Census: Maps show migration trends

Trends in migration are changing. Once, migrants from the same country tended to cluster in areas where they had relatives or friends.
But new maps of England and Wales, reveal that for more recent migrants this is no longer the case.

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The number of foreign-born residents in England and Wales has risen by nearly three million since 2001 to 7.5 million people, according to the 2011 census. The most common birthplaces outside the UK for residents are India, Poland and Pakistan and the Irish Republic.

In the graphic above, the top row of maps shows concentrations of foreign-born residents in local authorities across England and Wales, on a standard scale. The bottom row of cartograms, or 'equal-population maps', redraws the local authority areas according to population size.

Start Quote

People from Poland are in every local authority in the country, they are not clustering”

End Quote Pete Stokes ONS

London, for example, has a small area but large population and so appears much bigger in the population maps.

Professor Danny Dorling, of the University of Sheffield, explains how they help visualise the data:

"On the usual equal-area map of people born in India, only a few mostly urban 'dots' are visible. On the population cartogram you can see more of the detail - of how both London is large and of how the proportion of people born in India is highest in west London at over 9% in two places."

The maps show a large concentration of people from India in Leicester, Pakistan-born residents congregate around Slough and old northern mill towns such as Bradford and the Irish communities tend to be in the London area.

Statisticians say an interesting trend visible from the 2011 census data is that more recent immigrants, such as those from Poland, tend to be more widespread - following the work rather than the community.

Professor Dorling says people born in Poland are more spread about, but the cartogram also shows that even they are more concentrated in London than in East Anglia and Lincolnshire - areas often mentioned as having high numbers of Poles.

Economic migrants

The number of Polish-born people living in England and Wales has risen by almost 900% since the last census and they now make up 1% of the population - more than Irish-born residents.

Pete Stokes, census statistical design manager for the Office of National Statistics. says most of the Polish migrants tend to be younger, and more prepared to move for work.

"Polish migrants are driven by economics and they are going everywhere. People from Poland are in every local authority in the country, they are not clustering," he said.

Mr Stokes said it was difficult to predict whether that trend would change.

"The rate of migration to the UK has slowed down, there are fewer jobs and therefore less incentive to come. If the UK economy doesn't pick up and economies in the EU do, people who moved here to work may move on again," he said.

However, people from the Indian and Pakistani communities are less likely to move on because of the established family ties, in the UK.

non-UK born residing in the UK

Slough, in Berkshire, has the highest proportion of foreign-born residents in the South East - with well-established Asian communities and a large proportion of more recent migrants from Eastern Europe.

A spokesman for Slough Borough Council said diversity is celebrated in the area but a high migrant/transient population can be unpredictable

"With a large young population and high birth rate (one of the knock-on effects), service planning becomes very challenging, with particular pressures on housing and schools services, " he said.

But, he says, local businesses tend to see migration as a positive thing.

"One of the reasons people come to Slough is for work, so migration and employment are linked."

Historical ties

In Leicester, much of the Asian population is second or third generation - descendants of migrants who came to the city from East Africa in the 1970s.

Max Bowden, policy manager for Leicester Chamber of Commerce, says the city became knows as a community that embraced immigrants, primarily from East Africa.

Now, he says, second and third generation immigrants are assuming roles that require further education, despite being raised in households that were commonly supported by parents in trade positions, such as textiles and restaurants.

"Asian business workers are represented across all industries in Leicester, such as textiles, restaurants and hotels. There is also a high proportion working in more engineering, medicine, foreign banking and accounting."

More on This Story

Census 2011 results

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