Ethnic minorities: key points

    • A major new development in Scottish health data on ethnicity is the introduction (from April 2012) of information on ethnic group at the time of death registration, (see BMJ article) which follows publication of this as one of the recommendations of the Health in our multi-ethnic Scotland  report in 2009.
    • Scotland has a number of white ethnic minority groups, including those of English, Irish and Eastern European origins. However, this section focuses on the non-white minority groups, which formed 4% of the Scottish population in the 2011 Census. This total does not include gypsy travellers, refugees, asylum seekers or migrant workers.
    • Minority ethnic groups are younger than the general population and many were born in Scotland.
    • The largest non-white minority ethnic group is Pakistani (white Irish are a larger ethnic group but are not included in the 4% figure for non-white minority groups).
    • There is a clear policy commitment in Scotland to address discrimination against minority ethnic groups and inequalities in health.
    • Initiatives to improve the routine collection and analysis of data on ethnicity have been successful. The completeness and quality of the ethnicity coding is now sufficient to allow publication and wider use of the data. These improvements should enhance our understanding of ethnic inequalities in health and support action to reduce them. 
    • Minority ethnic groups in general have lower mortality than the general population, but may have specific health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes among South Asians.

Section updates:

  • The last major update of this section was completed in November 2016.
  • The next major update is due to be carried out by March 2017.