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Facts and figures about ethnic difference & inequality in the UK

Families and households

Family type and average family size, by ethnic group of head of family unit

Table 1: Family type

Ethnic group
Family type, row percentages
Single Person Couple, no dependent children Couple, dependent children Lone parent
White British 36 35 20 9
Other White 45 30 18 7
Mixed White and Caribbean 42 8 21 29
Mixed White and African 44 12 23 21
Mixed White and Asian 43 21 22 14
Other Mixed 48 18 19 15
Indian 30 30 33 7
Pakistani 24 19 45 11
Bangladeshi 20 14 52 14
Other Asian 40 21 32 7
Black Caribbean 41 14 16 28
Black African 44 9 25 22
Other Black 43 13 23 21
Chinese 56 21 17 6
Other 43 18 28 11
All groups 37 33 20 10

Source: LFS household data sets October-December 2004 to April-June 2008, weighted proportions

Table 1 illustrates differences in family types across the different ethnic groups. We can see that single people made up over a third of White British families but were more common among most of the minority groups, partly due to the different age structure of the groups. Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian families were less likely, however, to be single person families. Instead around two-third of families for these groups were couple families either with or without dependent children. Lone parent families made up around a quarter of Mixed White and Black Caribbean, Black Caribbean and Black African families. This compares with an average across all groups of one in ten families.

Graph 1: Average family size, by ethnic group of head of family unit

Source: LFS household data sets October-December 2004 to April-June 2008, weighted proportions

Graph 2: Percentage of families with 4 or more people

Source: LFS household data sets October-December 2004 to April-June 2008, weighted proportions

Graphs 1 and 2 illustrate differences in family size across the different ethnic groups. They show that average family size was lowest among the Chinese, while nearly half of Bangladeshi families contained four or more people.

All tables and graphs are extracted from the Equality and Human Rights Commission Research Report: Platt, L. (2009) Ethnicity and family: relationships within and between ethnic groups(1)

Web addresses

(1) http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/raceinbritain/ethnicity_and_family_report.pdf