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Re-categorising ethnicity

The proliferation of ethnicity codes arises because of the 'Black-Other' and 'Any other ethnic group' options on the census form, for which respondents can enter their own definition of their ethnic category. These written descriptions, together with multiple ticking of boxes on the form, led to the derivation of a further 28 categories on top of the 7 main categories specified on the form. The ETHNIC9 codes above 70 represent these 'Other' categories.

We will need to decide what to do with these groups in terms of our study. For example, do we move 'Black-Other / Caribbean Island' into the Black-Caribbean group, or is it better to keep the Black-Other group together? Ultimately, this is a matter for the researcher to decide - there is no "right answer". The system of re-categorisation used in published census reports is the 1991 ethnicity output classification. (Note, however, that in the rest of this module we will be using just the main ETHNIC9 categories.)

When deciding whether and how to re-categorise, consider the number of people in each of these groups. If a subgroup contains very few people, it may not be worth worrying about. The table below shows the number of people in the census, and in the LS, for each category of ETHNIC9. You can see that certain of the groups we discussed on the previous page are in fact very small and so recoding or excluding them would make little difference to most analyses.

ETHNIC9 categoryNumber in censusNumber in LS
Black Caribbean4933395374
Black African2081102410
Black - Other (total)2190912291
   Black - British58106558
   Black - Caribbean Island309336
   Black - North African647160
   Black - Other African92711
   Black - East African Asian127115
   Black - Indian Subcontinent400547
   Black - Other Asian24854319
   Black - Other44940456
   Black - Black/White24687257
   Black - Asian/White69<10
   Black - Other Mixed50668532
Other - Other (total)5207095876
   British, Ethnic Group indicated16170150
   British, no Ethnic Group indicated13971134
   Caribbean Island353243
   North African58720653
   Other African332543
   East African Asian611069
   Indian Subcontinent41333454
   Other Asian1199611448
   Other European22148265
   Other answers41725454
   Mixed White377643
   Other mixed61393635

Note: Cell counts less than 10 have been suppressed. Data from LS Update 10, Appendix A.