The recently published Count Me In 2007 census specifically reported age-standardised admission rates for individuals aged over 65 years from different Black and minority ethnic groups. the standardised admission ratio was higher in the White Irish, other White, White and Black Caribbean, other Asian, Black Caribbean, Black African and other Black ethnic groups; and lower in the White British and Chinese ethnic groups. As this census was undertaken on a single day for all psychiatric in-patients, it measured bed occupancy rather than admission rates and so it was actually referring to standardised bed occupancy ratios. Bed occupancy is a function of admission rates and length of stay. This editorial critically explores factors (including those related to institutional racism) that may affect both admission rates and length of stay, and ultimately bed occupancy, of Black and minority ethnic elders.