Mapping where English is not the main language

Inspired by work undertaken by the Washington Post, we have used 2011 Census data to explore the extent to which English is not the main language used by residents across Warwickshire. The analysis has identified some interesting geographical patterns, highlighting the diverse communities we have in parts of the county and drawing attention to certain neighbourhoods where a notable proportion of the population does not have English as its main language.

Of particular interest is the unique nature of the diversity that exists in each of our towns. We have produced maps illustrating the specific make-up of language use in each of our main centres of population, and the individual character of each profile is striking.

To set the scene, here are some headlines on the subject:

  • Across Warwickshire as a whole, nearly 23,000 residents aged 3+ do not have English as their main language (just more than 4% of the county).
  • The key languages spoken by residents whose main language is not English are Polish (5,600 residents), Panjabi (3,100), Gujarati (1,400), Portuguese (950) and Nepalese (900).
  • The percentage of residents that do not have English as their main language ranges from 0% up to 49% at Output Area level.
  • There are nearly 70 different languages used as a main language across the county.

The maps that follow identify Output Areas where at least 10% of residents state that English is not their main language. These Output Areas have then been colour coded to reflect the ‘primary non-English language’ used in that neighbourhood. This is defined where at least 25% of those residents that do not have English as their main language state a particular language as their main language (such as Polish or Panjabi). For more details on the methodology behind these maps see the notes at the foot of this article.

Let’s look at some of the detail in individual towns…


The analysis for Rugby makes it clear that the dominant non-English language here is Polish. One third of all Output Areas in the town have Polish as the primary non-English language, with these areas being concentrated in the north and west of Rugby (New Bilton / Benn / Brownsover). The only other language of note is Gujarati, which is the main non-English language spoken in four Output Areas. Click on the map to see a full screen version.


Warwick & Leamington Spa

There are three key points to draw attention to here. Firstly, we see a large number of neighbourhoods were a notable proportion of the population has Panjabi as its main language, particularly in south Leamington Spa (Sydenham and Brunswick). Secondly, there are several areas where Polish is a prominent language, particularly in the Brunswick/Old Town area. The third point, which is unique to Leamington Spa, is the fact that many of the areas where English is not the main language for at least 10% of the population do not have a ‘primary’ non-English language. These areas are denoted by the grey shading in the map and are concentrated around the town centre itself.

In these areas, the range of languages spoken is particularly diverse and no single non-English language emerges as being dominant. The 16 Output Areas coloured grey cover a population of around 4,300 residents; 13% of which do not have English as their main language. A total of 49 different languages are quoted as being the ‘main language’ used by residents in these areas, none of which are the main language for more than 1.5% of the population.



The key finding of the analysis for Nuneaton is that the neighbourhoods where at least 10% of the population does not have English as its main language are all tightly clustered around the western side of the town centre (Abbey and parts of Wem Brook). Here, the key language other than English is Gujarati.

Another interesting aspect of the data for Nuneaton is that we see a small number of neighbourhoods where Nepalese is the primary non-English language spoken. This is unique to this part of the county and is associated with the Gurkha barracks at nearby Bramcote.



The analysis for Bedworth is relatively straightforward; there are just a small number of Output Areas where more than 10% of the population does not have English as its main language. These are concentrated in the southeast of the town (Poplar) and all have Panjabi as the primary non-English language.



In Stratford-upon-Avon, we see a small number of neighbourhoods where Polish is a prominent language. These are largely clustered in the north of the town centre.


Particular neighbourhoods of interest

As mentioned earlier, nearly all of the areas where 10% or more of the population do not have English as their main language are located within our main towns. There are, however, a small number of exceptions.

One of Warwickshire’s Output Areas, on the border with Coventry, contains halls of residence for the University of Warwick. Not surprisingly, these halls contain a highly diverse range of nationalities and languages. Here, more than 34% of residents stated that English was not their main language, and more than 50 different languages were quoted as main languages.


The Sydenham estate in Leamington Spa is also particularly notable. This contains the part of the county with the highest percentage of residents stating that English is not their main language (49%). In other words, nearly half of the residents in this specific Output Area do not have English as their main language. Neighbouring Output Areas across the estate also have high levels (see map).


So what?

This is the first time this information has been available from the census. How can it be used? Well, it is important for service providers to have an understanding of their customer profile and to recognise the diversity that exists within our communities. Of particular importance is the point that the nature of this diversity varies from town to town across the county, and that the way services and agencies interact and engage with residents needs to be tailored to suit local circumstances. On a very basic level, the provision of information and services in different languages, involving the need for translation services, is clearly needed in certain localities.

What does this mean for you?

We would be interested to hear whether this analysis matches your perceptions and experiences of living and working in Warwickshire. Does it surprise you? Does it have new implications for the way you design policy and deliver services? Please let us know via the comments section at the foot of this article.

Footnote – the techie detail

The data behind this blog article was taken from Table QS204EW of the 2011 Census release. This dataset provides estimates that classify usual residents aged 3 and over by their main language. More information can be found here.

The maps are produced using Output Areas as the geographical unit. Each Output Area is roughly the same size with on average 300 persons and at least 40 households. They are the smallest geographic unit for which census outputs are published and are the building blocks that are aggregated to form all higher geographical areas for which statistics are produced. Following revisions by ONS there are now 1,819 output areas in Warwickshire.

As mentioned in the main body of the article, it is important not to interpret the figures as representing residents that do not speak any English. The statistics relate to people whose main language is not English. Nationally, around three quarters of those people that said English was not their main language went on to describe themselves as ‘proficient’ in English.

This blog article focuses on those parts of the county where we see the greatest concentrations of residents that do not have English as their main language, typically our main towns. The full analysis has covered all parts of the county and further information for other parts of the county is available upon request at

More national analysis on this topic can be found in this Office for National Statistics video.

School Attendance – Essential for Raising Educational Standards

In a guest article from Emma Basden-Smith in the Business Intelligence (Children’s) team, we look at the latest release of data on school attendance levels across the county.

School attendance is essential for raising educational standards, and ensuring pupils maximise their opportunities and fulfil their potential. It is a legal requirement that the attendance of children of compulsory school age who are registered at a maintained school is both regular and punctual. Schools and the local authority have a duty to promote and enforce better school attendance and behaviour, address patterns of unauthorised absence, and support parents and pupils through intervention strategies. In Warwickshire, this is led by the council’s Attendance, Compliance and Enforcement Service (ACE).


In Warwickshire, and at a national level, published figures for the 2011/12 academic year indicate there have been decreases in two key measures of absence – the percentage of pupils who are persistent absentees (those who have missed around 15% or more of possible sessions; recently changed by the Government from a threshold of 20% to deal with the recognised impact persistent absenteeism has on learning), and the overall absence rate (incorporating both authorised and unauthorised absence).

Warwickshire’s overall absence rate decreased from 5.6% of possible sessions missed to 4.9%, remaining below the national overall absence figure of 5.1%. Figure 1 illustrates the differences in overall absence by school type.

Continue reading

The State of Stratford-on-Avon: Presentation to the Local Strategic Partnership

This morning, the Observatory gave a ‘State of the District’ presentation to the Stratford-on-Avon Local Strategic Partnership.  The presentation, put together with Stratford-on-Avon District Council, provided an overview of some of the key demographic, social and economic drivers affecting the district.

While emphasising that in broad terms the district continues to be an extremely desirable place to live and work, the presentation identified a series of issues that local partners might want to prioritise for attention over the next few years. It highlighted the pressures facing an ageing population, the mismatch between job vacancy types and the occupations jobseekers are looking for, housing affordability for the low paid and the extent of relative inequality that exists in certain parts of the district.

The presentation was followed by a number of workshops where partners were asked to identify future priorities for the district.

The slides can be viewed below, or for a pdf version containing the speaker notes please click here.

For more information on the material presented contact Spencer Payne at the Observatory (  For more details on the work of the LSP, visit their website or contact Jenny Murray (

Updated Local Profiles now available from the Office for National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has updated its Local Profiles.  If you haven’t seen earlier versions, the profiles provide local authority district level analysis on a number of economic and social related themes, and uses recently available key indicators based on existing published official statistics.

Analysis is provided for all upper and lower tier local authorities within England in the form of tables, graphs, and supporting text. An additional mapping capability shows the spatial pattern of selected indicators for the local authority and its surroundings.  The ONS explains that the profiles “aim to help local authorities use official statistics to better understand the economic, social and environmental picture for their area.”

You can see the profiles here.


Little movement in migration figures

Earlier this year, we presented some key statistics on migration flows in and out of our five districts (see the original post here).  New data, for 2011, has now been published so we have updated our analysis.

As you might expect, in the course of a year there have not been significant changes in the underlying pattern of population flows.  Warwickshire continues to be a net importer of population from elsewhere in England & Wales, with 24,350 people moving into the county during 2010/11.  Approximately 20,500 residents left the county for elsewhere during the same period.  This means we gained around 3,800 residents from migratory movements in the course of a year.

Coventry continues to be the main source of people migrating into the county, with 3,800 making that move during 2010/11.  Around one in six people that move into Warwickshire from elsewhere in England & Wales come from Coventry.  The flow is not one way though, with 2,200 moving from Warwickshire to Coventry over the same period.

Aside from Coventry, the key migration flows are actually within Warwickshire itself. As with 2009/10, nearly 4,000 residents of the county moved from one district to another. This trend is particularly apparent between Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon Districts and North Warwickshire and Nuneaton & Bedworth Boroughs. In 2010/11, nearly 1,600 people moved between the two southern districts, and more than 800 moved between the two northern boroughs. There is very little movement north to south or vice versa.

Continue reading

Special Video Report – Quality of Life in Warwickshire

A first for the Observatory! The WCC News Team has produced a short video explaining some of the key messages from our latest Quality of Life in Warwickshire Report.


Have you tried our interactive mapping tool?

Hopefully you have had the opportunity to take a look at our new Quality of Life in Warwickshire Report.  In previous years, one of the main areas of feedback we’ve received is the need to drill down below the headline county and district figures to see how these economic and social indicators play out at the very local level.

This year, to respond to this need, we have developed our new Instant Atlas tool.  This enables users to examine local data in a number of ways:

  • Identify specific parts of the county
  • Switch between different geographies, such as wards or Super Output Areas
  • Change the colour scheme to enable easier viewing
  • Change the way the data is presented, such as using quartiles or natural breaks to colour the areas
  • Turn background mapping on and off
  • Download the raw data behind the maps
  • Examine trend data at the local level where available
  • Compare areas with each other, including district and county comparisons

Throughout the report you will see our ‘interactive mapping’ button; by clicking on this you will be taken to the Instant Atlas tool.

In addition to this, the following links will take you directly to the specific maps you might be interested in:

Population Data

Workforce / Unemployment

Education & Skills

Income & Earnings

Community Safety




Deprivation & Need

We are really interested to hear your views on how helpful this function is.  It is the first time we have used it in this kind of report and we want to see whether it is meeting user needs.  If is considered useful we can begin to make it available more generally in other projects we do.  Alternatively, it may not be what you need at all, in which case let us know!

Please let us have your comments in the box below.