for England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland combined)
Other estimates
350,000–450,000 (2007 Iraqi embassy estimate)
Regions with significant populations
London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow
Mesopotamian Arabic and British English,
also Kurdish (Sorani and Kurmanji dialects), Turkish (Iraqi Turkmen/Turkoman dialects), and Neo-Aramaic (Chaldean, Ashuri, and Mandaic)
Islam (Shia and Sunni), Christianity (Syriac Christianity and Eastern Catholic), Mandaeism, Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Arab British, Iraqi Americans, Iraqi Australians British Assyrians, British Iranian, Lebanese British, British Jews, Turkish British

British Iraqis are people whose heritage is originated from Iraq who were born in or who reside in the United Kingdom.

According to a publication by the International Organization for Migration, "the three main ethnicities" within the British Iraqi community are Arabs, Iraqi Kurds and Iraqi Turkmen.[1] However, there are also smaller Christian and Yazidi communities.[2]


The UK has had a significant Iraqi population since the late 1940s.[3] Refugees including liberal and radical intellectuals dissatisfied with the monarchist regime moved to the UK at this time. Supporters of the monarchy subsequently fled to the UK after it was overthrown.[3] According to an International Organization for Migration mapping exercise, many settled Iraqi migrants in the UK moved for educational purposes or to seek a better life in the 1950s and 1960s. Some members of religious minorities were also forced to leave Iraq in the 1950s.[1] Other Iraqis migrated to the UK to seek political asylum during the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, with large number of Kurds and Shi'a Muslims in particular migrating in the 1970s and 1980s,[4] or as a result of the instability that followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[1]


Population size[edit]

The 2001 UK Census recorded 32,236 Iraqi-born residents,[5] and the Office for National Statistics estimates that, as of 2009, this figure had risen to around 65,000.[6] According to estimates by the Iraqi embassy, the Iraqi population in the UK is around 350,000–450,000.[7] At the time of the Iraqi parliamentary election in January 2005, the International Herald Tribune suggested that 250,000 Iraqi exiles were living in the UK, with an estimated 150,000 eligible to vote.[8]

The 2011 UK Census recorded 70,426 Iraqi-born residents in England, 2,548 in Wales [9],2,246 in Scotland [10]and 75 in Northern Ireland[11].

Population distribution[edit]

According to community leaders in March 2007, there are around 150,000 Iraqis in London, 35,000 in Birmingham, 18,000 in Manchester, 8,000 in Cardiff and 5,000 in Glasgow.[7]


According to the International Organization for Migration, the three largest ethnic groups in the British Iraqi community are Arabs, Iraqi Kurds and Iraqi Turkmen.[1] In particular, the Kurds form the most numerous of these ethnic groups.[1] Moreover, they also form the largest Kurdish community in the UK, exceeding the numbers from Turkey and Iran.[12] In the UK, about 65-70% of people originating from Iraq are Kurdish (and 70% of those from Turkey and 15% of those from Iran are Kurds).[13]

There are also sizeable numbers of Chaldeans, Assyrians[14] Armenians, Mandeans[15] and other ethnic groups, such as Iraqi Jews, Yezidi, Shabakis and Kawliya.[citation needed] According to the 2011 Census, Iraqi-born England and Wales residents also commonly give their ethnicity as 'any other ethnic group' (28%) or Asian (17%).[16]


According to the 2011 Census, Iraqi-born England and Wales residents most commonly give their ethnicity as Arab (39%), Any Other ethnic group (28%) and Asian (17%).[16]


Although the majority of Iraqis are Muslim (Shia and Sunni), there are also minorities including Chaldeans and Assyrian Christians, Jews,[1] and followers of Mandeanism,[15] Yazidism, Shabakism and Yarsan.

Notable individuals[edit]

Dame Zaha Hadid DBE RA, British-Iraqi architect.

Notable Iraqi names in Britain include:

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f International Organization for Migration (2007). "Iraq: Mapping exercise" (PDF). London: International Organization for Migration. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  2. ^ International Organization for Migration 2007, 22.
  3. ^ a b Change Institute (April 2009). "The Iraqi Muslim Community in England: Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities" (PDF). London: Communities and Local Government. p. 22. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  4. ^ Ansari, Humayun (2004). The Infidel Within: Muslims in Britain since 1800. London: C. Hurst & Co. pp. 162–163. ISBN 1-85065-685-1.
  5. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 17 June 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  6. ^ "Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom, by foreign country of birth (Table 1.3)". Office for National Statistics. September 2009. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  7. ^ a b International Organization for Migration 2007, 6.
  8. ^ Davey, Monica (19 January 2005). "Iraqis far from home sign up to vote". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  9. ^ "2011 Census: QS203EW Country of birth (detailed), local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2019
  10. ^ "Country of birth (detailed)" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 10 October 2019
  11. ^ 2011_Excel/2011/QS206NI.xls "Country of Birth – Full Detail: QS206NI". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.. Retrieved 10 October 2019
  12. ^ Communities and Local Government (2009), The Iraqi Muslim Community in England: Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities, Communities and Local Government, p. 35, ISBN 978-1-4098-1263-0, archived from the original on 2012-09-19
  13. ^ Begikhani, Nazand; Gill, Aisha; Hague, Gill; Ibraheem, Kawther (November 2010). "Final Report: Honour-based Violence (HBV) and Honour-based Killings in Iraqi Kurdistan and in the Kurdish Diaspora in the UK" (PDF). Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol and Roehampton University. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  14. ^ "Assyriac: Denied in Its Own Homeland, but Accepted in England".
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^ "Iraqi Community Association". Refugee Stories. Refugee Community History Project. Archived from the original on 12 September 2010. Retrieved 3 July 2010.
  18. ^ Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE[1], Profile, University of Surrey.
  19. ^ "INEED, RESPECT, TRUST - The memoir of a vision by Nemir Kirdar". Investcorp. Retrieved 27 February 2019. Nemir a British citizen, he was born in Iraq but left the country after the military coup of 1958.