Thousands of women and girls with FGM living across London

Adjura had FGM reversal surgery before the birth of her daughter Dfid-Jesiica Lea Wikimedia commons-1

Adjura had FGM reversal surgery before her daughter’s birth. Photo: Jessica Lea/Dfid

As many as 87,000 women and girls living in London may have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). They range from young children to women over 50 and make up 60% of all women with FGM in the UK.

The borough of Southwark is believed to have the highest number of females affected with an estimated 6,900. Brent has 6,024 and there are nearly 5,000 in both Lambeth and Newham.

The data comes from a study by City University and the human rights organisation Equality Now. They found that there are women and girls with FGM in all local authorities across the country but the 10 boroughs with the highest rates were all in London.


Outside London there is a high incidence in parts of Manchester, Birmingham, Slough, Bristol and Leicester.

Female genital mutilation involves the removal of all or part of the external female genitalia. In many African countries it is traditional practice carried out to control female sexuality and is often linked to the marriageability of girls and family “honour”.

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London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa

Fewer babies born last year but birth rates vary across city

Women undergoing FGM suffer severe pain and the procedure can cause shock, haemorrhage, and fatal infections.  Longer term, women suffer can suffer chronic pain.

The study used survey data gathered by Unicef and USAID on the prevalence of FGM in 28 African countries plus Iraq and Yemen. In some countries, particularly in the horn of Africa, such as Somalia, FGM is near universally carried out.

Researchers applied this prevalence data to information from the 2011 census on the females born in these countries living in the UK.

Professor Alison Macfarlane of City University said: “These estimates have limitations as they assume that the women who have migrated are typical of women in their country as a whole which may well not be the case. They are needed as it is difficult to collect data directly about the numbers of women affected.”

The study was funded by the Home Office and the charity The London Trust. The purpose of the study is provide information for professionals to plan support service for women with FGM and safeguard those at risk.

The study also looked at the number of daughters born to women with FGM as these girls may be at particular risk. Researchers estimate that between 2005-13 nearly 31,000 girls were born to mothers with FGM in London.

Female genital mutilation was made criminal offence in the UK in 2003 but to date there has been no successful prosecution.

Source data

Why the Mayor thinks busking should be music to our ears

2015-07-18 14.19.56-1-2For some, busking is a noisy nuisance that obstructs the pavements. For others it is an essential part of the vibrancy of London. The Mayor and the GLA are on a mission to increase busking but some boroughs seem unconvinced and it remains a contentious issue open to local rules and by-laws.

City Hall’s promotion of busking steps up a gear throughout the next few weeks with the Busk in London festival until August 8th. It kicked off on Saturday 18th July, which was National Busking Day, if you didn’t know. In the coming weeks a large number of performers will showcase their talents in high profile locations like Trafalgar Square.

But away from festival time the rules on busking and its public acceptability are complex. London has a number of ‘official’ busking pitches, though the GLA dislikes using the term official as it points out that busking is legal on any public land in the UK.

The GLA told Urbs that there are currently 70 established pitches which include 39 in the London Underground, 14 on the Southbank, 11 around Covent Garden, 4 in Hillingdon Town Centre, 1 at One New Change Shopping Centre near St Paul’s and 1 at the O2 Centre on Finchley Road.

See also

Where the arts-loving Londoners live – not in Newham

Good news for tourists and Londoners as city dominates for visitor attractions

For buskers the problems centre on knowing when a location is on public land and whether their act is causing an obstruction or a noise nuisance, when a number of different laws may be used to move them on.

The GLA has tried to combat this by producing a Buskers’ Code to help potential performers choose a pitch and build up a good relationship with local people.

So far just 6 of the 33 boroughs have signed up – Westminster, Islington, Southwark, Hounslow, Kingston and Redbridge.

Camden, known for its music venues, has sought to restrict busking by introducing a license scheme and £1,000 fines for anyone caught busking without one.

Busking is not allowed at all in the City of London. The Corporation sites the Police & Factories (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 as the reason why.

The GLA says it is hopes to sign up more boroughs to its code soon and is talking to Network Rail about pitches at the big main railway stations.

It estimates that about 1,000 buskers are regularly performing in London. TfL says that performers at its 39 marked pitches at 25 Tube stations provide 100,000 hours of music for commuters each year.

If the Mayor, Boris Johnson, has his way their be more music and street theatre. In launching the code of conduct and his annual Gigs busking competition for under 25s he said: ”’Busking adds to the capital’s joie de vivre, but in spite of its popularity, buskers have sometimes encountered problems when plying their trade.”

The GLA estimates that music tourism generates £600 million for the London economy each year and that live performances enhance public spaces. And if City Hall gets its way you’ll be seeing a lot more of it.


Mapping Londoners: Born in China

Chinatown gate

Chinatown – home to many, not to most

Chinatown is a well-known London landmark with fake pagodas and red lanterns displayed along the restaurant-crammed area around Gerrard Street, just north of Leicester Square.

This area is within Westminster, which is home to 1,700 Chinese-born Londoners. But the last census shows that far more live in Tower Hamlets and Southwark. Of the 39,000 Chinese-born people spread across the capital, more than 6,500 live in these two boroughs.

born in china

Source data

More population maps

Mapping Londoners: Born in Nigeria

People born in Nigeria are the biggest group of black people by place of birth after those born in England. There are nearly 115,000 Nigerian-born Londoners, making them easily the largest African-born group, ahead of Somalis and Ghanaians. There are around 25,000 more Nigerian-born Londoners than Jamaican-born Londoners – the second largest black group by place of birth who were born outside England.

Southwark has the largest number of Nigerian-born people, followed by Greenwich and Lewisham. They are also the biggest non-English born group in Barking and Dagenham.

Born in Nigeria

Source data

More population maps

London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa



The battle for Elephant and Castle – do we need more estate agents?

Photo: © Thinglass |

Photo: © Thinglass |

Campaigners at the Elephant and Castle are trying to stop the pub that gave the area its name being turned into a branch of the estate agency Foxtons. The site has been re-developed over the years so the current building could not be described as historic, but a pub has stood on the site for around 250 years.

Foxtons has put forward plans to turn the rather dilapidated building into an estate agency but has been met with a hostile response by a number of local residents, and squatters have now occupied the building.

Foxtons has 3 branches in the borough and another in Brixton, less than 3 miles away. But is there a shortage of estate agents in this area of London? Urbs decided to look at some data.

The largest property portal in the UK is Rightmove. It lists many but not all estate agents, so while it under-estimates total numbers it provides a baseline for comparison. Using Rightmove’s search tool we checked the number of sales and letting agents in Southwark. There are 141. In neighbouring Lambeth there are 126 and in Lewisham to the east there are 98.

London, you’ll probably not be surprised to hear, is really rather well served for estate agents. The largest number is in Westminster with 310 according to Rightmove, but outside of the centre Wandsworth takes the crown with 237 agents listed

estate agents

The total listings for London were 4,111. In comparison, Greater Manchester has 862 and the West Midlands 753. London has a much larger population that these urban areas, but if you use a ratio of estate agents to households London has 1 agent for every 800 households, in Greater Manchester it’s 1 for every 1,300 and in the West Midlands it is 1 for every 3000 households.

As our map reveals, if you want to avoid estate agents in London best move to Barking and Dagenham, if you can find someone to sell or let you a home, that is.

See also

Help to Buy offers little help for those seeking a home in London

Urban chic or leafy charm? Inner city rentals catch up with affluent areas

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

dreamstime_s_6081706London has long been an ethnically diverse city and data from primary schools reveal the recent trends in the population groups and where they live.

Over the past 7 years the proportion of primary school children who are classified as white British has gone down from 37% to 27%. In comparison, the average figure for the rest of England is 69%. The biggest change in any ethnic group over the period has been the increase in children classified as white non-British. This group has increased from 8.9% of primary age children in 2007 to 13.4% today and can be explained by the arrival of people from EU countries.

As our chart shows, there has also been an increase in children of mixed race and children classified as Asian. Most of the growth in the Asian group is in Pakistani children, rising from 3.7% in 2007 to 4.4% today. The proportion of Indian and Bangladeshi children has changed little.

Primary pupils ethnic mix

The proportion of Black children in primary schools has remained steady at around 20%. In 2007 African children were roughly twice the number of Caribbean children. Their numbers have grown and the proportion of children of Caribbean origin has fallen slightly.

Urbs used the data produced by the Department for Education to map the city, revealing the broad patterns of population.

There are significantly higher proportions of white British children in the outer boroughs in the south and the east. In Havering it is 68% yet in nearby Newham a tenth of that. There are high proportions of white British children in Bexley, Bromley, Sutton and Richmond.

Primary pupils white brit

The proportions of non-British white children are more evenly spread but with much higher concentrations in the northern boroughs of Enfield, Haringey, Brent and Waltham Forest.

Primary pupils white other

Asian families coming to London have long settled in the East End. That legacy lives on and 65% of primary pupils in Tower Hamlets are classified as Asian. Newham and Redbridge also have a high percentage of Asian children, as does Harrow in the north west of the city.

Primary pupils asian

The black population is more uniformly spread with highest proportions south of the river in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. Richmond and Kingston have very few black pupils.

Primary pupils black


Source data

See also:

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

London leads in places for poorer students

Private school? Depends where you live

London drives UK population growth


Where 22,000 cars were stolen in the capital last year

dreamstime_s_27170312Wandsworth is the car crime capital coming top of the list of the 32 boroughs where a total of 22,000 cars were stolen last year.  Wandsworth wins the accolade only narrowly as car theft is spread quite evenly across the city and only 5 boroughs have fewer than 500 cars stolen. In comparison, cycle theft is far more focused on central areas, perhaps reflecting  a higher number of inner city cyclists and where commuters leave their bikes for the day.

Data from the Metropolitan Police for the 12 months to March 2015 shows that car theft went up by 8% on the previous 12 months. 1,052 cars were taken in Wandsworth, and Newham was just 5 cars behind. But, as our map shows, the pattern of theft was quite evenly spread with a few more dark areas in the east than west.

Car theft

Lowest levels were in the south west but the safest place to park a car was Harrow, with just 195 taken in the period.

Bike theft is focused on the centre of the city. 17,300 cycles were stolen in the 12 months to March 2015, a fall of 7%.  Westminster was the most likely place to lose you bike, with 1,296 taken followed by Hackney with 1,282 stolen cycles. These 2 boroughs, plus Camden, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Lambeth form a central ring that accounted for nearly half the cycle thefts.

Bike theft

After these areas the most worrying place to park your bike in a rack were the western boroughs of Wandsworth, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham.

The outlying boroughs of Havering and Bexley saw the lowest bike theft figures.

Source data

See also:

Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes

Traffic constant, profits up – a congestion charge story

Crime Report: Southwark

All major categories of crime are above average rates in Southwark. The overall crime rate is fueled by a high rate of drug offences and robbery. There were 2,739 drug offences, that’s 82% above the London average. Robbery was 62% higher than average.

Southwark recorded 30,000 crimes in the 12-months ending March 2015, according to data from the Metropolitan Police, giving a rate of 98 crimes per 1000 people. This is 20% above the London average of 81.

Crime report Southwark

Rape is above average in the borough, with 27% more offences than the rate for London. The high number of theft offences includes more than 1,000 stolen cycles, 79% above average.

A few sub-categories of crime were below average levels. While burglary is a little above London rates burglary from a dwelling is 12% below. Theft from a motor vehicle and criminal damage are also below city wide levels.

There were 2 murders in the period

Source data

More crime reports

Are you a north of the river or south of the river Londoner?

© Yolfran |

Photo: © Yolfran |

There’s a sort of convention in London that you are either a north of the river person or a south of the river person. Wherever you were born in the capital, or where you first lived when you arrived sets a pattern for the area of the city that you call home.

But is there any truth to this? Surely it is only vampires and cab drivers late at night that seem unable to cross running water. Londoners must be more mobile?

So to test the theory at Urbs London we decided to dig into the data on borough to borough moves around the city. Were people really partisan in their choice of Crouch End over Clapham or Southwark over Hackney? Here’s what we found.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics on local authority migration is for 2013 and it shows that 361.000 people moved between London boroughs. With 32 boroughs plus the City of London there are 1,000 possible permutations for those moves. Only 24 of these “routes” saw more than 2,000 people. Here’s the top 10.


Area From To Number
N Haringey Enfield 4,210
N Newham Redbridge 3,770
S Southwark Lewisham 3,650
S Lambeth Wandsworth 3,530
S Wandsworth Lambeth 3,380
S Lambeth Southwark 3,350
S Greenwich Bexley 3,340
N Ealing Hillingdon 3,320
S Wandsworth Merton 3,160
N Brent Harrow 3,020

Most “routes” involve people moving to a neighbouring borough. And there is a general pattern in the “routes” of people moving a step further out from the centre of the city.

We did find some people venturing across the river. 1,880 people from Hammersmith and Fulham moved the other side of Wandsworth Bridge. 1,670 people swapped Hounslow for Richmond, and 1,290 people went the other way, but as Richmond straddles the Thames it is not possible to check if they did cross the river.

The significant movements across the river were between neighbouring boroughs, and those from further afield are measured in hundreds. Only 130 people, for example, wanted to swap Alexandra Palace for Crystal Palace.

So, not crossing running water – make that vampires, cab drivers and most Londoners.

Source data

Go east young man – it’s where young London lives

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live


Nearly half UK’s HIV patients are living in London

HIV test

Just under half the people in the UK living with HIV are in London.  The latest data from Public Health England shows that of the 68,664 people who were diagnosed as HIV positive, 31,393 were living in the capital.

The prevelence of HIV in the population of England is 2.14 people per 1000.  In London it is 5.7.  A borough-level breakdown of the numbers for 2013 shows that Lambeth and Southwark have the highest rates by some margin.  There are 3,342 people in Lambeth being treated and 2,692 in Southwark.

The proportion for the City represents just 57 patients. The only boroughs where patient rates are below the England average are Havering and Kingston.

HIV map

The data is based on the number of people aged 15-59 living with a diagnosed HIV infection who are resident in a local authority area and who were seen for HIV care at an NHS site.

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.  It weakens a person’s immune system, damaging the ability to fight off diseases.  The virus was first diagnosed in 1982. It is treated with drugs that stop the virus reproducing but do not cure the infection.  Patients with HIV need continuing treatment, which is now so effective that those diagnosed are seeing normal life expectancy.

Source data

See also:

Sexual infection map shows problems for Lambeth and Southwark

For more information on living with HIV see Terrence Higgins Trust