Currently around 8% of Members of both Houses are from an ethnic minority background. This compares with 13.6% of UK population. The share of non-white population is the most proportionally represented in the Civil Service (11.6%), whereas the NHS has the largest share of ethnic minority staff (18%).Jump to full report >>
Currently 8% of MPs in the House of Commons and around 6% of Members of the House of Lords are from an ethnic minority background.
The number of ethnic minority female MPs in the House of Commons increased from 3.0% in 2015 (20 of 650) to 4% in 2017 (26 of 650). Currently non-white female MPs make up 12.5% of all women MPs (208).
The latest estimate from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Population Survey 2016 indicates that 13.6% of the UK population is non-white.
Among Government bodies the non-white population is most proportionally represented in the Civil Service. In 2017, 11.6% of Civil Servants were from ethnic minority groups. This compares with 7% in the UK Armed Forces.
Among other public sector organizations the NHS has the largest share of ethnic minorities. 18% of all NHS staff and around 41% of Doctors in England are from an ethnic minority background. This compares with 5% of National Fire and Rescue service staff.
Analysis of ethnic minority representation is difficult, because ethnicity is both sensitive, and difficult to define. Work such as this generally relies on self-definition. The UK Census includes an ‘Ethnicity’ section, as do most staff surveys within major public services. However, it is not always a mandatory requirement to disclose such information. Data on MPs’ ethnicity is not systematically gathered and is an estimate based upon multiple sources.
Commons Briefing papers SN01156
Authors: Lukas Audickas; Vyara Apostolova