London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world with a population of 8.2 million at the 2011 census. From AD 50 when the city was known as Londinium and inhabited by Romans to the present day, it has been an immigrant mecca for people of different nationalities and cultures who have come to call London their home.
The idealised view of Britain that most tourists crave when they come to London is historic rather than current. The modern tourist will find examples of what being British is but the reality of the situation is that to truly experience British life you will have to visit outside London for a taste of the good life.
A lot of visitors to London come from little town’s and villages and get the shock of their lives with their first hand experience just how diverse London really is. We felt it right to educate our visitors so that they can enjoy a really ‘authentic’ London experience – a multi cultural London rather than any false or outdated text book representation.
Many Londoners are first, second or third generation immigrants. It is hard to tell this from looking at a person’s face but nonetheless once they open their mouths you will know who is a real Londoner and who is not. Make no mistake about that.
The 2011 census figures tell us that of the population in London, White British had a 45% resident share. There was also a 50% increase in the ‘white other’ group over the decade. So where are all the native British? When you walk on the streets of inner city London they are not noticeable.
This is because you will find most White British living on the outskirts of London or Greater London. (Havering, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton boroughs) and outside London in places like Kent and Essex. Please note that Essex is not in London and Kent is not in London.
A June 2014 report – Local Areas of Ethnic Group Concentration – published by the Greater London Authority came up with the following findings on ethnic groups in London using terms ‘Resident share’ and ‘Prevalence’.
In this report, the tables and maps refer to the ‘resident share’ and/or ‘prevalence’. The resident share is the specific ethnic group as a percentage of all usual residents. For example, the White British resident share was 45 per cent of all usual residents in London.
An ethnic group is considered to be prevalent in an output area if it has the largest share of usual residents.
The findings of the report reveal that the Asian ethnic group had the largest resident share in all four age categories. Asian was the largest ethnic group in Output Areas (OAs) in three of the four age categories (0 to 24, 25-49, 50 to 64 and 65+). The group White Other (which includes Eastern Europeans, Europeans) was the largest group in OAs aged 25-49 (44 per cent ).The Black group had second largest share in 3 age groups 0-24, 50-64 and 65+.
It becomes clear that ‘Inner London’ where most of these ethnic minorities live are the main groups that tourists will see in large numbers in London namely Asian, White Other and Black groups. White British remain the dominant group but not in inner London.
To get a flavor of what people thought of this topic on the streets of London, we spoke to a restaurateur in the West End of the City who stated:
‘The Asian immigrants and Eastern European migrants are now managers and skilled workers in London. It is the Spanish, Italians and Europeans who now want to do many of the low skilled work in the restaurant, work once categorized by other groups’.
London is a city that is ever changing and with Brexit looming, it will continue to metamorphosize into something totally unique to what we see today. Exciting times.