Intended for healthcare professionals


Limitations and potential of country of birth as proxy for ethnic group

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 20 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:196
  1. Paramjit S Gill, clinical senior lecturer (,
  2. Raj Bhopal, professor of public health,
  3. Sarah Wild, senior lecturer,
  4. Joe Kai, professor of primary care
  1. University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT
  2. Public Health Sciences Section, Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9AG
  3. University of Nottingham, Graduate Medical School, Derby City General Hospital, Derby DE22 3DT

    EDITOR—We agree with Jarman and Aylin that recording of ethnic group on death certificates needs to be improved in the United Kingdom.1

    Currently, country of birth has been included in each UK census since 1841 and is a readily available and objective, although crude, method of ethnic group classification.2 Indeed it remains a good proxy for ethnic group for …

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