Who are the ‘Mixed’ ethnic group?

Who are the 'Mixed' ethnic group? Ben Bradford May 2006

Office for National Statistics [United Kingdom]
May 2006


The last fifty years have seen the emergence of some new, predominantly British-born, ethnic minorities. These are the children of inter-ethnic partnerships, primarily partnerships between people from the White British group and people from ethnic minority groups. They include the children of White and Black Caribbean parents, White and Asian parents and White and Black African parents, as well as a multitude of other Mixed identities.

The majority of people who have a Mixed ethnic identity have a White parent and were born in Britain. One of the key issues of interest about the Mixed ethnic groups concerns the extent to which they are more similar to the White group, or to the ethnic minority groups, from which they are drawn. For example, whether young people from the Mixed White and Black Caribbean group experience the relatively low unemployment of their White peers, or the much higher unemployment of their Black Caribbean peers.

This article profiles the four Mixed ethnic groups identified in the 2001 Census. These groups are necessarily abstractions from the multitude of actual Mixed ethnicities which exist in Britain today. The three specific groups identified in the Census—Mixed White and Black Caribbean, Mixed White and Black African and Mixed White and Asian—were designed to allow the greatest number of people possible to easily identify themselves. Those who did not identify with one of these Mixed ethnicities could use a write-in space to provide their own description of their ethnicity.

We look at the size of the groups, their demographic and socio-economic characteristics and we consider how they compare with other ethnic groups. This article is intended to complement similar analysis of the ‘Other’ ethnic groups already published by ONS. Together this work provides an overview of the characteristics of these less well known ethnicities.

Table of contents

Executive Summary
1. The introduction of Mixed ethnic group categories on the Census
2. Who are the Mixed ethnic groups?
3. The size of the Mixed ethnic populations in England and Wales
4. Age profile of the Mixed ethnic groups
5. Country of Birth
6. Religion
7. Region of residence
8. Socio-economic occupational class
9. Economic Activity
10. Unemployment
11. Educational Attainment

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