March 27, 2013 3 Comments
What is diversity? At a meeting last night I listened to a contribution from a Westborough councillor where the claim was made that his ward was the most diverse in the borough. Now, this sort of statement always makes my ears prick up – if for no other reason than I like rigour when so-called facts are stated. My immediate thought was that I must check this out, and then it occurred to me that there are potentially many ways of describing diversity.
Since we all are unique it could be argued that each ward is equally diverse. However, rather than be deliberately abstruse I will stick to accepted definitions.
The first, and perhaps most obvious, measure is ethnicity. The ward with the lowest ‘white’ population could be taken as the most diverse (here on I will use data from the 2011 census), and Westborough does not come top in this.
Based on ethnic group Victoria is the most diverse ward.
Religion could also be used as an indicator. Taking ‘Christian’ as the norm, the lowest ‘Christian’ population could be construed as making that ward the most diverse.
Based on religion Kursaal is the most diverse ward.
Another diversity indicator is language. Using ‘English’ as the norm the number of households where all people aged 16 and over in the household have English as a main language would be a fair measure of diversity.
Based on household language Milton is the most diverse ward.
Marriage is becoming less of a cultural norm, but it dominates many people’s waking thoughts. Using the number of married households as a measure perhaps describes a type of diversity.
Based on living arrangements Kursaal and Milton are the most diverse wards.
Perhaps the Westborough councillor has another measure he wishes to employ, but I suspect that he is just sloppy in his research. Westborough is not the most diverse ward in Southend-on-Sea, although it admittedly comes high in most measures. Kursaal, Victoria and Milton all have superior claims to the title of most diverse – and I am not about to award any ward that particular prize.
In the same meeting, as part of the same discussion, this same Westborough councillor made the rather astonishing statement that he thought that all parents and children should address each other using English. Whilst I think all should use English in wider communications, I think it no-one’s business what language is used amongst family members.