A portrait of modern Britain

Publication type



Rishi Sunak and Saratha Rajeswaran

Publication date


People from ethnic minority backgrounds will make up nearly a third of the UK’s population by 2050. A Portrait of Modern Britain
reveals that the five largest distinct Black and Minority Ethnic (BME)
communities could potentially double from 8 million people or 14% of the
population to between 20-30% by the middle of the century. Over the
past decade, the UK’s White population has remained roughly the same
while the minority population has almost doubled. Black Africans and
Bangladeshis are the fastest growing minority communities with ethnic
minorities representing 25% of people aged under the age of five.
The handbook draws on an extensive set of survey, census, academic
and polling data to build up a detailed picture of the five largest
minority groups in the UK – Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Black
Africans and Black Caribbeans. The paper outlines the demographics,
geography, life experiences, attitudes and socioeconomic status of each
of these major ethnic groups. The purpose of the research is to show
that there are clear and meaningful differences between each of these
communities, which need to be fully understood by policymakers and
politicians. The study also reveals that while the face of
Britain has changed and is continuing to become even more multi-racial,
people from ethnic minority backgrounds have a far stronger association
with being British than the White population. In the 2011 Census, only
14% of Whites identified themselves as being purely British, with 64%
seeing themselves as purely English. All other ethnic minority
communities were over four times more likely to associate themselves
with being British. 71% of Bangladeshis and 63% of Pakistanis considered
themselves purely British. A quarter of the Black Caribbean community
see themselves as purely English, while just over half (55%) see
themselves as just British.


Demography, Social Change, Ethnic Groups and Societies



Uses Understanding Society data throughout.; Refers specifically to research by Nandi, A.and Platt, L. (2013) 'Britishness and identity assimilation among the UK's minority and majority ethnic groups', Understanding Society Working Paper, No. 2013-08. Colchester: University of Essex. Institute for Social and Economic Research; Multiple media coverage in over 100 outlets worldwide

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