Commentary: Ethno-demographic change in English local authorities, 1991-2011

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A commentary on a graphic submitted to the journal Environment and Planning A as one of its featured graphics. That graphic aims to capture various dimensions of population change within English local authorities from 1991 to 2011: the proportional increase in the Asian population, the decrease in the White British population, generally decreasing Asian - White British segregation within authorities on average but with that average concealing some increases in spatial heterogeneity: increased differences between some neighbouring small areas (and also increased differences between local authorities). To see the graph, please visit http://www.social-statistics.org/?p=1064

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Commentary: Ethno-demographic change in English local authorities, 1991-2011

  1. 1. Commentary:  Ethno-­‐demographic  change  in  English  local  authorities,  1991-­‐2011  Richard  Harris,  School  of  Geographical  Sciences,  University  of  Bristol,  University  Road,  Bristol.  BS8  1SS.  rich.harris@bris.ac.uk    A  well  reported  statistic  from  the  2011  Census  results  is  that  London  is  no  longer  a  majority  ‘White  British’  city:  it  is  44.9  per  cent  White  British,  down  from  59.8  in  2001.  That  decrease  of  14.9  percentage  points  is  the  greatest  of  any  English  region,  leading  to  reports  about  ‘white  flight’  and  ‘ethnic  cliffs’  –  one  report,  for  example,  contrasting  the  30  percentage  decline  in  the  White  British  population  in  the  local  authority  of  Redbridge  to  the  2  per  cent  increase  in  the  neighbouring  authority  of  Essex  (Hellen,  2013;  see  also  Goodhart,  2013).  Meanwhile,  other  commentators  observe  that  ethnic  segregation  appears  to  be  falling  in  England  (Catney,  2013)  with  a  lower  proportion  of  the  White  British  population  now  living  in  majority  White  neighbourhoods  than  they  did  in  2001  –  a  finding  also  true  of  London  (Johnston  et  al.,  2013).  These  reports  differ  in  emphasis  but  are  not  in  contradiction;  rather,  they  highlight  the  multiple  processes  driving  ethno-­‐demographic  change  across  the  country  and  how  these  can  be  interpreted  in  more  than  one  way.  A  graphical  challenge  is  to  present  the  Census  data  in  ways  that  allow  complex  stories  to  be  told.        Figure  1  is  a  screen  shot  from  one  of  a  number  of  Motion  Charts  viewable  from  http://www.social-­‐statistics.org/?p=1064  and  of  the  sort  popularised  by  Hans  Rosling  (www.gapminder.org);  here  implemented  using  Google  Docs.1  It  has  been  submitted  to  the  journal  Environment  and  Planning  A  for  consideration  as  a  
  2. 2. ‘featured  graphic’  (see  http://www.envplan.com/graphics_a.html  for  other  interesting  examples).    On  the  chart,  each  circle  represents  a  local  authority  where  at  least  three  per  cent  of  the  residential  population  classified  itself  as  Asian  in  the  1991,  2001  or  2011  Census  (specifically:  as  Bangladeshi,  Indian  or  Pakistani).2  The  increase  in  their  number  –  177  (of  326)  authorities  in  1991,  206  in  2001  and  236  in  2011  –  is  itself  revealing:  it  suggests  a  process  of  migration  out  from  more  traditional  centres  such  as  Tower  Hamlets  and  neighbouring  Newham  (Dench  et  al.,  2006)  towards  the  edges  of  the  Greater  London  conurbation  including  Epping  Forest,  Dartford,  Medway  and  beyond.    The  horizontal  axis  of  the  graph  indicates  the  residential  separation  of  the  Asian  from  the  White  British  population  within  each  authority  at  the  time  of  each  census.3  Its  measure  is  the  widely  used  dissimilarity  index  (Duncan  &  Duncan,  1955)  where  the  areal  units  for  the  calculations  are  the  census  small  area  statistics  for  each  of  the  local  authorities.4  At  each  census  the  distributions  of  the  Asian  and  White  British  populations  are  most  dissimilar  within  Oldham  but  by  2011  Burnley  –  which  saw  the  rate  of  decrease  in  its  White  British  population  accelerate  from  2001  –  had  a  level  of  segregation  increased  to  nearly  match  Oldham’s.  Both  were  amongst  the  cities  exhibiting  ethnic  tension  and  civil  disturbances  in  2001  (Cantle,  2001).    At  each  time  period  the  circle  is  shaded  according  to  the  proportion  of  the  resident  population  that  is  Asian.  In  2011  the  highest  proportions  are  in  places  
  3. 3. including  Tower  Hamlets,  Newham,  Slough,  Redbridge,  Leicester  and  Harrow.  From  2001  onwards  the  size  of  the  circles  indicate  the  intercensal  rate  of  change  in  the  White  British  population.  Both  Newham  and  Tower  Hamlets  appear  to  have  less  White  British  residents  in  2001  than  they  do  in  1991  and  their  number  falls  again  by  2011.  The  rate  of  loss  slows  in  Tower  Hamlets  whereas  in  Newham  it  increases.  The  latter  is  also  true  of  Leicester.  However,  in  Leicester  the  net  effect  of  White  British  losses  and  a  growing  Asian  population  is  that  the  dissimilarity  index  rises.  In  Newham  (and  Tower  Hamlets)  it  decreases.      The  fifth  and  final  dimension  of  the  graph  is  the  spatial  discontinuity  score  given  on  the  vertical  axis.  That  score  is  calculated  in  regard  to  the  Asian  –  White  British  populations  by  finding  the  greatest  dissimilarities  between  neighbouring  small  areas  within  local  authorities  and  then  averaging  over  the  top  ten  per  cent.5  The  greater  the  value,  the  greater  the  Asian  –  White  British  contrast  between  (some)  neighbouring  zones  within  each  authority.  Whilst  the  dissimilarity  index  suggests  that  Asian-­‐White  British  segregation  is  falling  on  average  within  local  authorities,  that  average  conceals  internal  heterogeneity  and  a  rise  in  the  differences  between  some  neighbouring  zones  over  the  decade  from  2001  to  2011.6  
  4. 4.        Figure  1.  An  example  of  using  a  Motion  Chart  to  explore  ethno-­‐demographic  change  in  English  local  authorities,  1991-­‐2011.    Software  used  The  maptools  and  spdep  libraries  in  R  (Bivand  &  Lewin-­‐Koh,  2013;  Bivand  et.  al.,  2013),  and  Google  Docs  Motion  Charts  Gadget.    Acknowledgments  
  5. 5. Census  output  is  Crown  copyright  and  is  reproduced  with  the  permission  of  the  Controller  of  HMSO  and  the  Queens  Printer  for  Scotland.  I  am  also  grateful  to  David  Manley  for  comments  on  earlier  versions  of  the  charts.    References  Bivand,  R.  with  contributions  by  Altman,  M.,  Anselin,  L.,  Assunção,  R.,  Berke,  O.,  Bernat,  A.,  Blanchet,  G.,  Blankmeyer,  E.,  Carvalho,  M.,  Christensen,  B.,  Chun,  Y.,  Dormann,  C.,  Dray,  S.,  Halbersma,  R.,  Krainski,  E.,  Legendre,  P.,  Lewin-­‐Koh,  N.,  Li,  H.,  Ma,  J.,  Millo,  G.,  Mueller,  W.,  Ono,  H.,  Peres-­‐Neto,  P.,  Piras,  G.,  Reder,  M.,  Tiefelsdorf,  M.,  &  Yu.,  D.  (2013)  spdep:  Spatial  dependence:  weighting  schemes,  statistics  and  models.  R  package  version  0.5-­‐56.  http://CRAN.R-­‐project.org/package=spdep  Bivand,  R.  &  Lewin-­‐Koh,  N.  (2013)  maptools:  Tools  for  reading  and  handling  spatial  objects.  R  package  version  0.8-­‐23.  http://CRAN.R-­‐project.org/package=maptools  Cantle,  T.  (2001)  The  Cantle  Report  -­‐  Community  Cohesion:  a  report  of  the  Independent  Review.  London:  The  Home  Office.  Catney,  G.  (2013)  Has  Neighbourhood  Ethnic  Segregation  Decreased?  The  Dynamics  of  Diversity:  evidence  from  the  2011  Census  Briefing.  Manchester:  Centre  on  Dynamics  of  Ethnicity  (CoDE).  Dench  G.,  Gavron  K.  &  Young,  M.  (2006)  The  New  East  End.  Kinship,  Race  and  Conflict.  London:  Profile  Books.  Duncan  O.  D.  &  Duncan,  B.  (1955)  Occupational  stratification  and  residential  distribution.  American  Journal  of  Sociology,  60  (5),  493  –  503.  
  6. 6. Goodhart,  D.  (2013)  White  flight?  Britain’s  new  problem  –  segregation.  Prospect,  February  2013,  pp.  30  –  31.  Hellen,  N.  (2013)  Britons  ‘self-­‐segregate’  as  white  flight  soars.  The  Sunday  Times,  January  27,  2013,  p.  15  Johnston,  R.,  Poulsen,  M.  &  Forrest,  J.  (2013)  Multiethnic  residential  areas  in  a  multiethnic  country?  A  decade  of  major  change  in  England  and  Wales.  Environment  and  Planning  A,  45  (4),  753  –  759.                                                                                                                    1  See  http://www.gapminder.org/upload-­‐data/motion-­‐chart/  for  a  simple  tutorial.  2  For  consistency  the  boundaries  and  names  of  the  local  authorities  as  of  2011  are  used  for  all  years  even  though  the  change  between  years  generally  is  slight.  3  White  British  was  not  used  as  an  ethnic  category  in  1991  although  it  was  in  the  2001  and  2011  Censuses  when  interest  in  immigration  from  other  parts  of  Europe  increased.  For  1991  the  White  British  population  is  estimated  as  those  who  classified  themselves  as  White  minus  those  born  in  Ireland.  It  will  be  an  over-­‐estimate  of  the  White  British  group.  4  The  index  will  reach  zero  if  the  share  of  the  authority’s  Asian  population  in  each  small  area  is  equal  to  the  share  of  the  White  British  population.  It  will  reach  one  if  all  of  the  areas  within  the  authority  contain  either  an  Asian  or  White  British  population  but  not  a  mixture  of  both.  5  The  index  will  reach  one  if,  in  the  ten  percent  most  extreme  cases,  one  zone  contains  no  White  British  residents  whilst  its  neighbor  contains  no  Asian  residents.  6  The  differences  between  local  authorities  also  appear  to  be  rising:  a  dissimilarity  score  of  0.30  in  1991,  0.34  in  2001  and  0.39  in  2011.  Only  authorities  where  the  percentage  of  the  population  that  is  Asian  is  at  least  three  per  cent  are  included  in  these  calculations.  

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