There is a long history of recording ethnicity in the UK, with ethnicity questions first introduced into the Census in 1991 (White, 2012, Ballard, 1996). Support for this was not unanimous; some argued recording ethnicity would in fact increase discrimination (Ballard, 1996). Debates followed about how to capture the multi-faceted nature of ethnicity and since 1991, the number of ethnic group categories used has increased from 9 to 18 (White, 2012). Many social surveys also collect information about ethnicity. Some like the UK Household Longitudinal Study take a multi-characteristic approach (Connolly, et al. 2016), collecting information on ethnic group, country of birth, parents and grandparents country of birth, national identity and childhood language as well as experiences of discrimination (University of Essex, 2021). Whilst much progress has been made, the issue of small sample sizes among minority groups remains unresolved (Kapadia, 2021).
- Ballard, Roger (1996). “Negotiating race and ethnicity: Exploring the implications of the 1991 census” (PDF). Patterns of Prejudice. 30 (3): 3–33. DOI:10.1080/0031322X.1996.9970192. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
- Connolly, R., Gayle, V. and Lambert, P.S. (2016) Ethnicity and ethnic group measures in social survey research, Methodological Innovations, 9: 1–10. DOI: 10.1177/2059799116642885
- Kapadia, D. (2021) Represented yet excluded: How ethnic minority people are counted in national surveys. https://blog.ukdataservice.ac.uk/represented-ethnic-minority-people/
- University of Essex, Institute for Social and Economic Research. (2021). Understanding Society: Waves 1-10, 2009-2019 and Harmonised BHPS: Waves 1-18, 1991-2009. [data collection]. 13th Edition. UK Data Service. SN: 6614, DOI: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-6614-14
- White, E. (2012) Ethnicity and National Identity in England and Wales: 2011 Ethnicity and National Identity in England and Wales - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)