London’s unique language landscape where 26% don’t speak English at home

crowd backs turnedMore than a quarter of Londoners don’t speak English at home.  The latest figures, for 2015, show that the proportion of people who choose another language as their first choice for speaking to family has risen to 26%.

This is a uniquely London phenomenon. Across the UK the rate is just 8.5%.  It is highest in the West Midland, where there is a significant immigrant population and in Wales, where Welsh speakers affect the numbers.

Not speaking English chart

The figures from the Office for National Statistics, based upon its Labour Force Survey,  reveal that in Newham 58% of people are using a language other than English at home. As previous data analysis by Urbs has shown, Newham is home to London’s largest Pakistani community and a significant Indian-born population.

In neighbouring Tower Hamlets, 41% are choosing another language at home above English.  The borough has the largest number of Bangladeshi-born people in the capital.

Not speaking English map

In north London, 45% in Harrow and 43% in Brent will speak other languages ahead of English among the family.  Both boroughs have large Indian-born populations.

Ealing is home to London’s largest Polish-born population, and a significant Indian-born community, which may explain why 38% of people use a language other than English at home.

The rates are only at or below the national average in 2 boroughs, Richmond and Havering.

According to the latest population estimates, 37% of Londoners, or 3 million people, were foreign-born while 23% or 2 million people are not British citizens.

This is leading to a multi-lingual city full of bi-lingual people.  Department of Education data, reported by Urbs, shows that nearly half the primary school children and 40% of the secondary pupils in London do not speak English as their first language. In some boroughs three quarters of the students speak English as a second language.

The concern for social inclusion is those who speak no English at all. Data from the last census in 2011 revealed that there are 45,000 people, mostly women, who say that they cannot speak the language.  The Prime Minister has announced a £20 million programme of English tuition but was criticised for his targeting of Muslim women, although they are the largest group.

Source data

See also

Our multi-lingual city – English second language for half of primary pupils

East London likely focal point for PM’s English tuition for Muslim women

London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa

Poles and Pakistanis help shape the multi-cultural make up of the city

East London likely focal point for PM’s English tuition for Muslim women

flag waving-2Almost 40% of the Muslim women who speak little or no English, targeted by David Cameron for language lessons, are living in London.

East London boroughs will need to be a particular focal point of the PM’s £20 million language tuition fund as around a third of Muslim women in Tower Hamlets and Hackney have English difficulties. Across the capital 17% of Muslim women speak little or no English.  They far outnumber the men.

Data from the 2011 census, which asked people about their religion and proficiency in English, shows that there are nearly 100,000 Muslims in London who say that their English is poor.  63% of them are women, the same proportion as for England.

A further 19,000 speak no English at all.  75% or 14,000 are women.  The majority are over 45.

No English Muslims

These figures also show that more than 2,000 of the non-English speaking Muslims are school-age children between 3 and 15.

Urbs looked at the data at borough level for Muslim women who are unable to speak any English. They are concentrated in East London in Tower Hamlets and Newham.

No English map

The Prime Minister has been criticised for singling out Muslim women in his pronouncement on the need for more English tuition to help combat extremism. Many people pointed out that his government previously cut the budget for English tuition for migrants.  While Muslim women are the largest group, people of other faiths also lack a command of English.

The census data shows that the second biggest faith group for non English speakers is Christians. More than 12,000 do not speak English, quite evenly divided between men and women. There are also more than 5,000 Hindus, largely women, who do not speak English.

non Englsih all faiths

The latest data for all these figures comes from 2011, since when there has been a large influx of people coming to work in the UK from Central and Southern Europe.  Many have limited ability in English.

The PM chose to target Muslim women in linking command of English with combating extremist views, but the broader problem of a lack of language skill and its impact upon society and the workforce may be a bigger, multi-faith or no faith problem.

Source data

See also

Our multi-lingual city – English second language for half of primary pupils

London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa

Poles and Pakistanis help shape the multi-cultural make up of the city

What National Insurance really tells us about London’s overseas workforce

 

 

Our multi-lingual city – English second language for half of primary pupils

pupils listen to story-2Nearly half the primary school children and 40% of the secondary pupils in London do not speak English as their first language. In some boroughs three quarters of the students speak English as a second language.

Data from the Department for Education shows how numbers have increased across the country since 2007, but the multi-national make up of London stands out. Across the country 19% of primary pupils have English as a second language. In the South West and North East it is just 7%. In London the average is 49%.

English second lang primary

The picture is similar for secondary school students. 15% of pupils across England are, using the Depart for Education criteria, known or believed to have a first language other than English. In London it is 41%.

English second lang secondary

London is broadly a multi-lingual city with 50% or more primary pupils speaking English as a second language in 16 of the 33 areas. Tower Hamlets and Newham have the highest proportion, 75%. The levels are also high in richer areas like Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and the City of London.

English second lang map

The proportion is only in line or lower than the national average in the outer boroughs of Havering, Bexley and Bromley.

Source data

See also

Schools data reveals ethnic mix with fall in proportion of white British pupils

Private school? Depends where you live

Newham formally lists fewer kids for special needs support than other boroughs