Italians in London

When I moved to London in November I immediately noticed the sheer amount of conversations in Italian on the streets. Coming from San Francisco, where hearing my language on the streets was rarer than a lunar eclipse, I was quite surprised. I was obviously expecting to hear and see more Italians but it definitively felt like there were many more of my fellow citizen here than the last time I visited London many years ago.

I took the matter in my own hands and had a look at various data freely available. Since I am mostly interested in the younger generation, instead of taking the census which is compiled every 10 years, I had a look at the National Insurance Number (NIN) registration data, which is compiled yearly. If you want to work in the UK you need a NIN and I would expect younger people to request a NIN, though I don’t have the data to back this assumption up.

The following map shows the number of registration by borough in 2013, as you can see Tower Hamlet, Brent and Haringey have a particularly high number of registrations.

Figure 1

I wondered if that has always been the case so I faceted the map by year:

Figure 2

There are some interesting observations:

  • the number of registrations is going up over the years;
  • while the highest number of registrations came from Kensington until 2008-ish, from 2009 onwards there is a clear shift in the distributions of registrations by bouroughs.

The counts are based on the recorded address at the time of scan for that reporting period but some of the individuals may have subsequently moved out of the area or back abroad. In other words, take this visualizations with a grain of salt. There clearly is a pattern here but more data would be required to understand what caused the shift by borough.

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