Intended for healthcare professionals


Neglect of older ethnic minority people in UK research and policy

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 11 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m212

Read all of the articles in our special issue on Racism in Medicine

  1. Laia Bécares, senior lecturer in applied social sciences1,
  2. Dharmi Kapadia, Q-step lecturer in sociology2,
  3. James Nazroo, professor of sociology2
  1. 1School of Education and Social Work, University of Sussex, Falmer, UK
  2. 2School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to: L Bécares l.becares{at}

Exclusion from population studies is a form of institutional racism

Older people from ethnic minorities are one of the most disadvantaged and excluded groups in society.1234 This is reflected in international studies, which show increased rates of poor mental and physical illness among ethnic minority ageing populations compared with the ethnic majority population.45678

The UK has not collected any survey data specifically on older ethnic minority populations, but data from 2004, the last year when the Health Survey for England oversampled ethnic minority people (over 15 years ago), found that the proportion of people aged 61-70 reporting fair or bad health was 34% for white English people but 86% for Bangladeshi people, 69% for Pakistani people, 63% for Indian people, and 67% for black Caribbean people. These data show that the health of white English people aged 61-70 is equivalent to that for Caribbean people in their late 40s or early 50s, Indian people in their early 40s, …

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