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Young, Muslim and Poor: The Persistent Impacts of the Pandemic on Mental Health in the UK

Journal Article
Muslims in the UK experienced a much larger decline in mental health than the rest of the population during the pandemic and this decline persisted even as mental health in the rest of the population bounced back to pre-pandemic levels. The authors use panel data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) to decompose the mental health gap between Muslims and non-Muslims into those attributable to differences between the characteristics of the two groups and find that these differences - particularly Muslims being younger and being substantially overrepresented at the bottom of the income distribution - explain a substantial proportion of this gap. However, over a third of the Muslim-non-Muslim mental health gap remains unexplained by these factors and is driven by the experiences of Muslims who are neither young nor poor suggesting that this may be a result of discrimination experienced by the community. The authors conclude that being Muslim, being young, and being poor all independently contributed to experiencing a mental health gap and to the persistence of this gap.
Faculty

Professor of Economics