By Keval Dhokia
An independent website, London Profiler, has cropped up recently, offering smart migrants and informed citizens an immensely powerful information tool. The site (http://www.londonprofiler.org/) overlays statistical data over maps of London through Google maps, creating rich infographics which allow one to see the concentration of immigrants by ethnic group and in conjuntion with well-being and development indicators.
This should help potential immigrants who are looking for linguistic familiarity or cultural agglomeration as factors in their choice of residence in London, and also help local people already living in London get to know a bit more about the people whom they share the city with.
One useful thing that we did was to use the tools to illustrate the difference in geographic distributions of four immigrant groups in London (Jewish, Sikh, Chinese and Afro-Caribbean – the snapshots are in this order):
A very interesting comparison that can instantly be made here is how geographically homogenous, or clustered, the Jewish and Sikh populations are. It is easy to see how iconic ‘ethnic zones’ of commerce and culture are fed by this agglomeration of residents with similar ethnicity, many of them immigrants. Golders Green (for the Jewish community) and Southall (for the Sikh), are areas in London where immigrants of that respective grouping can find common culture when coming from so far away.
On the other hand, it is interesting to note the geographically heterogeneous distribution of Chinese and Afro-Caribbean people around London, which shows perhaps how integrated and diverse their experience of living in London might be.
One disadvantage of London Profiler’s data is that it is only representative of the foreign-born population in 2006. It is a well-documented fact that the ethnic make-up of London has changed significantly from that period to 2011 (the latest census), due to immigration.
To illustrate the changes that have taken place, we used demographic data on London, from 2004 and 2011, to illustrate how much the major ethnic groups have changed:
(data source: data.london.gov.uk)
The most interesting, and telling, change in the top ten (in just seven years) is the introduction of Poland as the second highest source of immigrants, from a position outside the top ten less than a decade ago. Also, Kenyans and Ghanaians no longer feature, while Nigerians have increased their clout substantially.