1. Main facts and figures

  • according to the 2011 Census, people from the White ethnic group made up a lower share of those classed as ‘never worked and long-term unemployed’ (at 71.1%) than their share of the general population (86.0%)
  • people from the Asian and Black groups made up a higher share of the ‘never worked and long-term unemployed’ group (at 17.5% and 6.2% respectively) than their share of the general population (7.5% and 3.3% respectively)
  • 15.4% of people from the Indian ethnic group were in higher managerial and professional occupations (the highest socio-economic group), the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups

Data from the Annual Population Survey also shows that:

  • in every ethnic group, a higher percentage of men than women were in higher managerial and professional occupations
  • in nearly every ethnic group, a higher percentage of women than men were classed as ‘never worked or long-term unemployed’
Things you need to know

The main population figures on this page come from the 2011 Census, while the estimates of socio-economic classification by ethnicity and gender come from the Annual Population Survey (APS).

Unlike the Census, the APS does not identify students as a separate category, so the 2 sources should not be compared. This is particularly important where a large proportion of an ethnic group are students, such as the Chinese and Arab ethnic groups.

In the APS, students who are in employment are classified by the type of job they have; those not in employment are classified as ‘unemployed’ if they are looking for work, or as ‘never worked’ if they are not looking for work. People from a Mixed ethnic background are the most likely to be inactive because they are students, while White British people are the least likely.

The Census is planned and carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) every 10 years in England and Wales. The last Census was held in March 2011.

The Census is the only survey to give a detailed picture of the whole population of England and Wales. It makes it possible to compare different parts of the country as all households are asked the same questions within the same time period.

For the 2011 Census, around 25 million pre-addressed questionnaires were posted out to all households using a specially developed national address register. Households could return their questionnaire by post or complete it online. Census employees delivered questionnaires by hand to people living in residential care homes, hospitals, hostels, boarding schools, university halls of residence, mobile home parks, military bases and other communal establishments.

94% of households completed the 2011 Census. Of those, 97% answered the question about ethnicity.

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is a ‘sample survey’. It collects information from a random sample of the population to make generalisations (reach 'findings') about the total population.

The commentary for this data includes only reliable, or ‘statistically significant’, findings. Findings are statistically significant when we can be confident that they can be repeated, and are reflective of the total population rather than just the survey sample.

Specifically, the statistical tests used mean we can be confident that if we carried out the same survey on different random samples of the population, 19 times out of 20 we would get similar findings.

As with all surveys, the estimates from the APS are subject to a degree of uncertainty as they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, so it will be highest for ethnic minority groups.

Smaller numbers of survey respondents from ethnic minority backgrounds mean that estimates for all Other ethnic groups are more unreliable than estimates for White people (which includes White British and White ethnic minorities).

What the data measures

This data shows the population of England and Wales broken down by ethnicity and socio-economic status.

Socio-economic status is based on the type of work a person does. Socio-economic status can affect people’s lives in areas such as unemployment, housing and health. For example, people in higher managerial and professional occupations are more likely to own their own home, regardless of their ethnicity.

The National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) is used to identify socio-economic position based on occupation. A person’s NS-SEC category is worked out from a combination of:

  • their occupation title
  • whether they are employed or self-employed
  • whether or not they supervise other employees

The socio-economic classifications are:

  • higher managerial and professional occupations
  • lower managerial, administrative and professional occupations
  • intermediate occupations (clerical, sales, service)
  • small employers and own account workers
  • lower supervisory and technical occupations
  • semi-routine occupations
  • routine occupations
  • never worked or long-term unemployed
  • full-time students

In the Census, full-time students are recorded in the 'full-time student' category even if they also work.

In the APS, students who are in employment are classified by the type of job they have; those not in employment are classified as ‘unemployed’ if they are looking for work, or as ‘never worked’ if they are not looking for work.

The ethnic categories used in this data

The Census uses a standard set of ethnic groups to collect and classify ethnicity data.

The 2011 Census used 18 standardised ethnic categories:

Asian / Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background

Black / African / Caribbean / Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any other Black / African / Caribbean background

Mixed / Multiple ethnic groups:

  • Mixed White and Black Caribbean
  • Mixed White and Black African
  • Mixed White and Asian
  • Any other Mixed / Multiple ethnic background, please describe

White:

  • English / Welsh / Scottish / Northern Irish / British
  • Irish
  • Gypsy or Irish Traveller
  • Any other White background, please describe

Other ethnic group:

  • Arab
  • Any other ethnic group

The Annual Population Survey (APS) uses the same 18 specific ethnic groups used in the 2011 Census. However, the censuses in Scotland and Northern Ireland use different, broader categorisations. The ethnic categories listed here are therefore the greatest detail available for APS data at UK level:

  • Arab
  • Bangladeshi
  • Black
  • Chinese
  • Gypsy / Traveller / Irish Traveller
  • Indian
  • Mixed
  • Other Asian ethnic group
  • Pakistani
  • White
  • Other ethnic group

There are some differences in the ethnic categories the APS uses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Data has been harmonised for this analysis using the list above, in line with ONS Census guidance (PDF).

2. Socio-economic groups by ethnicity

Socio-economic groups by ethnicity
Socio-economic groups Asian Black Mixed White Other
% % % % %
Higher managerial/administrative/professional 7.5 2.1 1.3 88.2 1.0
Lower managerial/administrative/professional 4.9 2.7 1.3 90.5 0.6
Intermediate occupations 4.8 2.4 1.2 91.0 0.5
Small employers and own account workers 6.7 1.7 1.0 89.8 0.9
Lower supervisory and technical 4.7 2.1 1.1 91.5 0.7
Semi-routine occupations 5.7 3.0 1.3 89.4 0.6
Routine occupations 4.8 2.4 1.1 90.9 0.7
Never worked/long-term unemployed 17.5 6.2 2.5 71.1 2.7
Full-time students 15.1 6.5 3.7 72.3 2.3

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

Population data shows that:

  • as at the 2011 Census, the largest ethnic group was the White group (making up 86.0% of the population), followed by Asian (7.5%), Black (3.3%), Mixed ethnicity (2.2%) and the Other ethnic group (1.0%)

Data on socio-economic groups shows that:

  • out of all socio-economic groups, the largest percentage of White people were found in ‘lower supervisory and technical’ (91.5%), ‘intermediate occupations’ (91.0%) and ‘routine occupations’ (90.9%)

  • people from the Asian ethnic group made up 17.5% of the ‘never worked and long-term unemployed’ group and 15.1% of full-time students, around twice their share of the overall population; out of all socio-economic groups, the smallest percentages of people from the Asian ethnic group were found in ‘lower supervisory and technical’ (4.7%), and ‘routine and intermediate occupations’ (both at 4.8%)

  • people from the Black ethnic group made up 6.5% of full-time students and 6.2% of the ‘never worked and long-term unemployed’ group; out of all socio-economic groups, the smallest percentages of Black people were found in ‘small employers and own account workers’ (1.7%), and ‘managerial and professional occupations’ and ‘lower supervisory and technical’ groups (both at 2.1%)

3. Ethnic groups by socio-economic status

Percentage of people within each ethnic group in the different socio-economic groups
Ethnicity Higher managerial, administrative, professional Lower managerial, administrative, professional Intermediate occupations Small employers and own account workers Lower supervisory and technical Semi-routine occupations Routine occupations Never worked or long-term unemployed Full-time students
% % % % % % % % %
All 9.9 20.5 13.0 9.3 7.2 14.3 11.6 5.9 8.2
Asian 10.7 14.4 9.0 8.9 4.8 11.8 8.0 14.7 17.7
Bangladeshi 4.2 9.6 7.8 7.3 7.7 11.5 7.9 25.3 18.7
Chinese 12.8 13.4 6.4 9.8 6.2 7.4 4.1 6.7 33.3
Indian 15.4 17.7 11.1 8.2 4.2 12.2 8.7 9.3 13.2
Pakistani 6.6 9.9 7.9 11.4 3.7 11.3 8.5 24.4 16.3
Asian other 8.8 16.5 8.7 7.5 5.2 14.1 8.3 12.4 18.6
Black 6.9 18.3 10.7 5.3 5.0 14.5 9.5 12.2 17.8
Black African 7.5 17.0 8.2 4.7 3.9 13.9 7.9 13.5 23.4
Black Caribbean 6.2 20.5 14.0 6.0 6.4 15.7 11.8 9.4 10.0
Black other 5.9 17.3 11.1 5.7 5.0 13.5 9.2 15.0 17.2
Mixed 8.4 17.8 10.5 6.4 5.3 12.2 9.0 10.0 20.6
Mixed White/Asian 11.5 19.7 10.4 6.6 4.5 9.8 6.4 8.0 23.0
Mixed White/Black African 7.9 17.4 9.6 6.1 5.5 12.1 9.3 10.4 21.8
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 4.9 15.1 10.9 5.8 5.8 14.7 10.9 12.5 19.4
Mixed other 10.3 19.7 10.6 7.1 5.2 11.1 8.8 8.3 18.9
White 10.0 21.2 13.5 9.6 7.5 14.6 12.1 4.8 6.7
White British 9.8 21.3 13.9 9.5 7.6 14.8 11.9 4.7 6.6
White Irish 12.0 25.0 11.1 9.8 6.3 12.8 13.2 4.9 4.7
White Gypsy/Traveller 2.5 8.2 4.4 15.1 4.5 11.6 14.6 31.2 7.8
White other 12.4 19.2 8.6 11.3 6.8 12.3 14.5 5.3 9.6
Other 10.1 14.0 7.0 8.5 5.2 9.7 8.7 16.5 20.3
Arab 11.5 11.6 5.3 6.5 4.4 7.1 5.7 19.7 28.1
Any other 9.2 15.5 8.1 9.7 5.7 11.3 10.5 14.5 15.4

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • 15.4% of people from the Indian ethnic group were in ‘higher managerial and professional occupations’, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups – altogether, just under one-third (33.1%) of people from the Indian ethnic group were in the 2 ‘managerial and professional’ groups

  • out of all ethnic groups, people from the White Irish group were most likely to be in ‘lower managerial and professional occupations’ (at 25.0%), followed by White British (21.3%) and Black Caribbean (20.5%)

  • 31.2% of people from the White Gypsy/Roma or Traveller ethnic group were ‘long term unemployed or never worked’ – this was the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups, followed by the Bangladeshi (25.3%), Pakistani (24.4%) and Arab (19.7%) ethnic groups

  • the White Gypsy/Roma ethnic group also had the highest percentage of ‘small employers and own account workers’ out of all ethnic groups, at 15.1%

  • 33% of people from the Chinese ethnic group were full-time students, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups, followed by the Arab (28.1%) and Black African (23.4%) ethnic groups

4. Ethnic groups by socio-economic status of men

Percentage of men within each ethnic group in the different socio-economic groups
Ethnicity Higher managerial, administrative, professional Lower managerial, administrative, professional Intermediate occupations Small employers and own account workers Lower supervisory and technical Semi-routine occupations Routine occupations Never worked or long-term unemployed
% % % % % % % %
Asian
Bangladeshi 8 13 6 12 10 14 8 28
Chinese 19 12 4 7 5 5 2 47
Indian 27 18 7 8 5 9 6 20
Pakistani 11 13 8 19 5 10 7 27
Asian other 12 14 6 12 7 14 8 27
Black
Black African 10 15 7 7 6 13 10 33
Black Caribbean 8 15 4 8 8 12 11 33
Black other 18 20 withheld to protect confidentiality 8 withheld to protect confidentiality 13 5 29
Mixed
Mixed White/Asian 19 22 12 6 7 5 1 29
Mixed White/Black African 16 11 4 9 2 13 14 31
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 8 21 10 5 7 13 7 29
Mixed other 17 24 7 6 6 8 7 26
White
White British 15 20 6 9 8 8 9 25
White Irish 20 19 6 10 6 4 7 27
White other 15 16 4 13 9 10 18 16
Other
Arab 12 11 4 11 6 11 6 40
Any other 12 13 6 12 6 12 11 27

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data for men (in the table above) and women (in the table below) shows that:

  • in every ethnic group, a higher percentage of men than women were in ‘higher managerial and professional occupations’ (the highest socio-economic group); the biggest difference was in the Indian group, where 27% of men and 13% of women were in such occupations
  • in nearly every ethnic group where data was available, men were more likely than women to be in the ‘small employers and own account workers’, ‘lower supervisory and technical’ and ‘routine occupations’ groups

The data for men shows that:

  • men from the Indian ethnic group were most likely to be in ‘higher managerial and professional occupations’ compared with men from all other ethnic groups (at 27% of Indian men); and men from the Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean, and Mixed White and Black Caribbean groups were least likely to be (all at 8%)
  • 47% of men from the Bangladeshi ethnic group, and 40% from the Arab group, were classed as ‘never worked or long term unemployed’, the highest percentages for men out of all ethnic groups; men from the Other White group had the lowest percentage, at 16%
  • men from the Pakistani ethnic group were most likely to be ‘small employers and own account workers’ (at 19%), and Mixed White and Black Caribbean men were least likely to be (at 5%)

5. Ethnic groups by socio-economic status of women

Percentage of women within each ethnic group in the different socio-economic groups
Ethnicity Higher managerial, administrative, professional Lower managerial, administrative, professional Intermediate occupations Small employers and own account workers Lower supervisory and technical Semi-routine occupations Routine occupations Never worked or long-term unemployed
% % % % % % % %
Asian
Bangladeshi 4 11 15 3 2 11 3 51
Chinese 11 16 9 3 3 8 3 47
Indian 13 22 14 3 3 10 4 31
Pakistani 5 13 12 3 2 11 4 50
Asian other 7 19 11 5 3 14 7 35
Black
Black African 6 19 9 3 2 16 8 36
Black Caribbean 6 21 17 3 3 15 6 30
Black other 8 26 14 withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality 14 4 33
Mixed
Mixed White/Asian 12 21 12 4 withheld to protect confidentiality 12 withheld to protect confidentiality 34
Mixed White/Black African 3 25 10 withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality 12 8 33
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 5 20 19 3 1 16 6 30
Mixed other 11 23 13 6 2 8 8 28
White
White British 7 20 15 5 3 13 6 32
White Irish 9 27 10 3 2 7 4 38
White other 10 20 11 8 5 13 13 21
Other
Arab 8 10 9 withheld to protect confidentiality withheld to protect confidentiality 7 4 60
Any other 8 19 10 6 2 12 8 37

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data for men and women shows that:

  • in nearly every ethnic group, a higher percentage of women than men were in the ‘never worked or long-term unemployed’ socio-economic group; the biggest difference was in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups, where women were nearly twice as likely as men to be in that socio-economic group
  • in nearly every ethnic group where data was available, women were more likely than men to be in ‘intermediate occupations’

The data for women shows that:

  • women from the Indian ethnic group were most likely to be in ‘higher managerial and professional occupations’ compared with women from all other ethnic groups (at 13% of Indian women); and women from the Mixed White and Black African group were least likely to be (at 3%)
  • 60% of women from the Arab ethnic group, and 51% from the Bangladeshi group, were classed as ‘never worked or long term unemployed’, the highest percentages for women out of all ethnic groups; women from the Other White group had the lowest percentage, at 21%
  • women from the White Irish ethnic group were most likely to be in ‘lower managerial and professional occupations’ (at 27%), and women from the Arab ethnic group were least likely to be (at 10%)

6. Methodology

For the 2011 Census, all households in England and Wales received a questionnaire through the post from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), along with an information leaflet and a pre-paid envelope for return by post.

Households in Wales received both English language and Welsh language questionnaires and information leaflets.

Householders could complete their questionnaire either:

  • on paper, and return it by post
  • online – each paper questionnaire had a unique internet access code

Responses were uploaded every day onto the questionnaire tracking system throughout the duration of the Census. This meant that households could be contacted if their questionnaire had not been submitted.

Communal establishments like care homes, and special groups (such as travellers), had their questionnaires hand delivered, collected and uploaded by Census employees. Individuals within communal establishments could also complete their questionnaire online.

There were 56 questions in the 2011 Census questionnaire:

  • 14 questions were about the household and its accommodation
  • 42 questions were for each member of the household

Topics included work, health, national identity, passports, ethnicity, education, second homes, language, religion and marital status.

There was an extra question about the Welsh language for households in Wales.

A census is designed to cover the whole population, but some people or households are inevitably left out by accident. A good census design will recognise this and take account of the error with quality controls.

ONS developed a ‘coverage assessment and adjustment methodology’ which estimates and adjusts Census data for the number of people and households not counted or counted incorrectly.

All the 2011 Census population estimates have been subject to quality assurance using demographic analysis, survey data, qualitative information and administrative data. This ensures that the figures are plausible and that users of Census data can have confidence in the quality and accuracy of the information.

Relative confidence intervals for the population by ethnicity down to local authority level can be found in the ONS archive.

The Annual Population Survey is a continuous household survey. Most people are interviewed in person first, and later by telephone. The sample is formed partly from waves 1 and 5 of the Labour Force Survey (in which selected addresses are contacted every 3 months) and partly from boost cases that are in the sample for 4 waves, spread one year apart.

Participants are randomly selected from the Royal Mail Postcode address File (PAF). The NHS communal accommodation list is also used and (in the case of remote parts of Scotland) telephone directories. All eligible individuals found at the selected address may be interviewed. Individuals are included in the dataset for this analysis if they respond themselves or if a family member responds on their behalf. The complex survey design has been taken into account when calculating confidence intervals.

Weighting:

The achieved APS sample of approximately 275,000 undergoes weighting which is structured at local authority level and uses age and sex dimensions.

Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.

For example, a survey which contains 25% females and 75% males will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know is around 50% male and 50% female.

Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.

Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.

The Office for National Statistics population estimates and projections are used as the basis for this weighting process.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

The ONS uses a number of ways to protect the confidentiality of individuals and households, including:

  • record swapping, where small numbers of records are swapped between geographical areas
  • restricting the amount of detail shown in published data, particularly at low level geographies like local authorities

Rounding

All percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Census user guide.

2011 UK Censuses.

Annual Population Survey QMI.

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Every 10 years

Purpose of data source

The government uses Census data to develop policies, plan and run public services, and allocate funding. The Census also helps illustrate differences between various groups of the population.

Secondary source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is the largest ongoing household survey in the UK and covers a range of topics, including:

  • personal characteristics
  • labour market status
  • work characteristics
  • education
  • health

The purpose of the APS is to provide information on important social and socio-economic variables at local levels, such as labour market estimates.

The published statistics also allow government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between censuses.

8. Download the data

Population of England and Wales by ethnicity and socio-economic group - Spreadsheet (csv) 59 KB

This file contains: Measure, Ethnicity, NS-SEC, Geography, Sex, Value, Value_type, Source, Time period, Sample size