London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa

crowd backs turnedThe United Nations has 193 members, Fifa has 209 national associations but for truly comprehensive international diversity look no further than a list of the places of birth of Londoners.

With 268 places listed the city appears to be home to people from every conceivable corner of the planet and some not even born on terra firma. 1 person claims to have been born ‘in the air’, which we assume means on board a plane and 25 were born at sea.

The data is contained within the last census for the UK in which people were asked to identify their place of birth. The large number of places, in excess of UN recognised countries, is partly a product of people naming countries that no longer exist, such as Yugoslavia or the USSR or being less specific in naming Africa or the Caribbean as their place of origin.

People born in the UK have mostly been more specific in identifying the nation of their birth. As a result we know that the vast majority of Londoners, some 61% of the population, were born in England. Nearly 90,000 Londoners, just over 1% of the population, were born in Scotland. The Irish outnumber the Scots,  there are nearly 130,000 of them, plus nearly 33,000 born in Northern Ireland.

After England, the second most popular place of birth is India with just over 3% of the population. An imperial history is very evident with Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jamaica and Sri Lanka all featuring in the top 10 places of birth.

Anecdotally we know there are many Polish people working in London. The census data puts that into numbers – nearly 2% of the population, and Poland is the third most commonly cited place of birth for Londoners.

Population of London by place of birth
Position Place of Birth Number
1 England 4,997,072
2 India 262,247
3 Poland 158,300
4 Ireland 129,792
5 Nigeria 114,718
6 Pakistan 112,457
7 Bangladesh 109,948
8 Scotland 89,537
9 Jamaica 87,467
10 Sri Lanka 84,542

After the top 10 there is a significant drop in numbers to France in 11th place with 66,654.

Source data

See also

London drives UK population growth

Booming population will struggle to find a place to liv