Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Sunday, 18 January 2009

Mixed-race family rise 'dramatic'

Libby, Chelsea, Kevin and Denise in EastEnders
EastEnders' Kevin and Denise were a high-profile TV mixed-race couple

Nearly one in 10 UK children live in a mixed-race family, a study suggests.

It said mixed-race partnerships were now so commonplace that some ethnic groups, such as Afro-Caribbean, were expected to virtually disappear.

Researchers said they believed future generations would "not see race in the way we see it", the Observer reported.

Lucinda Platt, author of the report for Essex University's Institute of Social and Economic Research, said it was a "dramatic" change.

'Remain vigilant'

Half of all British men with Caribbean heritage are in a relationship with partners of a different race, according to the research.

One in five black African men, one in 10 Indian men and women and two out of five Chinese women are also in a relationship with a partner from another race.

Now, one in five children belongs to an ethnic minority - a proportion far higher compared with the adult population, the Observer reported.

Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), is reported to have said he would "celebrate" the study's findings, but will add that there are still racial problems in Britain.

A spokeswoman for the commission told the paper: "We need to be alert to tensions within communities that may be exacerbated by economic downturn, and to remain vigilant against discrimination and divisiveness - particularly across boundaries of faith."

The report, commissioned by the EHRC, found 9% of children are of "mixed or multiple heritage" - they live with parents from different ethnic groups, or are themselves of mixed ethnicity.

Over the past 14 years the number of children of Caribbean heritage with a white parent has increased from 39% to 49%.

Among the UK's Indian population it has risen from 3% to 11%, for the Pakistani population from 1% to 4%, and for Chinese people from 15% to 35%.

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