The research by academics in Glasgow and Manchester revealed that one in six households in Scotland are of mixed ethnicity.
Researchers found that ethnic diversity is increasing throughout Scottish society, as immigrants have settled in new areas and the mix of ethnic groups has grown.
By 2011, the number of people living in Scotland who identified as being other than "white Scottish" reached 850,000, or 16% of residents.
Researchers at the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity, co-hosted by the universities of Glasgow and Manchester, analysed recent censuses held in Scotland.
They found that one in six households of two or more people are now multi-ethnic.
The largest minority group was those who describe themselves as being "white: other British".
At 417,000 in 2011, numbers in that category had increased by 10% over the decade, with about three-quarters born in England.
Other minority groups have seen "considerable increases" in size, according to researchers, including the African, Chinese, Pakistani and Indian populations.
Overall, experts found that diversity has increased in every local authority across Scotland.
In Glasgow and Edinburgh, every council ward saw an increase in diversity, the study found.
Dr Andrew Smith, senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Glasgow, said: "What our research in the Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity reveals is a picture of growing diversity within Scotland, and of diversity spread across different areas of the country.
"The presence of the large 'other British' minority reminds us that ethnicity is not a matter of colour, but might be used to describe different aspects of our background and sense of who we are."