Britain becomes more mixed-race, some ethnic groups to disappear

January 18th, 2009 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 18 (IANS) One in 10 children in Britain lives in a mixed-race family, raising hopes that future generations “will not see race in the way we see it”, a major study revealed Sunday.Mixed-race relationships, including between Indians and whites, are now so common that some ethnic groups - starting with African-Caribbean - will virtually disappear, the research says.

Young people in Britain are six times more likely to be mixed-race as adults, says the survey commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Britain’s main race relations body.

According to the research, conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University, nine percent of children in Britain are of “mixed or multiple heritage”, meaning they are living with parents of different ethnic backgrounds or are of mixed race themselves.

The report’s author Lucinda Platt described the shift towards a mixed-race Britain as “dramatic,” saying: “What we mean when we talk about minority groups is changing.”

According to the report, the number of children of Caribbean heritage with one white parent has risen from 39 percent to 49 percent over the past 14 years.

Among the Indian population, this figure has risen dramatically from three percent to 11 percent, for Pakistanis from one percent to four percent, and for Chinese from 15 percent to 35 percent.

Half of all men in Britain who have Caribbean heritage and are in a relationship already have partners of a different race. The same is true of one in five black African men, one in 10 Indian men and women and two out of five Chinese women.

One in five children belongs to an ethnic minority - a far higher proportion than among the adult population.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is set to “celebrate” the study’s findings this week, and a spokeswoman said: “The old, polarising debate about black and white is changing and the next generation will not see race in the same way we see it.”

But she warned against complacency, saying, “We need to be alert to tensions within communities that may be exacerbated by economic downturn and to remain vigilant against discrimination and divisiveness - particularly across boundaries of faith.”

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