Five: Better understandings of ethnic variations: ethnicity, poverty and social exclusion

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Previous assessments of poverty and social exclusion in the UK show variations in the social position of people with different ethnic backgrounds. While many minority groups experience significant disadvantage compared with the white majority, this is found to be particularly persistent among Pakistani and Bangladeshi people. However, this previous work is less than comprehensive in its coverage of the ethnic minority population. There are also concerns that standard measures of socioeconomic status fail to account for some of the specific experiences of ethnic minority groups and as a consequence underestimate the prevalence of socioeconomic disadvantage among them. The Poverty and Social Exclusion UK 2012 survey enables us to look at groups often ignored in analyses of ethnic inequalities, such as white minority groups and more recent migrants. Our findings therefore make a valuable contribution to this existing evidence, drawing attention to the particular disadvantage experienced by Black African and Polish people. The more detailed markers employed here reveal additional dimensions of disadvantage than have generally been explored previously and through this the significant disadvantage experienced by other groups – such as Black Caribbean people – as well as the heterogeneity within particular ethnic groups, which have been unappreciated in previous work.

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