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Title: Names, Ethnicity and Populations
Authors: Pablo Mateos
Keywords: Populations
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Springer
Description: The research which conforms this book started in autumn 2004 in London, UK and its writing ended in early 2013 in Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2004 I used to live and work in the London Borough of Camden where this book’s gestation took place. Walking a few hundred meters around Camden one seemed to be travelling around the world, given its diversity of people, smells, foods, clothes, or music, switching continents as you turn a street corner and listen to tens of languages in every bus ride. However, ethnic diversity in Camden also reflects stark wealth inequalities, home to some of the richest postcodes in the country lying next door to the poorest neighbourhoods in national rankings. At the time I was analysing health inequalities by ethnic group in Camden, as part of a research project between geographers at University College London and epidemiologists at Camden National Health Service (NHS). It was then that I quickly became dissatisfied with the UK Census ethnic group classification, commonly used to produce all sorts of official statistics by population researchers in the UK. It was, and still is, a broad-brush classification of humanity into eight major groups of “ethnic origin”. Its simplicity clearly fails to represent the wide range of ethnic groups present in Inner London. These are by all means no small population groups. For example, 40 % of pupils in London schools speak a language at home other than English, covering a total of 322 different languages (Von Ahn et al. 2010). The wide-spread use of the census ethnic group classification reified deeply-rooted stereotypes and expectations of ethnic disadvantage in British society. For example, a wealth of evidence in population studies points at Bangladeshis as the poorest, most segregated group, presenting the worst health outcomes in London. Because Bangladeshis comprises an ethnic group on their own in the census form, they get all the good and bad attention in academia and public policy. Meanwhile in Camden an equally sized group, the Somalis, complained of not getting the same level of resources because they were ‘statistically hidden’ under the all-encompassing ‘Black African’ group. As in-depth analyses of the 2001 Census unfolded at the time, the intrinsic characteristics and needs of tens if not hundreds of ethnic, national, linguistic, religious, and geographic groups were being ignored in London.
ISBN: 978-3-642-45413-4
Appears in Collections:Population Studies

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