Last updated 8 August 2023 - see all updates
1. Main facts and figures
- in the New Year Honours List 2023, 83.6% of honours recipients were white (out of those whose ethnicity was known)
- 7.6% of honours recipients were Asian, 6.1% were black, 2.3% had mixed ethnicity, and 0.4% were from the ‘other’ ethnic group
- white people received 73.3% of higher honours, including damehoods and knighthoods
- out of all types of honour, higher honours had the highest percentage of recipients from the Asian, black, mixed and ‘other’ ethnic groups combined (26.7%), followed by MBEs (19.4%)
- between June 2014 and January 2023, the percentage of honours recipients from ethnic minorities (not including white minorities) went up from 6.5% to 16.4%
2. Things you need to know
What the data measures
The data measures the ethnicity of people who receive one of the following honours in the New Year and Birthday Honours lists:
- higher honours, including damehoods and knighthoods
- CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
- OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire)
- MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire)
- BEM (British Empire Medal)
Read more about the honours system.
Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal point, but all differences have been worked out using unrounded data (available in the data file).
Not included in the data
The data does not include:
- people who did not accept their honour
- people whose ethnicity was not known
The ethnic groups used in the data
Data is shown for these 5 aggregated ethnic groups:
This means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole. This is because the number of honours recipients is too small to make any reliable conclusions about any of the 18 ethnic groups used in the 2011 Census. See Download the data for data on the 18 ethnic groups.
For the data shown over time, results are shown for 2 aggregated ethnic groups:
- white – white ethnic groups, including white British and white ethnic minorities
- other ethnic groups – all other ethnic groups combined (excluding white minorities)
Ethnicity was not known for 5.4% of honours recipients in January 2023.
The number of honours recipients is small and varies from year to year. Find out how group size affects the reliability of data.
In the data file
See Download the data for:
- the number of recipients whose ethnicity was not known between June 2014 and January 2023
- unrounded data for the 18 ethnic groups used in the 2011 Census
3. By ethnicity and type of honour
|Ethnicity||All %||All Number||Higher %||Higher Number||CBE %||CBE Number||OBE %||OBE Number||MBE %||MBE Number||BEM %||BEM Number|
4. By ethnicity and type of honour over time
|White||Other Ethnic Groups (Excluding White Minorities)|
|Time period||White Higher||White CBE||White OBE||White MBE||White BEM||Other Ethnic Groups (Excluding White Minorities) Higher||Other Ethnic Groups (Excluding White Minorities) CBE||Other Ethnic Groups (Excluding White Minorities) OBE||Other Ethnic Groups (Excluding White Minorities) MBE||Other Ethnic Groups (Excluding White Minorities) BEM|
5. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Twice a year
Purpose of data source
The collection of this data is for statistical purposes and aids the Honours and Appointments Secretariat in ensuring equality of representation in the honours system.
6. Download the data
This file contains the following: time, type of honour, ethnicity, Numerator and value (%)