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Data collection and publication - ethnic group: guidance

Guidance for public bodies on the collection of data on ethnic group.


Annex 1: comparing 2011 ethnicity data with data collected using the 2001 classification

This annex was part of the previous guidance note on collecting data on ethnicity. It has been included here to provide context on how the categories have changed over time.

Due to the changes in the classification, new data will not be directly comparable to the 2001 Census data and a number of considerations will have to be taken into account when you are looking at trends over time. It will still be possible to compare the data at the 'White', 'Mixed or Multiple', 'Asian', 'African and Caribbean or Black combined', and 'Other' level. The differences in the data collected from the 2011 question and that collected from the 2001 Census for each section are described below:

'White' category.

At category level, total counts of 'White' should be broadly comparable. However, some people identifying as 'Gypsy/Traveller', 'Polish' and to some extent other people from Central and Eastern European countries may have responded in the previous classification using the 'Other ethnic background' category. At tick box level only the 'Scottish' 'Other British' and 'Irish' tick boxes are directly comparable although the 'Other British' category in 2001 may have included people who will now identify using the 'Gypsy/Traveller' category. The 'Any other White Background' (2001) is broadly comparable with the sum of the new 'Any other White ethnic group' and 'Polish' tick box.

'Mixed or Multiple Ethnic Groups' category.

Total counts of this category are broadly comparable. However, some people identifying as, for example, 'Indian Scottish' or 'African British' (who answered using the 'Mixed' category in the previous classification) may now answer using the new 'Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British' tick boxes or the 'African, African Scottish or African British' or 'Caribbean or Black' tick boxes.

'Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British'

At category level, total counts should be broadly comparable. However, as detailed above, we may expect some who responded using the 'Mixed' category in the previous classification to identity as, say, 'Indian Scottish' in this category using the new 'Indian, Indian Scottish or Indian British' tick box' for example. The same applies to all the 'Asian' groups listed in the new classification.

'African, African Scottish or African British' and 'Caribbean or Black'.

In 2001 categories E and F were presented as one category. It is therefore necessary to combine 'African, African Scottish and African British' and 'Caribbean or Black' together to get a total which allows comparison with data from 2001. Once again, some respondents who previously responded using the 'Mixed' category may now identify as, say, 'African Scottish' in this category using the new 'African, African Scottish or African British' tick box. It is also possible that some people who would have previously identified as 'African' under the 'White' section will now identify under the 'African, African Scottish or African British'. Comparisons are not recommended at tick box level given the differences between the 2001 and the 2011 classifications.

Changes affecting all the above categories.

An analysis of responses from people identifying as 'Arab' in the 2001 Census, shows that 47 per cent did so under 'Any other ethnic background', 22 per cent under the 'Asian' category, 13 per cent under the 'Mixed' category, 7 per cent under the 'White' category, 1 per cent under the 'Black' category and 9 per cent gave multiple responses across several categories. The inclusion of the new 'Arab' tick box in the 'Other Ethnic Group' category means that most of these people are now likely to respond here instead. This will reduce somewhat the total counts of each of the above categories.

'Other Ethnic Group'.

At category level, total counts should be broadly comparable. However, as detailed above, the inclusion of the new 'Arab' tick box should mean that more people identifying as 'Arab' use this category (with the possible exception of the people identifying as say 'Arab Scottish' or 'Arab British' who may continue to identify using the 'Mixed or Multiple Ethnic Group' category). As detailed above, we may expect fewer people from Central and Eastern Europe to identify using this category than under the previous classification, because the inclusion of the new 'Polish' tick box under the 'White' category is likely to encourage such respondents to give their answers here instead. The same is true to some extent of people identifying as 'Gypsy/Traveller'.

UK data comparisons

It is important to some data users that there are UK and GB level figures and that Scottish data can be compared to that of the other UK or GB countries. Scotland has different user requirements for ethnic group data and a different ethnic group profile than the other UK countries and as a result there are differences in the categories in the Scottish census question and those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. It will not be possible to directly compare the Scottish data at the category level with that of the other UK or GB countries but it can be compared at the section level (although the 'African, African Scottish or African British' and the 'Caribbean or Black' categories will need to be combined) and a UK and GB count can be achieved for the section level.

Contact

Email: social-justice-analysis@gov.scot

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