Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Ethnicity Evidence Review

This evidence review was prepared to support the production of the Scottish Government's Equality Outcomes, with regard to ethnicity.

1 Introduction

Purpose of this document

1.1 This paper is one of a series written to inform the development of equality outcomes for the Scottish Government. Guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) states that a range of relevant evidence relating to equality groups and communities should be used to help set equality outcomes that are likely to make the biggest difference in tackling inequalities.

1.2 The EHRC suggests the following criteria for selecting equality outcomes:

  • Scale - how many people are affected by the issue and how does the issue impact on their life chances?
  • Severity - does the issue present a risk to equality of opportunity for particular protected groups? Is it a significant barrier to opportunity or freedom?
  • Concern - do equality groups and communities see it as a significant issue?
  • Impact - is the problem persistent or getting worse? What is the potential for improving life chances? Is the problem sensitive to public intervention?
  • Remit - are you able to address the issue given your remit?

1.3 This series of papers provides evidence for some of the questions listed above - in particular, on the scale and severity of issues facing equality groups. It is intended that this evidence will feed into a process of engagement with equality groups and communities, to help develop the most relevant equality outcomes.

1.4 These papers seek to identify, very briefly, key facts and evidence gaps for the equalities groups in policy areas including: education, employment, poverty, housing, transport, hate crime, justice, public appointments, health, social care, sport, and culture.

Key facts

1.5 The Context chapter offers an explanation of the terms used to describe ethnic groups, and the varying level of detail available in the evidence sources for individual groups and composite groups.

1.6 Education: a greater proportion of Scotland's school pupils come from ethnic minorities than the share of minorities in the population as a whole would suggest, and this is partly explained by the younger age profile of the ethnic minority population. The proportion of ethnic minority students in Further Education is higher than their share of the population as a whole, and degrees are held by a greater proportion of the ethnic minority population than of the white population. However, ethnic minority students tend to graduate with lower-class degrees than white students.

1.7 Employment: despite the variation between ethnic groups, employment rates are generally lower for ethnic minorities than for all white groups, and self-employment rates are higher. Negative pay gaps exist for most minority groups.

1.8 Poverty: people from ethnic minority groups are about twice as likely to be in relative poverty than white British and other white people, and nearly three times more likely to be in in-work poverty. Ethnic minority workers in low-paid employment are expected to benefit from the introduction of Universal Credit, but large families are likely to lose out from the Benefits Cap.

1.9 Housing: ethnic minorities are under-represented in the social rented sector, and are over-represented among the homeless, although rates vary between ethnic groups.

1.10 Transport: personal safety and the provision of information in a range of languages are common concerns.

1.11 Hate crime: the number of reported racist incidents has increased over time. Racial prejudice tends to be accompanied by intolerance of immigration, and a lack of personal contact with people from different racial or ethnic backgrounds.

1.12 Justice: ethnic minorities are over-represented in Scotland's prison population, and in the legal profession they are less likely to become equity partners than their white colleagues.

1.13 Public appointments: ethnic minority candidates have been successful in securing appointments.

1.14 Health: there is wide variation between ethnic groups in health behaviours (including smoking, drinking alcohol, and consuming fruit and vegetables) and health outcomes (such as mental health, obesity and heart disease).

1.15 Social Care: data broken down by ethnicity are limited, but indicate limited access to formal social care by members of ethnic minorities.

1.16 Sport: overall participation rates for ethnic minority people are below the national average, and are even lower for ethnic minority women.

1.17 Culture: participation in culture is broadly lower for Asians than for those identifying as white Scottish.

Gaps in the data

1.18 There is no analysis of the educational achievement of school pupils that takes account of the length of time each pupil has been resident in the UK, or the pupil's fluency in English. Data for ethnic minority employment, pay gaps, poverty and housing are limited - in terms both of data available, and in terms of reliability due to small sample sizes.

1.19 There is a lack of quantitative data on Gypsies/Travellers, which has been interpreted by many local authorities as an absence of demand for pitches.

1.20 Data for racially-aggravated crime are thought to be inconsistent.


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