Which ethnic minority group is the smartest in the UK?

Which ethnic minority group is the smartest in the UK?
Minds as sharp as that jawline. Source: Flickr

The UK government’s new race survey site is up and it makes for some interesting, albeit a little uncomfortable reading.

Titled “Ethnicity Facts and Figures”, the website shows stats on how different ethic groups are doing in areas like education, health and housing. If you want to know whether white Britons earn GBP2 more per hour, you now have a one-stop centre at your disposal.

The site also lays bare all you want to know about how each race group perform in school, from aged 5 right until they leave for university, be it in how well they do maths or in learning how to speak English.

The aim of this whole “race disparity audit” is – at least for UK Prime Minister Theresa May who commissioned it – her personal crusade to destroy ethnic injustice. And for the country’s public services, it’s a call to wake up and smell the lack of roses.

“People who have lived with discrimination don’t need a government audit to make them aware of the scale of the challenge,” May said, as reported by RT.


“But this audit means that for society as a whole – for the government, for our public services – there is nowhere to hide. These issues are now out in the open. And the message is very simple: if these disparities cannot be explained then they must be changed.”

The effectiveness of such stats in righting race wrongs aside, the stats do hold some surprising findings. And the education front isn’t exempt from this trend either.

Here’s what we found:

1. Chinese teens get best grades in English (Yup, better than the Brits)

Bury your outdated stereotypes of Asians speaking broken English. When it comes to tests, Chinese pupils aged 14-16 scored the most (83 percent) grades A* to C in English and Maths GCSE during the academic year 2015/16. Only 63 percent of White British pupils achieved the same. Those from the White Gypsy/Roma fared the worst with only 10 percent attaining the same results.

However, it is noted that some of the stats quoted are based on very small numbers of pupils and can be variable over time.

2. Indian children perform best in languages

Among children aged 5 to 7, Indian boys and girls were most likely to meet the expected standard in reading, writing and speaking. Girls do better than boys in all three aspects.

3. Chinese teens score the most 3As in A-Level

Chinese students were consistently most likely to achieve 3 A grades or better at A-level, with 24 percent achieving this. To get a measure of what this means, the national average was 13 percent.

4.  Chinese school-leavers most likely to head to university, least likely to work

The audit shows that overall, 65 percent of students went into higher education after finishing their A-level. Only close to a quarter of all students (23 percent) went on to work. Compare this to the stats within the Chinese group.

Eighty-five percent of Chinese students go on to university after A-level, the highest of any ethnic group. However, they make up the smallest numbers for those who go into employment after A-level with only 6 percent doing so.

5. Minority youth suffer biggest employment rate gap

Young minorities are employed a lot less than their white peers. Source: Reuters/Hannah McKay

The “employment rate gap” refers to the difference between the employment rate for the overall population and that for ethnic minorities (excluding White ethnic minorities). This gap is the largest in the 16-24 age group. Only 34 percent of ethnic minorities are employed, a difference of 20 percentage points from the whole population’s.

Between 2004 and 2016, Indians saw the biggest drop in employment in this age group – dropping from 44 percent in 2004 to 35 percent in 2016. Overall, all ethnicities saw falling employment rates, except for the White Other and Black ethnic groups.

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