Historically, the native British people regarded as the descendants of various ethnic groups who settled there before the 11th century: the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxon, Norway and Normandy. Recent genetic research shows that more than 50 percent of the Y chromosome contains genes English Germanic, although more recent genetic analysis indicates that "approximately 75 percent of traceable ancestors of the modern British population has arrived on the island of Britain about 6200 years ago, in the early Neolithic England or the Stone Age, "and that Britain is widely shared common ancestry with the Basque people.

Britain has a history of small scale non-white immigration, with Liverpool having the Black population in the country's oldest dating back to at least the 1730s, and the oldest Chinese community in Europe, dating the arrival of Chinese seamen in the 19th century. In 1950 there may be fewer than 20,000 non-whites in Britain, almost all born overseas.

Since 1945 a large immigration from the African, Caribbean and South Asia have a legacy of ties forged by the United Kingdom. Migration from new EU members in Central and Eastern Europe since 2004 has resulted in the growth in population groups but, in 2008, the trend is reversing and many of the migrants returned home, leaving the group size is unknown. In 2001, 92.1% of the population identified themselves as White, leaving 7.9% of UK population identified themselves as mixed race or ethnic minority.

Ethnic diversity varies significantly across the UK. 30.4% of the population of London and Leicester 37.4% of the estimated non-white in June 2005, while less than 5% of the population of North East England, Wales and South West are from ethnic minorities according to the 2001 census. In 2011, 26.5% and 22.2% of primary students in secondary schools in England are members of ethnic minorities.
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