Yemenis in the United Kingdom
|(70,000 - 80,000
0.13% of the UK's population)
|Regions with significant populations|
South Shields, Birmingham, Sheffield, London, Liverpool, Hull, Middlesbrough, Manchester
Cardiff, Swansea, Newport
|Yemeni Arabic, British English|
|Predominantly Islam; minority Judaism|
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.
The National Association of British Arabs categorises Yemen-born immigrants as Arabs. Based on census data, it indicates that they are the seventh largest population of British Arabs by country of birth.
Yemenis are present across the entire UK. Cities with large and notable Yemeni populations are:
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.
Yemeni seamen (Lascars) first arrived in the UK during the 19th century, with many settling in Cardiff among other areas to work in the docks and associated industries or on the railway. In the 1920s, an estimated 1,500 Yemenis lived in the city, making up half of its ethnic minority population. There are no reliable estimates of the present Yemeni-origin population of Cardiff.
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.
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. The Liverpool Yemeni/Arabic Centre was established by locals in 1997. Most Arabs in Liverpool are of Yemeni origin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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. Muhammad 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 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
- Naseem Hamed, boxer
- Norman Hassan, member of UB40
- Khalid Saeed Yafai, boxer
- Jade Thirlwall, member of Little Mix
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