British African-Caribbean (or British Afro-Caribbean) people are residents of the United Kingdom whose ancestors were primarily indigenous to Africa. As immigration to the United Kingdom from Africa increased in the 1990s, the term has sometimes been used to include UK residents solely of African origin or as a term to define all Black British residents, though the phrase African and Caribbean has more often been used to cover such a broader grouping. The most common and traditional use of the term African-Caribbean community is in reference to groups of residents continuing aspects of Caribbean culture, customs and traditions in the UK.
A glossary published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health with the intention of stimulating debate about the development of better and more internationally applicable terms to describe ethnicity and race, suggests a definition of Afro-Caribbean/African Caribbean as, "A person of African ancestral origins whose family settled in the Caribbean before emigrating and who self identifies, or is identified, as Afro-Caribbean (in terms of racial classifications, this population approximates to the group known as Negroid or similar terms)". A survey of the use of terms to describe people of African descent in medical research notes that: "The term African Caribbean/Afro-Caribbean when used in Europe and North America usually refers to people with African ancestral origins who migrated via the Caribbean islands". It suggests that use of the term in the UK is inconsistent, with some researchers using it to describe people of Black and of Caribbean descent, whereas others use it to refer to those of either West African or Caribbean background.
The British Sociological Association's guidelines on ethnicity and race state that "African-Caribbean has replaced the term Afro-Caribbean to refer to Caribbean peoples and those of Caribbean origin who are of African descent. There is now a view that the term should not be hyphenated and that indeed, the differences between such groups mean the people of African and Caribbean origins should be referred to separately".The Guardian and Observer style guide prescribes the use of "African-Caribbean" for use in the two newspapers, specifically noting "not Afro-Caribbean".
Sociologist Peter J. Aspinall argues that the term "Black" has been reclaimed by people of African and Caribbean origin in the UK, noting that in a 1992 health survey, 17 per cent of 722 African–Caribbeans surveyed, including 36 percent of those aged 16 to 29, described themselves as "Black British". This, he suggests, "appears to be a pragmatic and spontaneous (rather than politically-led) response to the wish to describe an allegiance to a 'British' identity and the diminishing importance of ties with a homeland in the Caribbean".