Unemployment and Ethnic Backgrounds: Statistics You Might Not Know

Written by Luke Kitchen
Last updated December 2, 2021

It is no secret that unemployment rates in the UK are not at their best, sitting at 4.5%. The numbers don’t lie, and they can be found on news websites or the government’s official website. What many people might not know, however, is how these unemployment rates differ depending on ethnic background within the UK. There are a few different groups of people with significantly different unemployment statistics: White British, White Irish, Black African-Caribbean, Pakistani Muslim and Bangladeshi Muslim, to name just a few examples. This article will examine some of those differences in more detail so you can understand why it is important for us to tackle this problem together as one society! 

White Ethnicity Compared to Ethnic Minorities 

The unemployment rate was 4.0% for people from a White ethnic background compared to 8.0% for people from minority ethnic backgrounds. There was, though, a substantial variation between different ethnic minority groups. 

Indian Ethnic Backgrounds  

The unemployment rate for those from Indian ethnic backgrounds has decreased from 5.9% in 2020 to 5.0% in 2021. This makes them the ethnic minority with the lowest unemployment rate in the UK. 

Bangladeshi Ethnic Backgrounds  

Bangladeshi residents in the UK also saw the unemployment rate drop from 7.9% in 2020 to just 5.6% in 2021, making them the ethnic minority with the second-lowest unemployment rate in the UK and seeing them as the ethnicity with the most significant drop in unemployment since 2020. 

Pakistani Ethnic Backgrounds 

The other ethnicity to have seen a decrease in their unemployment rate is those of Pakistani backgrounds. They are third, behind only Indian and Bangladeshi ethnicities in terms of lowest unemployment rates, and have seen a decrease from 8.1% in 2020 to 6.6% in 2021. 

Unfortunately, it’s not such a great picture for other ethnic minorities living in the UK. Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian ethnicities are the only ones to have seen decreases in unemployment rates from 2020 to 2021. This includes people from white ethnic backgrounds who saw the unemployment rate rise from 3.3% to 4.0%. 

Black / African / Caribbean / Black British Ethnic Backgrounds 

Unemployment statistics aren’t such great reading for people from Black, African, Caribbean and black British backgrounds as they top the charts for unemployment rates in the UK. In 2020 the UK’s unemployment rate for Black/ African/ Caribbean/ Black British residents was 9.7%. There has since been a 0.3% increase, seeing them sit at 10% in 2021. 

Mixed / Multiple Ethnic Groups 

People from mixed or multiple ethnic groups saw a considerable rise in unemployment rates within their ethnicity, climbing from 6.6% in 2020 to 9.5% in 2021. This gives them the second-highest unemployment rate amongst ethnic minorities in the UK. 

Chinese Ethnic Backgrounds 

The most considerable rise in unemployment rates in the UK comes from those with Chinese ethnic backgrounds. In 2020 the unemployment rate of Chinese UK residents was just 3.5%. Now that rate has risen to a sizeable 9.2% in 2021, which sees them go from having the second-lowest unemployment rate, just behind white ethnicities, to the third-highest. 

Other Ethnic Backgrounds 

Other ethnic background groups also saw a leap in their unemployment rates as they climbed from 7.2% in 2020 to an inflated 9.0% in 2021. 

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Last Updated: Monday June 20 2022
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