London’s Languages, Mapped By Tube Stop

London’s linguistic diversity is no secret, but it’s not easy to visualize all the different languages spoken in the city. A new map from Oliver O’Brien makes it easier by  showing the top languages other than English spoken at each tube station.

O’Brien, a researcher at the University College London Department of Geography, used 2011 census data and Open Street Map to create an interactive map of all of London’s tube stops, showing the top language (other than English, which is still the most commonly spoken language at every stop) spoken in a 200-meter radius of each station.

Each language has its own color, and the larger the circle, the higher the percentage of area residents who speak that language. Click on the individual stations for more detailed data about all the languages commonly spoken in that location.

As O’Brien notes in his blog, the map data makes it possible to come to some interesting conclusions about the areas around the different stops. For example,

[T]he most linguistically diverse tube station to be Turnpike Lane on the Piccadilly Line in north-east London, which has 16 languages spoken by more than 1% of the population there, closely followed by Pudding Mill Lane with 15 (though this area has a low population so the confidence is lower). By contrast, almost 98% of people living near Theydon Bois, on the Central Line, speak English as their primary language. English is the most commonly spoken language at every tube station, although at five stations – Southall, Alperton, Wembley Central, Upton Park and East Ham – the proportion is below 50%.

More importantly, O’Brien told the Guardian, the map makes the data more easily understandable and relatable for the average person:

“Conventional maps of demographic data can be quite abstract to look at – they can be quite hard to relate to where people live,” explains O’Brien. “By combining statistical data from the census with the familiar lines of the London Underground network, the graphic becomes more relatable to a city where everyone knows their nearest tube station.

For full access to the interactive map, click here.

London’s Top 5 Languages (Other Than English)

London businesses can ensure they connect with all of their customers by translating marketing material, advertisements and information as necessary.  With that in mind, here are the top 5 languages, other than English, spoken in the city.

Polish– Almost 2 percent of Londoners speak Polish as their primary language, according to the 2011 census.  The top tube stations for Polish speakers include Perivale, Hanger Lane, Greenford, Hanwell and Park Royal.

Bengali- Bengali is native to Bangladesh and to West Bengal, Tripura and Southern Assam in India. It is also the native language for 1.5% of Londoners. According to the map, you’re most likely to hear it spoken at the following tube stops: Shadwell, Whitechapel, Cambridge Heath, Devon’s Road, Bromley-by-Bow, All Saints, Poplar, and Bow Road.

Gujarati: Gujarati hails from the West Indian region of Gujarat. About 1.3% of the city’s populations speaks it, and you’re most likely to hear it at the following stations: Alperton, Wembley Central, Kingsbury and Queensbury.

French: About 1.1% of the population claims French as their primary language. French speakers tend to cluster around South Kensington, Gloucester Road and Earl’s Court, with smaller clusters located around the Green Park, Tottenham Court Road, and

Urdu: Spoken in Pakistan and parts of India,  Urdu is most commonly heard in London around the following stops: Walthamstow Central and Walthamstow Queens Road, Ilford, Seven Kings and Barking.

In a city as diverse as London, knowing who speaks what language in your target market is a definite business advantage. K International  can help translate your business communications into all of the languages listed above, and more.

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