New Census data – London’s religious concentrations

So, today the ONS treated us with some brand spanking new Census data, all the way down to Output Area level (zones of about 150 to 500 people).

The data contains some interesting headline facts and some fascinating spatial patterns…

For example, fact fans, in London there are 173 people for whom ‘Heavy Metal’ is their religion. There are 85 Druids. Only 64 Scientologists (which is surprising considering how often they bug me as I walk down Tottenham Court Road!). 5,637 Jedi Knights (although no Sith). 27 total nut-jobs who are into Witchcraft – exactly half the number who are Satanists.

As always, it’s a bit of a race for the geography geeks to get their maps out first – I’m sure James Cheshire has probably already beaten me to this and got his map in the Evening Standard already, but here are some of my first rough and ready efforts…

What have I chosen to map? Religion of course (what else?!)! It’s always quite an interesting thing to look at, especially in London and especially since the enlightened now count for a much larger percentage of the population than ever before!

I’ve decided to use Location Quotients –  First introduced to me quite a few years ago now by the legendary Phil Rees (the actual material he used can still be found online here if you’re interested) – as they are quite a nice way of getting to grips with the relative concentrations of different groups across an area.

The LQs I’ve calculated here use the whole of London as a base, with values <1 (grey) indicating a lower concentration in that particular OA for the variable in question, and values >1 indicating a higher concentration.

So what have we got? Well, as a card-carrying atheist of course I’m going to be interested in where the godless are concentrated:



Far more godless in South London by the looks of things…

And Christians?



Not very many in Islington and Camden – not sure how this compares with the concentrations of Satanists and Heavy Metallers (and I doubt a causal link!)

And the last one for now – Muslims…



Apologies for no real analysis as such, but I’m sure we’ll see plenty emerge as more people get their mitts on the data… I may also post a few more tomorrow if I have time!

2 thoughts on “New Census data – London’s religious concentrations

  1. Can’t help noticing that my people (Jews) don’t get a chart. I am now officially glad to be an American- I bet if this was an American blog about a major American city, we’d get one!

    • Is this a serious comment? No, really, are you being serious? Well done for topping the table for idiotic comments written on my blog (and that includes all bot posts and posts letting me know that an unknown person living in West Africa will wire a million dollars into my account if I just give them my bank details!)

      I’m not sure what you’re implying here? That because I’m not American I deem Jews not worthy of inclusion in my blog? That’s quite a leap. If the giant chip on your shoulder had not obscured your vision, you may have noticed my last sentence which reads “I may also post a few more tomorrow if I have time!” What does that suggest to you. Maybe that I DIDN’T HAVE TIME to generate and post a few more maps?

      I’ve only just found this comment, but whadayaknow – in the intervening period I’ve actually posted a map of the concentrations of “YOUR PEOPLE”, along with maps of all of the other major religions that can be found in London.

      Oh, and FYI, if I had made a decision about whether or not to include particular religions/non-religions based upon their numbers (which I didn’t, but could have), and thus their likely interest to a casual reader, then my original three maps would have been perfectly valid:

      % Population by religion (Top 10 in London)

      Christian 48.41
      No religion 20.28
      Muslim 12.40
      Not stated 8.48
      Hindu 5.03
      Jewish 1.82
      Sikh 1.54
      Buddhist 1.00
      Jedi Knight 0.26
      Jainism 0.18

      You’ll notice how pretty insignificant the Jewish population is in London (interestingly, only 7 times more important, in population terms, than the Jedi Knights!)

      If it was an American post about an American city, I concede it may have been different – it may have been a post about the distributions of people who don’t have a right to basic health care; or perhaps a post about the number of gun-related crimes; or a post about income inequality; or a post about prison population; or a post about obesity; or a post about life exectancy; or a post about ethnic segregation; or a post about whether or not people accept the science of global warming. I could go on!!!

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