Collection of data on ethnic origin in EnglandBMJ 2008; 337 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a1107 (Published 21 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1107
All rapid responses
In the recent editorial on the collection of data on ethnic origin
Veena Raleigh states that “ethnic origin is not known for sentinel
outcomes such as the 636,000 births and 470,000 deaths annually in
England”.1 However, we have just published data by ethnic group on all
births in England and Wales in 2005.2 Like the data recently published by
the Office for National Statistics on infant mortality by ethnic origin,3
that is mentioned by Raleigh, this uses ethnic group information collected
in the NHS Numbers for Babies dataset.
These are the first statistics on
ethnic differences in births and birth outcomes for England and Wales as a
whole. They show considerable ethnic diversity in the socio-demographic
characteristics of births, as well as in birthweight and gestational age
(Table). For example, compared to the White groups, the percentage of low
birthweight live singletons was much higher in the Caribbean and all the
Asian groups. Ethnic differences in preterm birth were also evident but
were less pronounced than for low birthweight.
These new data start to
fill an important gap in the routine birth data and add to what is already
known about health inequalities in birth outcomes.
Table: Ethnic differences in births and birth outcomes, England and Wales 20051. Chinese, Other Asian, Other Black, Other, and all Mixed groups2. Includes not stated
1. Raleigh VS. Collection of data on ethnic origin in England. BMJ
2. Moser K, Stanfield KM, Leon DA. Birthweight and gestational age by
ethnic group, England and Wales 2005: introducing new data on births.
Health Statistics Quarterly 2008;39:22-31.
3. Office for National Statistics (2008) Infant mortality by ethnic group,
England and Wales, 2005.
Competing interests: No competing interests