The map above quite simply shows which language, besides English, has the most speakers in each of London’s 32 boroughs + The City. The map was found via reddit and is based on data from the 2011 UK Census found here (excel spreadsheet; 1mb).
My guess is that you’re probably not shocked by the second languages in the boroughs you’re familiar with, but you may be a bit surprised by others.
I’ve walked all over London and I’m still slightly surprised by the following:
- French being the second language of the City. Not sure what I expected to be honest.
- Portuguese being the second language of Lambeth and Spanish being the second language of Southwark, especially given that Portuguese speakers are to the west of Spanish speakers.
- Despite living in Camden, I’m a little surprised to see Bengali as the second language. If I’d had to guess I would have said Arabic.
- Greenwich is probably the biggest surprise of all, I would not have thought there would be a big enough concentration of Nepalese speakers to be the second most common language.
And just in case you’re wondering how the numbers breakdown:
- Polish: 7 boroughs – (Barnet, Bromley, Ealing, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, and Wandsworth)
- Turkish: 4 boroughs – (Hackney, Islington, Haringey, Enfield)
- Bengali: 3 boroughs – (Camden, Newham and Tower Hamlets)
- French: 3 boroughs – (The City, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea)
- Punjabi: 3 boroughs – (Bexley, Hillingdon and Hounslow)
- Tamil: 3 boroughs – (Croydon, Kingston and Sutton)
- Gujarati: 2 boroughs – (Brent and Harrow)
- Urdu: 2 boroughs – (Redbridge and Waltham Forest)
- Lithuanian: 2 boroughs – (Barking and Havering)
- Arabic: 1 borough (Westminster)
- Nepalese: 1 borough (Greenwich)
- Portuguese: 1 borough (Lambeth)
- Spanish: 1 borough (Southwark)
In total, 14 boroughs have second languages from within the EU, 14 boroughs have second languages from countries in the Indian sub-continent and 5 have speakers from elsewhere.
Want to join us in one of the world’s most diverse cities? Then read: