Aim: To examine limiting long-term illness among ethnic groups born in the UK.
Design: Study members in the ONS Longitudinal Study, a representative 1% sample of England and Wales, present at the 1991 Census were examined. Socio-economic position was measured using housing tenure and access to cars.
Main results: Black Caribbeans, Black Africans, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis reported more limiting long-term illness than whites, and the Chinese less. The level was higher among Black Africans than Black Caribbeans, even after adjustment for socio-economic position. Corresponding patterns were seen across the generations for all groups except Black Africans. Black Africans born in the UK reported more limiting long-term illness than did those born in Africa. Adjusting for socio-economic position lowered the risks in every group except Indians. The effect was strongest for Black Caribbeans, among whom adjustment removed the higher risks, and Bangladeshis, among whom the higher risks were no longer significant.
Conclusion: For South Asians and Black Caribbeans poor health persisted across generations, and for Black Africans health worsened. There are over 1.5 million second- and third-generation migrants in these ethnic groups, but little is known about the consequences of having a multigenerational identity.