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Ethnicity is highlighted in the new edition of Social Trends published today by the Office for National Statistics....
Ethnicity is highlighted in the new edition of Social Trends published today by the Office for National Statistics. It shows that the experiences of UK ethnic groups are as different as their origins, with diversity within groups as well as between them.

This year's feature report is on the ethnic and religious diversity of the UK population, looking at the labour market and educational achievements of the different ethnic and religious populations. It shows, for example:

- In 2001, the Indian population formed the largest ethnic minority group and was one of the most religiously diverse, including Hindus

(45 per cent), Sikhs (29 per cent), Muslims (13 per cent) and Christians (5 per cent).

- Three quarters (74 per cent) of Chinese pupils and 67 per cent of Indian pupils in England gained five or more GCSEs (grades A* to C) in 2004. The lowest attainment levels were by Black Caribbean pupils

(36 per cent), but they have made significant gains in educational attainment over the last decade.

Social Trends brings together a wide range of statistics on many aspects of contemporary UK society and how it has changed over the years. The population of the UK is growing, as is the number of homes that people live in. Families and households are changing as more people are living alone, and more young people are living with their parents as opposed to moving out of the parental home. Cohabitation and births outside marriage are continuing to rise.

People are travelling more, with increased access to cars and rises in bus, rail and air travel. But there is increasing pressure on our environment and natural resources, as carbon dioxide emissions from transport and our use of natural gas for energy continue to rise.

Other key statistics include:

- In 2004, there were 11.6 million people aged under 16 in the United Kingdom, a decline of 2.6 million since 1971, and 9.6 million people aged over 65, an increase of 2.2 million.

- In 2004, life expectancy at birth in the United Kingdom was 77 years for men and 81 years for women.

- The number of households in Great Britain increased by 30 per cent between 1971 and 2005 from 18.6 million to 24.2 million.

- There has been a substantial rise in the proportion of births occurring outside marriage. In 1980, 12 per cent of all births in the United Kingdom were outside marriage; by 2004 this had increased to

42 per cent. The United Kingdom had the fourth highest level of births outside marriage in Europe, after Sweden, Denmark and France.

- In England and Wales 76 per cent of pupils whose parents were in higher professional occupations achieved five or more GCSEs grades A* to C in 2004 compared with 33 per cent of those whose parents were in the lowest skilled occupations.

- In 2004, White British and White Irish men in Great Britain had the lowest unemployment rates at 5 per cent. The highest unemployment rates were among Black Caribbean men (14 per cent) and men from Black African, Mixed and Bangladeshi groups (each 13 per cent).

- In 2004, around seven in ten Bangladeshi and Pakistani women of working age were neither working nor seeking work. The lowest rates were among White British, White Irish and Black Caribbean women - only one in four women from these groups were not working or seeking work.

-Kingdom usually worked over 48 hours a week, with a higher proportion of men (23 per cent) than women (11 per cent) usually working these longer hours.

- Although the income gap between men and women is still substantial in Great Britain, it narrowed between 1996/97 and 2003/04. Median income for women increased by 29 per cent in real terms (to£151 per

week) compared with an increase of 13 per cent for men (to£250 per week).

- In 2004, the number of debit card transactions in the United Kingdom was ten times higher than it was in 1991. Over the same period, credit card usage increased by a factor of almost three.

- Emissions of greenhouse gases in the United Kingdom fell by 14 per cent between 1990 and 2002, but rose slightly between 2002 and 2004, by 2 per cent.

- Around 4 per cent of electricity produced in the United Kingdom in

2003 came from renewable sources, compared with an EU-15 average of

15 per cent.

- In 2004/05, more than 1 billion passenger journeys were made on the national rail network for the second year running, the highest it has been since 1961.

- Between 1980 and 2004 the number of air passengers travelling to or from overseas countries through UK airports almost quadrupled from 43 million to 167 million.

- In 2004/05, higher income households were more likely to have a home internet connection than lower income households - 87 per cent compared with 18 per cent.

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