Working Paper

Elephant and Castle: Mapping (Super-)Diversity in the 2011 UK Census

Published 21 November 2018 / By Anna Krausova

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This paper charts the nature of ‘diversity’ in an inner London neighbourhood, Elephant and Castle, as part of a research project aiming to capture the new urban realities of superdiverse neighbourhoods. It does so by evidencing and mapping the multiple axes of difference—along variables related to ethnicity, migration and socio-economic status— through examining the characteristics of the area’s population based on the 2011 England and Wales Census. Such a multi-faceted approach is essential if we are to try and better understand both the structure of diversity and the lived experience of difference. The ongoing academic interest in diversity and the recent preoccupation with super-diversity highlight the need for continued attention to the multiple and intersecting facets of difference. The census data offer an unparalleled opportunity to do so and in particular to obtain a snapshot of the population in small geographical areas. The analysis shows the Elephant and Castle area to be a super-diverse area within an already highly diverse part of London. Moreover, the Elephant and Castle is not homogenous, as shown by a spatial analysis based on the characteristics of individual census output areas (OAs). As such, this report shows the usefulness of using census data in order to explore small geographical areas, but also highlights its drawbacks, paving the way for further qualitative explorations of the nature of super-diversity in urban areas.


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