Integration is not All or Nothing

Merton is a good place to take the pulse of multi-ethnic Britain. This unpretentious neighbourhood in south-west London, with about 200,000 inhabitants, is divided between the affluent Wimbledon – famous for its tennis tournament – and the poorer areas of Mitcham and Morden. Morden is located at the end of the tube line, and thus combines access to jobs across London with homes at relatively affordable prices – this is why the district has been a magnet for minorities over the past two decades.

Not so long ago, the district's poorer parts were full of plumbers and craftsmen. But Merton's minority population has increased from about 10 percent in 1980 to over 50 percent today. Merton’s primary schools, which as late as 2003, had a majority of white Britons, now have 70 percent ethnic minorities. Merton has, in the usual jargon, become "super-diverse".

As with the UK as a whole, the newcomers mostly come from southern Asia...

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David Goodhart

Skribent och verksam vid den brittiska tankesmedjan Policy Exchange.

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