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EVENS launch presents groundbreaking research on racism and ethnic inequality in Britain

On 12 May, the UK Data Service was delighted to attend a book and study launch in Manchester for the Evidence for Equality National Survey (EVENS) – the biggest ever UK research survey into the lived experiences of ethnic minorities throughout Britain. EVENS is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Over 14,000 people were interviewed for the survey, which was carried out by the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE), the UK’s leading centre of research into ethnic, racial and religious inequalities, led from the University of Manchester. The data will be available exclusively from the UK Data Service in June and we will be publishing key takeaways and highlights over the coming months. We will also be creating a new training programme that will teach people how to use the datasets.

Early findings

The EVENS book, Racism and Ethnic Inequality in a Time of Crisis: Findings from the Evidence for Equality National Survey, brings together some early findings from the research. Among the most important are that experiences of racist assault and racial discrimination are widespread across Britain, that ethnic minority groups face ongoing economic inequalities, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted on some dimensions of ethnic inequalities in health.

However, the research also suggests that ethnic minority people report high levels of engagement in political and civic life. While 60% of White British, White Eastern European and Gypsy/Traveller groups said they were ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ interested in politics, the level of political interest among some ethnic and religious minority groups was much higher. The data also highlights that ethnic minority people are able to maintain both a strong sense of affiliation to their ethnic identity and to a national British identity.

The book was edited by Nissa Finney, James Nazroo, Laia Bécares, Dharmi Kapadia and Natalie Shlomo, and is available as a paperback or as a free download from Bristol University Press. More information on the data is available from the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity.

Groundbreaking research

One of the main challenges in delivering the survey is that it took place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the researchers were able to adopt an innovative approach to data collection, expanding the range of ethnic groups under consideration and the topics covered beyond those addressed by previous surveys.

Dharmi Kapadia, a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester and one of the authors of the EVENS book, said: “This really is groundbreaking research in the sense that we’ve looked at more ethnic and religious minority groups than ever before. It is the largest survey in Britain… and the method that we used and the partnerships that we created with these voluntary community organisations to try and ensure the content really spoke to the real issues in Britain today really do make this a groundbreaking survey. We hope that this evidence, the knowledge and the insights that we produce from the survey can really be used by a wide variety of people.”