The Facts

In 2019, it was found that there was an estimated 169,400 people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups living in Wales.

The areas with the highest percentage of people who are Black, Asian and minority ethnic were Cardiff (18.5%), Newport (12.1%) and Swansea (10.2%). The areas which reported[1] the lowest percentage of people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups were Pembrokeshire (1.2%), Wrexham (1.5%), Caerphilly (1.6%) and Flintshire (1.6%).

[1] Note that findings from the Isle of Anglesey were not robust enough for publication.

In EYST’s recent All Wales Survey for Ethnic Minority People, it was found that 44% of 143 respondents have felt unwelcome by a person of another background.[1] In this survey, the majority of respondents (nearly 80%) felt safe or very safe in their community. However, there were several negative comments about personal safety in recent years, post-Brexit and post-Trump.[2] Additionally, the Home Office has found that hate crime has risen by 10% in England and Wales from 2017/18 to 2018/19.[3] Further, from police reports on hate crime,[4] it was found that of the 3932 recorded hate crimes in Wales during 2018/19, 2676 (68%) were hate crimes related to race and religion.

Research shows that discrimination has been felt by individuals because of their race. In EYST’s All Wales Survey for Ethnic Minority People, one of the largest barriers for respondents or members of their community accessing services was said to be discrimination. Further, negative treatment because of race appears in the workplace. TUC’s ‘Racism at Work’ report found that over 70% of Asian and Black workers who took the 2016-17 survey reported that they had experienced racial harassment at work in the last five years. Further, the report found that around 60% of Asian and black workers, and almost 40% of participants from a Mixed heritage background reported being subjected to unfair treatment by their employer because of their race.

Race discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably because of race, colour, and nationality, ethnic or national origin. Race discrimination covers four areas:

Direct discrimination

Treating someone less favourably than another person because of their race. Direct discrimination may also cover:

  • Perceived discrimination which occurs when someone is treated less favourably because of their perceived race, even if this belief is not correct.
  • Associative discriminationwhich occurs when someone is treated less favourably because of the race of someone with whom they associate.

Indirect discrimination

Occurs where there is a policy, practice or procedure which applies to all workers, but particularly disadvantages people of a particular race. An example could be a requirement for all job applicants to have GCSE Maths and English: people educated in countries which don’t have GCSEs would be discriminated against if equivalent qualifications were not accepted. Indirect discrimination can only be justified if there is a good reason for discrimination. This is also known as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.


This is when unwanted conduct related to race has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.

Harassment can never be justified. However, you may not be able to make a claim of harassment against an organisation or employer if they can show that they did everything it could to prevent the unwanted conduct. However, you may be able to make a claim against the harasser.


This occurs when you are treated badly because you have made a complaint, or supported someone who has made a complaint, of race related discrimination.

Circumstances when being treated differently due to race is lawful

A difference in treatment may be lawful if:

  • There are some jobs which can require that the jobholder is of a particular racial group. This is known as an ‘occupational requirement’. One example is where the jobholder provides personal welfare services to a limited number of people and those services can most effectively be provided by a person of a particular racial group due to cultural needs and sensitivities. Positive action is where an employer can provide support, training or encourage people from a particular racial group.
  • An employer or organisation may take positive action to encourage participation of people in a racial group that is under-represented or disadvantaged in a role or activity.

Information and Support

Return to our main page on protected characteristics.