Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The persistence of ethnic clusters in Britain

Robert Winnett:

ARMENIAN immigrants and their descendants are the most successful ethnic group in the country, according to an analysis of “melting pot” Britain.

They are followed by the Japanese, Dutch and Greek Cypriots among the groups who are economically and socially most successful. Bangladeshi Muslims and migrants from Sierra Leone and Syria have fared worst.

The new analysis places the 42.2m adults registered to vote in mainland Britain in 200 ethnic groups — on the basis of a person’s surname and first name.

The information is linked to a marketing database to rank the socioeconomic status of each group. The system, Origins Info, is used by hospitals, retailers and charities to tailor their services to individual ethnic groups.

Its developers claim it is reliable even though most married women adopt their husband’s name and some immigrants may have changed their surname to avoid discrimination.

Richard Webber, a professor of spatial analysis at University College, London who developed Origins Info, said: “The patterns that this analysis have uncovered are striking. We are hoping it will prove a valuable tool for government and business.”

The system can also be used to identify where different ethnic groups live and the ethnic composition of the professions.

It reveals that Ripley in Derbyshire is the “most English” place in England with 88.58% of residents having an English ethnic background. The most diverse area is south Tottenham, in north London, which is home to 113 ethnic groups from Bretons to Vietnamese.

Southall in west London has the least English gene pool — just 17.82% of residents in the area nicknamed “little India” are of English ethnic origin.

Ian Smith, 63, a carpenter, who has lived in Southall since 1978, said: “Of the 90 or so houses in my street I would say there are fewer than 10 English families. Most are Sikhs but there are now more Somalis and quite a few Poles.

Sometimes I do feel slightly intimidated because it can feel like a foreign country at times. But we get on well with our neighbours who are both Sikhs.”

The analysis shows the persistence of ethnic clusters decades after the group first arrived in Britain. Greek Cypriots are concentrated in Broxbourne and Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire and Margate in Kent, Italians can be found in Bedford and Waltham Cross and the Dutch in Plockton in the Scottish Highlands and Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales.

Cardiff has a high concentration of Maltese residents because it was the port where many disembarked after naval service during the 1940s and 1950s. The Chinese are in Oxford, Harlow and Milton Keynes and Hispanics in Eastbourne, Crawley and Ascot.

Derbyshire town named 'most English' place in the country


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