Levy is of primarily Afro-Jamaican descent. Levy has a Jewish paternal grandfather and a Scots maternal great-grandfather.
She was born in London to Jamaican parents. In 1948 Andrea Levy's father sailed from Jamaica to England on the Empire Windrush ship and her mother joined him soon after.
Andrea was growing up black in what was still a very white England. This experience has given her an complex perspective on the country of her birth.