Briefing paper

Health Survey for England: ethnicity and health

The Health Survey for England is a yearly survey that monitors the health of the nation. It has been running since 1991.
A nurse taking someone's blood pressure in the home

This study has combined data from nine survey years, 2011-2019, to enable the analysis of health and health-related behaviours by ethnicity. Based on a sample of 73,947 adults, the findings show the prevalence of major health indicators for eleven ethnic groups.

About the study

The study is designed to enable comparisons of the health of adults in different ethnic minority groups.


  • Longstanding health conditions (conditions likely to last 12 months or more) were most common among black Caribbean (45%) and white British men (40%) and among women from Pakistani backgrounds (49%).
  • Chinese women (22%) and men (36%) were least likely to be overweight or obese. Women from black Caribbean (74%), Pakistani (74%) and black African (73%) backgrounds were most likely to be overweight or obese. The proportions of men from other backgrounds who were overweight or obese did not vary greatly.
  • Those most likely to report drinking alcohol in the last 12 months were from white backgrounds. White British men (91%) and women (86%) and white Irish men (90%) and women (88%) reported drinking alcohol in the last year.
  • The groups least likely to report drinking alcohol in the last year were Pakistani men (9%) and women (2%) and Bangladeshi men (13%) and women (8%).


The findings of this report are based on data from the Health Survey for England from 2011 to 2019. The analysis used self-reported ethnicity.