What you see and what you get in finding and understanding your Black, African and Caribbean roots in the U.K.

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In the worldwide Census data collection and distribution, there are straightforward and confusing results within the same reports. In the U.K. (England and Wales), the percentage of whites, for example, increased in the latest Census due to:

The ethnic groups used in the 2021 Census were slightly different from the 2011 Census ethnic groups.

There were 2 changes in 2021 – the ‘Roma’ group was added under the ‘white’ ethnic group, and people could write their own response under the ‘black African’ ethnic group.

As a result, figures for the white other and black African and black other ethnic groups may not be directly comparable for 2011 and 2021, although the groups concerned account for very low percentages of the overall population.


The Romani, or Roma as they are known, were once the EU’s largest minority group and now the addition of their population has increased the “white” column in the 2022 U.K. Census data. Romas are counted in the 2022 U.K. Census — actually in two categories. Why? That’s the straight forward-yet confusing data that is found in the U.K. Census.

As a result, the change in how whites and African-connected heritages are reported resulted in the latest data released about the ethnic, Caribbean, African and white populations in England and Wales. The latest results are not comparable to other years.

Over time, here’s what shows up as percentages of the entire population. Note that what I derived from the overall data will not equal 100 percent. See the full table of data:

Population %2021 %2011 %2001

Black African2.51.80.9
Black other0.50.50.2
Mixed White/Black African0.40.30.2
Mixed White/Black Caribbean0.90.80.5
Black Caribbean1.01.11.1
White British74.480.587.5
White other6.24.42.6
Notice all “Black” categories

The Gov.UK December 2022 report on its ethnic facts and figures are as follows:

  • According to the 2021 Census, the total population of England and Wales was 59.6 million and 81.7% of the population was white.
  • People from Asian ethnic groups made up the second largest percentage of the population (9.3%), followed by black (4.0%), mixed (2.9%) and other (2.1%) ethnic groups.
  • Out of the 19 ethnic groups, white British people made up the largest percentage of the population (74.4%), followed by people in the white ‘other’ (6.2%) and Indian (3.1%) ethnic groups.
  • From 2011 to 2021, the percentage of people in the white British ethnic group went down from 80.5% to 74.4%.
  • The percentage of people in the white ‘other’ ethnic group went up from 4.4% to 6.2% – the largest percentage point increase out of all ethnic groups.
  • The number of people who identified as ‘any other ethnic background’ went up from 333,100 to 923,800.

The take away

  1. Confusing data and materials as recorded by government sources, further the “brick wall” frustration. Don’t be. Dig deeper to get results.
  2. Census data — whether U.S. or U.K. or any other county, area — should always be deeply examined.
  3. Once you review the data, go deeper. Click on all links and take hints to follow the accuracy of the data.
  4. The goal is to gain clarity about what’s behind the statistics, materials and the conditions the results are produced.
  5. The other primary goal is to learn the truth about where our ancestors lived, how they lived, and more.


Published by Learning family histories

Our genealogy traces our family from western and central Africa and western Europe. Our ancestors entered the United States at the Virginia and Georgia Ports. First cousins Mark Owen and Ann Lineve Wead (it is protocol to use the maiden names of females in genealogy searches) are responsible for writing this blog. Although Ann has been involved in genealogy research while searching for certain ancestors since the age of 10, the cousins began deeper research of their families during the COVID-19 Pandemic Year of 2020. Devoting as much as 6 hours some evenings to the methodical training and research of genealogy, the cousins completed the year 2020 by earning genealogy certificates. Join us. @goodgenesgenealogy on wordpress and fb, twitter Sign up for our blog and enjoy the journey.

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