White Britons are the least likely of all ethnic groups to socialise with other races, a new survey has revealed.
The study by the social integration charity, The Challenge, has found that segregation is getting worse and that fewer people across all races are mixing together outside work than even two years ago.
The research in the latest British Integration Survey shows that black Britons socialise with each other nearly eight times as much as the researchers expected given the ethnic mix of where they live.
Asian Britons socialise with other Asian Britons more than 5 times as much as the researchers expected given the ethnic mix of where they live.
Those categorised as in socio-economic groups A and B - those in professional occupations - are more likely to socialise with different ethnic groups to their own than those in unskilled or manual labour jobs.
The research, conducted by IpsosMORI and which makes a comparison to a similar study from 2014, follows Dame Louise Casey’s recent report on growing segregation in cities across the UK.
But it appears to underline criticism of the Casey review by Professor Eric Kaufman, who said that “white British avoidance” is a “principal driver” of segregation, a factor covered only “lightly” by her report.
A key finding of the British Integration Survey is that white Britons are the least likely ethnic group to take the opportunity to mix socially with those from a different ethnic background to themselves, when compared to the demographics of where they live.
The researchers found white people take up just 38% of the opportunities to socialise with those from a different ethnicity to their own, given the demographics of where they live, and that this percentage has dropped from 40% in 2014.
The survey also shows that black Britons take up just 42% of the opportunities open to them to mix socially with a different ethnicity to themselves given the demographics of where they live. This has fallen sharply from 2014, when the figure was 52%.
Asian Britons only take up 41% of the opportunities open to them to mix socially with a different ethnicity.
Jon Yates, director of The Challenge, told HuffPost UK: “These figures are stark and show millions of Britons are not mixing with people from a different age or ethnicity to themselves.”
The findings proved there was “an urgent need” to improve integration because those who do not mix with other groups are less likely to earn a good salary and “more likely to feel isolated” and have less trust in neighbours from different ethnicities.
“Both individually and collectively we need to make more opportunities - in schools, in the workplace and in our communities - to have meaningful contact with those from different walks of life to ourselves.
Blogging for HuffPost, he added: “Worryingly, Britons of all ethnicities are socialising less with people from other ethnicities than in the past.”
“That’s why The Challenge is at the forefront of improving social integration through programmes like the National Citizen Service, which enables young people from different backgrounds to mix together.”
The study found that racial segregation appeared to be worse in areas with the highest proportion of minority ethnic communities.
White Londoners are the least likely group to mix with people from a different ethnic background to themselves, while Londoners in general are less likely than those in other regions of the UK to socialise with those from a different ethnicity or age to themselves.
Those in the Midlands were also found to be only taking up 40% of the opportunities to mix with other ethnicities.
Survey respondents were asked to think of the most recent social event they had attended and to give the ages, ethnic background and job roles of up to five people they socialised with there.
Researchers from the University of Oxford and University College London then analysed the results to find out how much people from different age groups, of different ethnicities and those from different social grades – based on their occupation – mixed socially with those different to them.