Some 5% of seven-year-olds receive extra tuition, with some ethnic groups more likely to hire tutors than others, a conference will hear later.
At seven, some 20% of Indian children are tutored but only 3% of white children, according to research on 19,000 pupils born in 2000 and 2001.
Ethnic minority children also spend longer on homework, the study suggests.
Academics will present the findings to the British Educational Research Association conference in Belfast.
Children of self-employed parents were the most likely to receive private tuition aged seven, with 7% having extra help in at least one subject.
By the age of 11, some 22% of children were receiving help from private tutors - but again there were differences along ethnic lines:
- white - 20%
- Pakistani or Bangladeshi - 29%
- Indian - 42%
- black - 47%
- Chinese or other minority ethnic - 48%
Extra tuition also broke down according to background:
- children whose mother had a post-graduate degree - 30%
- children whose mother had no qualifications - 19%
Most 11-year-olds spent one to two hours a week on homework.
Some spent five hours or more, but again this varied on ethnic lines:
- white - 7%
- Pakistani or Bangladeshi - 8%
- black - 20%
- Indian - 24%
- Chinese or other minority ethnic - 25%
Prof Liz Todd, of Newcastle University, said: "Does this mean some parents are lacking confidence in what goes on during school hours or are they just more likely to see tuition as a worthwhile route to help their children succeed?"
The next step should be to look at gains in pupil attainment across groups "and ask to what extent these are due to changes in teaching, school reforms or the provision of tuition at home", she said.