Research details

Mapping rapidly changing minority ethnic populations: a case study of York

Author[s] Craig, Gary; Adamson, Sue; Ali, Nasreen and Demsash, Fasil

Date 2010



The project was commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s York Grants Committee to provide a more up to date picture of the city’s population in terms of size and diversity than was available solely via official statistics.


The research commenced with a review of the official data available on the ethnic composition of York [United Kingdom], such as the 2001 Census and the Workers Registration Scheme [WRS] and National Insurance Numbers Allocation [NINo]. In addition, a range of complementary research techniques were used, such as mapping and qualitative interviews which were supplemented by a range of less formal techniques, such as the collection of administrative employment data from local organisations, observation and networking.

Key issues

Contrary to the popular perception of York as a largely ‘white’ city, with less than 7 minority groups present, the study identified 92 different ethnic/national origins present in the city and 78 different first languages. Based on the research, it is estimated that the minority ethnic population [all groups other than White British] in 2009 was approximately 11% of York’s total estimated population: an estimate substantially higher than the figure generally used by policy and service agencies within the city and twice the size of the Black and Minority Ethnic population recorded in the 2001 census.


The study makes the following recommendations for agencies working in York:


  • strengthening the commitment to racial equality across the City and promote this commitment more strongly to the outside world
  • the development of more consistent and coherent approaches to ethnic monitoring across all organisations
  • more effective and targeted recruitment of and support for minority ethnic employees
  • greater investment for services directed at minorities and support for organisations representing particular minority groups
  • greater attention to highlighting and responding to the needs of more vulnerable groups, including ‘hidden’ and irregular workers

The report notes that the key to understanding the growth of the minority population is an understanding of the changing nature of the local labour market.

Further details

Resource type

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

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