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Ethnic group

  • Mnemonic reference


  • Applicability


  • Type

    Primary variable


Ethnic group classifies people according to their own perceived ethnic group and cultural background.


The Ethnicity question has 6 broad categories from which the user would select one and then pick a specific ethnicity within that category, or fill in the text box underneath whilst ticking the “other” box. Responses are assigned codes based on the ethnicity classification codes.

The categories in this classification may have been combined within the tables based on the ETHNICID_S hierarchy.

Source question or variables

15: What is your ethnic group?

Choose ONE selection from A to F, then tick ONE box which best describes your ethnic group of background.

A White

  • Scottish
  • Other British
  • Irish
  • Gypsy / Traveller
  • Polish
  • Other white ethnic group, please write in

B Mixed or multiple ethnic groups

  • Any mixed or multiple ethnic groups, please write in

C Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British

  • Pakistani, Pakistani Scottish or Pakistani British
  • Indian, Indian Scottish or Indian British
  • Bangladeshi, Bangladeshi Scottish or Bangladeshi British
  • Chinese, Chinese Scottish or Chinese British
  • Other, please write in

D African

  • African, African Scottish or African British
  • Other, please write in

E Caribbean or Black

  • Caribbean, Caribbean Scottish or Caribbean British
  • Black, Black Scottish or Black British
  • Other, please write in

F Other ethnic group

  • Arab, Arab Scottish or Arab British
  • Other, please write in

Reason for asking

This information helps public bodies meet statutory obligations relating to race equality. It is also used for resource allocation and to develop and monitor policy on improving the life-chances for disadvantaged groups, including many ethnic minority groups.

The statistics provide a better understanding of communities and are used for the government-wide race equality and community cohesion strategy, which seeks to improve race equality outcomes in areas such as housing, education, health & Criminal Justice for all groups across society.

Additionally, the Ministry of Defence uses the information to provide a benchmark against which to measure ethnic minority recruitment and representation in the armed forces.

England and Wales (2011) and Scotland (2001) comparison

England and Wales (2011)

What is your ethnic group?

Choose ONE section from A to E, then tick ONE box to best describe your ethnic group or background.

A White

  • English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British
  • Irish
  • Gypsy or Irish Traveller
  • Any other White backgroundp, write in

B Mixed/multiple ethnic groups

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Any other Mixes/multiple ethnic background, write in

C Asian/Asian British

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese,
  • Any other Asian background, write in

D Black/African/Caribbean/Black British

  • African
  • Carribbean
  • Any other Black/African/Caribbean background, write in

E Other ethnic group

  • Arab
  • Any other ethnic group, write in     

Scotland (2001)

What is your ethnic group?

Choose ONE section from A to E, then the appropriate box to indicate your cultural background.

A White

  • Scottish
  • Other British
  • Irish
  • Any other White background, please write in

B Mixed 

  • Any mixed background, please write in

C Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background, please write in

D Black, Black Scottish or Black British

  • Caribbean
  • African
  • Any other Black background, please write in

E Other ethnic group

  • Any other background, please write in

Changes to the question:

  • Colour terms “White” and “Black” are retained, because testing showed that an ethnic classification based only on geography can cause confusion
  • Under the “White” category, new tick boxes are provided for “English”, “Welsh”, “Northern Irish”, “British”, “Gypsy/Traveller” and “Polish”
  • The “Mixed” category is re-termed “Mixed or Multiple Ethnic Groups”
  • The “Black, Black Scottish or Black British” category is re-termed “African, Caribbean or Black”. A new tick box is added for “Black, Black Scottish or Black British” to give respondents the option to identify in this way if they wish. People who do not wish to identify as “Black” will not be required to do so and will be able to choose an “African, African Scottish or African British” or “Caribbean, Caribbean Scottish or Caribbean British” tick box or to write-in their response
  • Tick boxes under the “Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British” and “African, Caribbean or Black” category are re-worded to add references to “Scottish” and “British” e.g. “Indian, Indian Scottish or Indian British”, “African, African Scottish or African British”
  • A tick box is added in the “Other Ethnic Group” category for people who are “Arab”
  • Mnemonic reference


  • Applicability

    All people


This question records each person's perceived ethnic group and cultural background. Although the questions differ between the different parts of the UK, the same detailed codes are used across the UK to code the write-in responses. In standard output the most detailed classification used is 16 groups (England and Wales), 14 groups (Scotland) and 12 groups (Northern Ireland). The full list of categories will be available for commissioned output.


Total number of categories 126

Code Name
Scotland (ETHGRPS)
01 White Scottish
02 Other White British
03 White Irish
04 Other White
05 Mixed or multiple ethnic group
06 Indian
07 Pakistani
08 Bangladeshi
09 Other South Asian
10 Caribbean
11 African
12 Black Scottish or Other Black
13 Chinese
14 Other Ethnic Group
England and Wales (ETHGRPEW)
01 White British
02 White Irish
03 Other White
04 White and Black Caribbean
05 White and Black African
06 White and Asian
07 Other Mixed
08 Indian
09 Pakistani
10 Bangladeshi
11 Other Asian
12 Black Caribbean
13 Black African
14 Other Black
15 Chinese
​16 Other Ethnic Group
Northern Ireland (ETHGRPNI)
01 White
02 Irish Traveller
03 Mixed
04 Indian
05 Pakistani
06 Bangladeshi
07 Black Caribbean
08 Black African
09 Other Black
10 Chinese
11 Other Ethnic Group
12 Other Asian
Detailed categories (ETHNIC1)
01 British, Mixed British
02 Irish
03 English
04 Scottish
05 Welsh
06 Cornish
07 Cypriot
08 Greek
09 Greek Cypriot
10 Turkish
11 Turkish Cypriot
12 Italian
13 Irish Traveller
14 Traveller
15 Gypsy/Romany
16 Polish
17 Commonwealth of (Russian) Independent States
18 Kosovan
19 Albanian
​20 Baltic States (Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian)
21 White and Black Caribbean
​22 White and Black African
23 White and Asian
24 Black and Asian
25 Black and Chinese
26 Black and White
27 Chinese and White
28 Asian and Chinese
29, 52 - 56, 58, 67, 68, 80, 91 - 99 Other Mixed, Mixed unspecified
30 Latin American
31 Bosnian
32 Croatian
33 Serbian
34 Other republics which made up the former Yugoslavia
35 South and Central American
36 Other Mixed White
37 Other White European, European Mixed
38 Northern Irish
39 Other White, White unspecified
40 Mixed: Irish and Other white
41 Indian or British Indian
42 Pakistani or British Pakistani
43 Bangladeshi or British Bangladeshi
44 Mixed Asian
45 Punjabi
46 Kashmiri
47 East African Asian
48 Sri Lankan
49 Tamil
50 Sinhalese
51 British Asian
57 Caribbean Asian
59 Other Asian, Asian unspecified
60 Ulster Scots
61 Caribbean
62 African
63 Somali
64 Mixed Black (Detail
65 Nigerian
66 Black British
69 Other Black, Black unspecified
71 Buddhist
72 Hindu
73 Jewish
74 Muslim
75 Sikh
76 Arab
77 Kurdish
78 Moroccan
79 Israeli
81 Chinese
82 North African
83 Other Middle Eastern (excluding Israeli, Iranian and 'Arab')
84 Vietnamese
85 Japanese
86 Filipino
87 Malaysian
88 Iranian
89 Any other group
90 Multi-ethnic islands: Mauritian, Seychellois, Maldivian, St Helena