Latest figures on ethnic diversity in the UK

·3 min read

Here is a selection of the latest available figures on ethnic diversity in areas of UK society.

– Population

The most recent estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest people from ethnic minority backgrounds make up 14.4% of the UK population.

The estimate is 16.1% for England, 5.9% for Wales, 5.4% for Scotland and 2.2% for Northern Ireland.

These estimates pre-date the Covid-19 pandemic, and are based on population survey figures from 2019.

– Politics

A total of 65 members (10%) of the House of Commons are from an ethnic minority background – the highest proportion on record.

House of Commons

If the Commons reflected the ethnic make-up of the UK population, there would be around 93.

There are four non-white members of the Cabinet, or 17% of the total.

The latest estimate for the House of Lords suggests that in October there were 50 peers from an ethnic minority background – 6% of the total.

Ahead of elections in May, 2% of members of the Scottish Parliament and 5% of members of the Welsh Parliament were from ethnic minority backgrounds.


Figures on NHS workforce diversity are available for England and Scotland.

As of December 31, 23% of NHS staff in England whose background was known were from ethnic minority backgrounds. The figure for doctors was 47%, for nurses and health visitors it was 27% and for midwives it was 12%.

(Peter Byrne/PA)

In Scotland, 5% of NHS staff who provided data said they were from an ethnic minority background, as of March 31 2020.

– Civil service

As of March 31 last year, 13% of civil servants in the UK whose background was known were from an ethnic minority backgrounds.

This is up from 9% in 2010.


As of March 31 2020, 16% of staff at the BBC who declared their ethnicity were from a non-white background. At a leadership level the figure was 12%.

– UK armed forces

People from ethnic minority backgrounds accounted for 9% of the regular armed forces, as of October 1.

The figure was 13% for the Army, 5% for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and 3% for the RAF.

POLITICS Disparities Numbers
(PA Graphics)

– FTSE 100

Just 3% of all chairs, chief executive officers or chief finance officers at the companies making up the FTSE 100 are from ethnic minority backgrounds, according to analysis by the Green Park consultancy service published in February.

No people from a black ethnic minority background held any of the top positions, Green Park found.

– Public sector

Figures for public sector organisations are available for England and Wales only.

These show that as of March 31 2020, 7% of police officers who stated their ethnicity were from a ethnic minority background, along with 7% of police staff and 12% of special constables.

For prison officers in England and Wales the figure in 2019 was 10%.

For court judges the figure as of April 1 2020 was 8%, and for magistrates it was 13%.

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