Ethnicity recording across health data - the impact on analysis

Rose Drummond of the Office for National Statistics, is undertaking an analysis of the difference in ethnicity recording across health data, in collaboration with Wellcome and the Race Equality Foundation to provide clarity around estimates for England.

The issue

Often, one individual can be recorded as a differing ethnic group between different health related data sets. As well as this, some sources have lots of missing data, or higher than expected proportions of people coded as ‘Other’. It is important to understand the consistency and completeness of ethnicity data sets, as this informs how the data should be analysed and what the data can be used for.

Key findings of differences

The White British category consistently reported the highest level of agreement with Census 2011; of those recorded as White British in the health admin data sources, more than 96% reported the same ethnicity in census.

Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Chinese and Indian categories also reported high levels of agreement (greater than 80%) with census for all health admin data sources.

Across all three health administrative data sources, agreement was lower for Mixed ethnic groups (less than 67%) and “other” ethnic groups, including:

  • Other Asian (less than 60%),
  • Other White (less than 55%),
  • Other Mixed (less than 21%),
  • Other Black (less than 16%)
  • Any Other ethnic group (less than 15%).

Overall agreement rates based on the subset of GP data available for analysis were similar for GP and hospital data, though there is some variation between ethnic groups.

The full report is available here.

Source: ONS