Who are the UK's minority ethnic groups? Issues of identification and measurement in a longitudinal study

Publication type

Understanding Society Working Paper Series


Jonathan Burton, Alita Nandi and Lucinda Platt

Publication date

Series Number



In this paper we highlight issues related to measuring ethnicity and ethnic identity. We base our discussion on an extensive review of the literature and an intensive consultation process undertaken as part of the development of the ethnicity focused strand of a major new UK panel study, Understanding Society. We conclude that ethnic identity is a multi-dimensional concept and its ideal measure would have to be consistent, reliable as well as capture people’s perception of their own ethnic identity. One way forward is to design a multiple response question with different dimensions of ethnicity as response options.


Survey Methodology, Ethnic Groups and Social Policy


working paper

Paper Download