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And you can fit the entire world's population, shoulder to shoulder, on the Isle of Wight
July 21, 2009 7:46 AM   Subscribe

What if we condensed the UK into a village of 100 people? The Independent experiment with demographics.
posted by mippy (111 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
WHO IS NUMBER ONE?
posted by klangklangston at 7:56 AM on July 21, 2009 [11 favorites]


If Britain were a village of 100 people, there would only be 6.8 CCTV cameras.

I don't know how they expect to catch all 27 paedophiles in the village with less than 7 cameras.
posted by barnacles at 8:01 AM on July 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


British journalist believes readers will not understand concept of percentages.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:02 AM on July 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


84 of them would live in England, eight in Scotland, five in Wales and three in Northern Ireland.
British journalist does not understand concept of "village"
posted by fightorflight at 8:05 AM on July 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


"Five villagers would be employed in the food industry.

Five men and four women would have had multiple sex partners in the previous year. "

That Venn Diagram is both sexy and delicious.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:07 AM on July 21, 2009


Does this village have a good record store? That's really all I need to know.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:09 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ninety-two of the villagers would be white. Two would be black, two Indian, one Pakistani, one of mixed race and two would be of other races.

Huh. That is a far higher amount of white villagers than I would have expected.
posted by liquorice at 8:11 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see this applied to Metafilter.

Also - Awesome article.
posted by seanyboy at 8:18 AM on July 21, 2009


Britain is more white than many people realise, including its residents. I only discovered this after taking a visiting American friend to a concert and her telling me it was "so white it feels like a Klan rally". So I looked up the stats, and they're surprisingly poor. Especially given the anti-immigrant clamour in parts of the press.
posted by fightorflight at 8:18 AM on July 21, 2009


It's been done.
posted by Abiezer at 8:20 AM on July 21, 2009


"The villagers would have 118 mobile phones between them"

Jesus, they love their cell phones, don't they? More than one per person!
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2009


Huh. That is a far higher amount of white villagers than I would have expected.


Agreed. It's an excellent rebuttal to the far-right claims of being overrun by migrants, non-white, "those who don't share our culture" and "descendants of migrant workers". The white population out-numbers the Indian-Pakistani group by 30 to 1.
posted by outlier at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2009


Six people would be gay or lesbian (probably).

Daffyd Thomas diagrees!
posted by ericb at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Thirty people would have a Facebook account.
Wait, they're telling me that 30% of the UK is on Facebook?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2009


*disagrees*
posted by ericb at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2009


If all the "one" counts were the same person, it would be an illiterate, demented mixed-race Hindu farming teacher who retired early but will die this year.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:25 AM on July 21, 2009 [8 favorites]


Britain is more white than many people realise, including its residents. I only discovered this after taking a visiting American friend to a concert and her telling me it was "so white it feels like a Klan rally". So I looked up the stats, and they're surprisingly poor. Especially given the anti-immigrant clamour in parts of the press.
...
Agreed. It's an excellent rebuttal to the far-right claims of being overrun by migrants, non-white, "those who don't share our culture" and "descendants of migrant workers". The white population out-numbers the Indian-Pakistani group by 30 to 1.

I just passed the life in the uk test that is part of the residency requirements. I was stunned by the demographics component. Stunned that they felt it was important for me to learn and also stunned by the numbers. If you take London & Birmingham out of the picture England is shockingly white. Additionally, almost all immigration during the Thatcher years was white (who needs the BNP?).

Yet people here still bitch about immigrants to me even though I am obviously one.
posted by srboisvert at 8:30 AM on July 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed reading that. I wondered how many people would be in prison, and that currently works out at about 0.14. So that would be approximately ... an arm?
posted by tawny at 8:30 AM on July 21, 2009


Some would like in Wales, Scotland, and London?

I'm not sure they understand the definition of "village".
posted by blue_beetle at 8:31 AM on July 21, 2009


live
posted by blue_beetle at 8:31 AM on July 21, 2009


Wait...so why is the concept of percentages so difficult and abstract to grasp that we need this sort of article? It's interesting and all, but couldn't you achieve the same thing by saying "92 percent in the UK are white" rather than "92 people in the village are white?"
posted by reformedjerk at 8:31 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


One interesting fact brought to my attention by an immigration report that passed through my office today: 20,000 to 30,000 people come to the UK as asylum seekers every year.

If they were coming to this village, that would amount to 0.05 people a year.

Tell that to Nick Griffin. Thanks to him and the right wing press, most people think that 56,000 people a year are invading this country's shores. A significant minority put it at 100,000 a year.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 8:32 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


It sounds like mr_crash_davis has identified Prince Philip.
posted by yhbc at 8:33 AM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Crikey, I wrote my comment without even seeing the "92% white" figure.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 8:33 AM on July 21, 2009


Wait...so why is the concept of percentages so difficult and abstract to grasp that we need this sort of article?
102 people in the village are not good with percentages
posted by fightorflight at 8:35 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


FTA: "Sixteen men and eight women would usually exceed the Government's daily sensible drinking benchmark (3-4 units per day for men; 2-3 units a day for women). "

Is Britain running a 24% alcoholism rate? I don't know the data for the U.S. or other countries, but that seems rather high to me.
posted by Mijo Bijo at 8:41 AM on July 21, 2009


If you take London & Birmingham out of the picture England is shockingly white

Almost every country in europe is "shockingly white"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_ethnic_groups#By_country

I'm not sure that that is really particularly surprising
posted by dng at 8:41 AM on July 21, 2009


Six people would be gay or lesbian (probably).

Not counting the fifteen other people who secretly have sex with them.
posted by hermitosis at 8:41 AM on July 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


Wait...so why is the concept of percentages so difficult and abstract to grasp that we need this sort of article?

I think it's a visualization thing. You can actually picture a village of 100 residents in a way that you simply can't visualize a country of 50,000,000. To picture "100 residents, two of whom are black" gives one a visceral sense of proportionality in a way that more abstract percentages don't.
posted by yoink at 8:44 AM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Britain is more white than many people realise, including its residents. I only discovered this after taking a visiting American friend to a concert and her telling me it was "so white it feels like a Klan rally". So I looked up the stats, and they're surprisingly poor. Especially given the anti-immigrant clamour in parts of the press.

"Poor"? Huh? What does that mean?
posted by Perplexity at 8:49 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thirty people would have a Facebook account.
Wait, they're telling me that 30% of the UK is on Facebook?


That, too, was my "holy shit" moment from the article.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:54 AM on July 21, 2009


If you take London & Birmingham out of the picture England is shockingly white

And Bristol. And Liverpool. And Manchester. And Bolton, Bradford, Burnley, Blackburn. You've got a lot of cutting out to do before England gets as white as Scotland and Wales.
posted by mippy at 8:55 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Active Facebook users by country

I only discovered this after taking a visiting American friend to a concert and her telling me it was "so white it feels like a Klan rally".

I think that might be skewed by the concert, though - I've never seen many non-white faces at rock gigs.
posted by mippy at 8:58 AM on July 21, 2009


You've got a lot of cutting out to do before England gets as white as Scotland and Wales.

Parts of Scotland are quite racially diverse. The Southside of Glasgow, for example.
posted by the cuban at 9:03 AM on July 21, 2009


I don't know Glasgow well, but coming up to Edinburgh from Manchester or London was always a bit of a shock to me. I'm sure liquidindian will be by soon to tell us about 'Black Tony'.
posted by mippy at 9:05 AM on July 21, 2009


Is Britain running a 24% alcoholism rate?

If you have more than one drink a day you are likely to exceed your daily units. Two pints of decent lager is about 6 units which is 2-3 times the allowance for a woman.
posted by ninebelow at 9:07 AM on July 21, 2009


Some hilarious comments here.
"shockingly white"

Let's see, London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Paris, Berlin, New York, LA etc, etc. not "shockingly white".

Wycombe (Buckinghamshire), Penrith (Cumbria), Biarittz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), Quimper (Finistère), Taylorville (IL), Gillette (WY)...could easily all be described as "shockingly white". ZOMG TEH KLANN R TAKING OVARRR!!1!!

OK, so maybe you can see where I'm going with this...

==========================================================

British journalist does not understand concept of "village"...I'm not sure they understand the definition of "village".

In this case, the village has areas called Scotland, Wales, etc. See the sections about football pitches (standard pitch size preferred is 115 x 74 yards), London etc.

==========================================================

From the actual article:
Eight people would live in Greater London (one of them in Croydon).

Haha! [/Nelson]
posted by i_cola at 9:07 AM on July 21, 2009


"so white it feels like a Klan rally".

My experience of England as an American as well.
posted by sundri at 9:08 AM on July 21, 2009


And Bristol. And Liverpool. And Manchester. And Bolton

A quick spy at last Census shows:

England 91% White
Bristol 92% White
Bolton 89% White
Liverpool 94% White
Manchester 81% White

Which, admittedly, was 2001, but from that it looks like even the not very white places are very, very white.
posted by robself at 9:09 AM on July 21, 2009


17 of the 100 villagers would be under the age of 15, while another 16 would be 65 or over (three of them 80 or over).

There would be 80 adults (aged 16 or over), of whom 40 would be married and 11 would live alone.


Three percent of the population is aged 15 years old?
posted by tapeguy at 9:13 AM on July 21, 2009


Thanks, ninebelow! I had a feeling it might be an issue like that.

I was able to find some data on alcoholism by country here. Putting the data into percentages, 5.5 of the villagers are alcoholics. For comparison, the U.S. has a 5.4% alcoholism rate.
posted by Mijo Bijo at 9:18 AM on July 21, 2009


Statistically yes, but Manchester and Bolton have large and visible Asian communities...which sadly lead some people to think that 'them Asians are taking over'. Manchester too has a sizeable Chinatown and large Irish and Afro-Carribean communites too.

I wonder what London comes out of? I imagine nothing equating to what people who moan about 'there are no English speakers left in London' imagine.
posted by mippy at 9:18 AM on July 21, 2009


Mippy: I think that might be skewed by the concert, though - I've never seen many non-white faces at rock gigs.

Exactly. If I go to a concert, I go from my local neighbourhood which is probably about 60% white, 40% black and Asian (mainly black), take the tube for 20 minutes to the concert, which will be probably 99% white.

For US visitors, I'm guessing it depends which part of the country you're in: if you're on holiday and visit say London, you're probably spending time in central London, maybe west London (for the Kensington museums). You're not going to Brixton or Bermondsey or Seven Sisters or Wembley, which is where the non-white people live. And on top of that, most of the people you see in central London probably don't live there, they're tourists.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:21 AM on July 21, 2009


There may be 100 people, but there are 114 pubs. Trust me on this.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:21 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is true that outside of London and a few other areas the UK is very white. I'm not sure why this is shocking.

Suggesting it is so white it "feels like a Klan rally" is a bit odd too. You do know why the US has more black people, right?
posted by ninebelow at 9:25 AM on July 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


How many would have bad teeth?
posted by PenDevil at 9:27 AM on July 21, 2009


I guess that makes Big Brother UK shockingly diverse.

For such an awful show, why must it be so entertaining to watch?
posted by graventy at 9:32 AM on July 21, 2009


"Which, admittedly, was 2001, but from that it looks like even the not very white places are very, very white."

I was just talking with a Brit, and he said that the only places worth living in England were London and Manchester, because they had blacks and Asians. He contended that you couldn't get a decent curry anywhere else (though I smirked inside when he said, "That includes India!").
posted by klangklangston at 9:37 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder what London comes out of? I imagine nothing equating to what people who moan about 'there are no English speakers left in London' imagine

London is about 70% white, and 60% British. I expect the ridiculous "no english speakers" impression some idiots have gets exaggerated by the number of tourists in central london, like Infinite Jest suggests above
posted by dng at 9:39 AM on July 21, 2009


Landfill indie rock is the white man's burden.
posted by Damienmce at 9:42 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure the original author of this concept (for the world rather than a country) is David J. Smith. I pretty shocked nobody has linked his (excellent book):
If the World Were a Village.
posted by theyexpectresults at 9:43 AM on July 21, 2009


Sorry, "I am pretty shocked".
posted by theyexpectresults at 9:44 AM on July 21, 2009


What if we condensed the UK into a village of 100 people?

They'd be very heavy and dense, or very, very tall.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:46 AM on July 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


"Poor"? Huh? What does that mean?
It means that I don't think it's a great thing that Britain is still so overwhelmingly white, despite its manifest obligations to former colonies and moral obligations to share the wealth a bit.

For all America has its detractors and its continuing race relations disasters, I think it's a far better place for having the multicultural mix it does, and think that's something Britain should actively aspire to.
posted by fightorflight at 9:47 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


There may be 100 people, but there are 114 pubs. Trust me on this.

Actually, there will be about 10 pubs. 3 closed for renovations. 2 abandoned. 2 closed by noise abatement orders due to condos being put next to them. The condo will have 200 empty flats.

There will also be about 14 track suits. 8 rottweilers. 7 bulldogs and 25 cats. 3 men over 20 with all their hair. One hen party.
posted by srboisvert at 9:48 AM on July 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


I live in Ealing, which has a high population of Poles, Somalis, black and Asian people. My friend lives in Haringey, which seems to be mainly Greek and Turkish; Acton, where I used to live, is Polish and Antipodean. It really depends where you go.

klangklangston - not even Rupali in Newcastle or Bradford?
posted by mippy at 9:50 AM on July 21, 2009


There would be 90 televisions (an average of more than two per household).

The village would welcome one new baby this year.


In the last 30 years, places that previously had high birthrates (Ireland, Quebec) have switched to having some of the lowest birthrates. I think each household in the developed world should donate one TV set to India and China keep them from going to bed so early in the evening.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:58 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


"92 out of 100 people" is mathematically, but not psychologically, equivalent to "92% of all people". "100 people" is easy to imagine. A mathematical function of "all people" is not.
posted by DU at 10:03 AM on July 21, 2009


...strike China from that last comment.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:03 AM on July 21, 2009


It's not just that the UK is more white than the US. It's also that blacks in the US are very concentrated in a few areas. Unless you are from....Des Moines?...a large city like London that has few black people, relatively speaking, is going to feel "very white".
posted by DU at 10:06 AM on July 21, 2009


For all America has its detractors and its continuing race relations disasters, I think it's a far better place for having the multicultural mix it does, and think that's something Britain should actively aspire to.

So we should get some non-white folks to set up on the shores before slowly moving across the country wiping out the indigenous population until they end up making up less than 1% of the population. As this is happening, the non-white invaders bring in another non-white group as slaves (half of which will die in transit) whose descendants will eventually make up 13.5% of the population.

Sounds like a great plan to which nobody could object because the outcome will be less "poor".
posted by i_cola at 10:06 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, that's definitely what we should do, i_cola. I thought there were shades of grey to be had here, but instead I see it's either "KEEP 'EM OUT!1!" or "Repeat the mistakes made in America". Thanks!

You were talking about "hilarious comments"? Wowsa
posted by fightorflight at 10:09 AM on July 21, 2009


"klangklangston - not even Rupali in Newcastle or Bradford?"

Fuck if I know, but the dude was from Birmingham ("Oh, where Black Sabbath was from." "Yeah, I guess. I mostly spin techno.").
posted by klangklangston at 10:10 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure who'd all be in there, but I guarantee someone will not be getting enough respect. There will be stabbings.
posted by fire&wings at 10:12 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


On my last trip to Britain, my wife and I were greeted at the UK Border at Heathrow by an entirely minority Border Agency staff. I wonder if this was a consequence of the proximity to London or a conscious policy by UKBA to help integrate immigrant descendants into British society by making them responsible for border security.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:23 AM on July 21, 2009


Wow. English people don't like to hear that the BNP is largely unnecessary because racist immigrant policies are already in place (and defended by liberals no less with cries of "were no worse than the rest of Europe!")

From the CIA world factbook:

Net Migration:

UK
2.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42

United States
4.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
Canada
5.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18



Ethnic Composition
UK
white (of which English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%, Northern Irish 2.9%) 92.1%, black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, mixed 1.2%, other 1.6% (2001 census)

United States
white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)
note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean a person of Latin American descent (including persons of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin) living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic

Canada
British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%

The numbers are shocking given both the right wing panic over immigrations and the left wing smugness about how multicultural England is. The right wing has nothing to panic about even if the "dark hordes" were something to fear because it is clear that BNP style immigration policies are and have been in place for a long time and that there are lots of apparently well meaning people who like to point at an occasional minority and say "look we let some in!" and pat themselves on the back.
posted by srboisvert at 10:28 AM on July 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think each household in the developed world should donate one TV set to India and China keep them from going to bed so early in the evening.
You're not the only one who has had that idea. India's health and family welfare miniister, Ghulam Nabi Azad:
"Electricity in our villages can help control population growth. Electricity will lead to television in houses, which will lead to population control. When there is no light, people get engaged in the process of population growth."
posted by peacheater at 10:37 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


fightorflight:
I was intending it to be read as, if not hilarious, then wryly amusing.

So please lay on us your genius plan for achieving your ideal. Then again, maybe bear in mind that a world where there is more economic equality, opportunity and less oppression is a far more worthwhile thing to work towards (including reparation for previous misdeeds) so that people do need to migrate for reasons other than purely personal ones.

Or to put it another way, instead of "sorry we fucked up your living arrangements, come and live in my basement" try "sorry we fucked up your living arrangements, we'll help you sort them out in a way that suits you and your neighbours.

Ach, it's that stupid klan comment that wound me up.

Actually, as some of the more cerebrally challenged round here seem to be accepting the term, looking through the recent 10th anniversary meetup pix, Metafilter itself is "as white as a Klan rally".

Or "as white as a yoga class".
Or "as white as a beer festival".
Or "as white as an indie band's gig".
Or "as white as an organic food market".

Huh. Stick a fork in me...
posted by i_cola at 10:41 AM on July 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


The numbers are shocking given both the right wing panic over immigrations and the left wing smugness about how multicultural England is.
You have uncovered the astounding fact that two nations that exist as modern states due to immigration differ in their demographic make-up to old European nations.
posted by Abiezer at 10:46 AM on July 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually, as some of the more cerebrally challenged round here seem to be accepting the term, looking through the recent 10th anniversary meetup pix, Metafilter itself is "as white as a Klan rally".

Yup. If Metafilter were a village, it'd be in Montana or North Dakota.
posted by desjardins at 10:53 AM on July 21, 2009


I bags Missoula!

93.57% White, 2.35% Native American, 1.23% Asian, 0.36% African American, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.51% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.76% of the population.
posted by i_cola at 10:56 AM on July 21, 2009


So please lay on us your genius plan for achieving your ideal.
I don't have one, it'd be stupid to pretend there are easy answers here. But I think a start might be to ease off on our increasingly tight immigration policies and start doing something to address the nasty perception of multiculturalism that the Mail thumps on about and that leads to BNP election victories.

To be fair, this is happening in some areas. The Scottish executive is reportedly doing both: it is attempting to encourage immigration (there's lots of space there, and the population's shrinking as it is) and has also started running an advertising campaign about the benefits of the whole country not being as white as milk, which is at least a nod in the right direction.

Ach, it's that stupid klan comment that wound me up.
In her defence, she too intended to throw off something wryly amusing, not prepare a plate of beans. An all-white crowd at a hip-hop gig wasn't quite what she expected.
posted by fightorflight at 10:57 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


You have uncovered the astounding fact that two nations that exist as modern states due to immigration differ in their demographic make-up to old European nations.

Only if you ignore the numbers I included about the current rates of immigration. The United States is projected to be twice as open as England this year despite all the post 9/11 restrictions which are still in place. Think about that. A still terrified and fearful nation with all kinds of race problems is twice as open as the United Kingdom. A traditionally and ideologically isolationist country with no real colonial history is twice as open.

This is at a time when the UK has a seriously imbalanced age distribution that can only be fixed by immigration. So you desperately need immigrants in a way the New World doesn't yet the door isn't as open.

Which is to say "shocking".
posted by srboisvert at 11:03 AM on July 21, 2009


Net Migration:

UK
2.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42

United States
4.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
Canada
5.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18


Net? That doesn't show how many people are newcomers, only the difference in numbers between them and emigrants. Lots of people leave the UK, especially to the rest of Europe and Australia.
posted by Sova at 11:10 AM on July 21, 2009


Net? That doesn't show how many people are newcomers, only the difference in numbers between them and emigrants.

An estimated 340,000 people of all backgrounds left the UK for twelve months or more in 2007.

The estimated number of people arriving to live in the UK for twelve months or more was 577,000 in 2007, compared with 591,000 in 2006.


577,000 is about 0.9% of the British population. The vast majority of people coming into the UK would be from the other EU countries, I expect. And a large part in both sets of these figures are probably people either leaving the country having moved here a few years ago, or vice versa
posted by dng at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2009


Only if you ignore the numbers I included about the current rates of immigration...
Still think this glides over the historical context a bit too glibly - rates of immigration in recent years have been historically high in the UK context, hence its rise to prominence as a political issue. It's reductionist to assume that's it's entirely a moral panic got up by the press and of concern only to lumpen racists.
posted by Abiezer at 11:23 AM on July 21, 2009


Also according to wikipedia, since 2000, legal immigrants to the United States number approximately 1,000,000 per year, of whom about 600,000 are Change of Status immigrants who already are in the U.S. Illegal immigration may be as high as 1,500,000 per year.

2.5 million is about 0.8% of the total US population, so from these figures it looks like US and UK immigration numbers are roughly similar (as percentages, at least). It just looks like more people want to leave Britain.

Poor useless britain
posted by dng at 11:33 AM on July 21, 2009


A still terrified and fearful nation with all kinds of race problems is twice as open as the United Kingdom.


I don't disagree that there need to be some serious changes in both law and attitude to immigration in the UK but making direct comparisons with the US is stupid.

The US is 40 times the size of the UK with only 5 times the population. The indigenous population is nearly non-existent and the majority of non-white citizens are the descendants of slaves. Different rules apply.

The argument at the moment is to stop all the idiotic tabloid & BNP-fuelled mis-information about being overrun by teh immigrants

It's all very nice and pseudo-liberal letting people who pass tests come into your country but it doesn't do much for the countries where all the smart people are leaving. As I said before, lessening the need for economic migration et al by having a fairer global economy will also allow those who want to migrate due to personal reasons do so far more easily, keep smart people where they can do most good and counteract the western-dominated situation that exists today.

My own personal thoughts have always been that getting rid of border controls everywhere would be a great thing and we'd have a chance of seeing how the global balance would settle. The Daily Mail would, of course, explode which is just an added bonus.

Anyhow, if your argument is that there are too many whining white people here, why don't ya piss off back to Canaida and let a happy black woman take your place? ;-)
posted by i_cola at 11:54 AM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure the original author of this concept (for the world rather than a country) is David J. Smith. I pretty shocked nobody has linked his (excellent book): If the World Were a Village.

No need to be shocked. The author of the Independent article (the one linked to in the FPP and subject of this thread) gives credit where credit is due:
"... a Canadian retired geography teacher called David Smith started work on If the World Were a Village, which was eventually published in 2002."
He cites the book and Donella Meadows' The State of the Village Report as influences on this exercise ("If England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were condensed to a single community of 100 people, what would that community look like?").
posted by ericb at 12:07 PM on July 21, 2009


On my last trip to Britain, my wife and I were greeted at the UK Border at Heathrow by an entirely minority Border Agency staff. I wonder if this was a consequence of the proximity to London or a conscious policy by UKBA to help integrate immigrant descendants into British society by making them responsible for border security.


Definite plate of beans issue here, I suspect. Heathrow is on the outskirts of London, the area round it has a fairly high ethnic minority population. It was probably just a coincidence.

It means that I don't think it's a great thing that Britain is still so overwhelmingly white, despite its manifest obligations to former colonies and moral obligations to share the wealth a bit.


Well, as I understand it, up until the 60s there was free movement throughout the Empire/Commonwealth - we were all British subjects (and citizens of our own countries). Then you joined the EU, and one of the conditions was that you impose restrictions on Commonwealth immigrants (otherwise they'd all be able to move anywhere in the EU).

Not sure what the UK could do about that...
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:11 PM on July 21, 2009


He cites the book and Donella Meadows' The State of the Village Report ...

Err: "she cites the book..."
posted by ericb at 12:17 PM on July 21, 2009


A traditionally and ideologically isolationist country with no real colonial history is twice as open.

Fine, a pat on the back for the US being a nation of immigrants, but "no real colonial history" gets my self-serving comment of the day award.

Actually, i_cola has it right:

making direct comparisons with the US is stupid.
posted by ob at 12:23 PM on July 21, 2009


And then I just saw that you're a Brit. OK, I take back the self-serving comment, but to suggest that the US has "no real colonial history" is weird. Compared to the UK perhaps, but as has been said, all of these comparisons are apples and oranges.
posted by ob at 12:26 PM on July 21, 2009


"so white it feels like a Klan rally".

My experience of Seattle as a Londoner.
posted by Artw at 1:41 PM on July 21, 2009


Also you might want to look into the history of why there are so many African people in America. There may be some not-quite-completely-awesome elements to it.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another belief bites the dust, sheesh. How I wish I wasn't made all of straw.
posted by fightorflight at 2:18 PM on July 21, 2009


On my last trip to Britain, my wife and I were greeted at the UK Border at Heathrow by an entirely minority Border Agency staff.

I have never had an English (by which I mean white English) doctor since moving to London. My psychiatrist is, I think, West African. My GP is Indian, with a framed picture of her guru in her surgery. The woman setting my foot after a fracture was Scottish, as is the person who takes my blood tests; the doctor who X-rayed me was German, and ranted about how there are so many 'fuckheads' in London. Also, the staff in most of the shops I go into in central London are non-white and speak in accented English. The people who clean your offices probably are, too.
posted by mippy at 3:00 PM on July 21, 2009


"Also you might want to look into the history of why there are so many African people in America. There may be some not-quite-completely-awesome elements to it."

They came for the soul food and rap music.
posted by klangklangston at 3:21 PM on July 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Seventy-eight of the villagers would have a passport.

That's amazing to this American.
posted by mdonley at 4:16 PM on July 21, 2009


Seventy-eight of the villagers would have a passport.

That's amazing to this American.


Hint: The village has a tunnel to another village with cheap wine.
posted by Artw at 4:19 PM on July 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I didn't know that Brits shared passports either.
posted by klangklangston at 4:19 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


> "so white it feels like a Klan rally".

My experience of Seattle as a Londoner.


Whereas as a Bristolian in Seattle, it felt a lot less alien to me than San Diego does. Of course, it was pissing down with rain when I was there, so that might have had something to do with it.
posted by saturnine at 4:36 PM on July 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also you might want to look into the history of why there are so many African people in America

Well, most non-white people in America aren't black, so that argument applies only to a subset. However, it's still fair to say that many minority immigrants were exploited in one fashion or another (and some still are).

Going from California, where in most parts non-Hispanic whites are a minority (may already be true statewide as well) to England/Europe is still somewhat surprising at first (not in an omg europeans are racist way, but it's hard not to notice the sharp contrast).
posted by wildcrdj at 4:55 PM on July 21, 2009


They came for the soul food and rap music.

I think they came to find Ray Charles.

This FPP reminds me of this.
posted by jeoc at 5:29 PM on July 21, 2009


Well, most non-white people in America aren't black

United States
white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate) from srboisvert's comment
posted by desjardins at 6:00 PM on July 21, 2009


Desjardins—Depends on how you count Hispanic.
posted by klangklangston at 6:02 PM on July 21, 2009


Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%

Bit of a story there, too, if you think about it.
posted by Artw at 6:09 PM on July 21, 2009


I can't believe no one mentioned Stand on Zanzibar, given that post title.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:17 PM on July 21, 2009


Anyhow, if your argument is that there are too many whining white people here, why don't ya piss off back to Canaida and let a happy black woman take your place? ;-)

I am working on it.
posted by srboisvert at 3:21 AM on July 22, 2009


I am the hundredth person in the village of this thread so therefore 1 in 100 folks in the UK is a childish idiot who spends far too much time online.

I feel there should be at least twenty more of us.
posted by longbaugh at 3:29 AM on July 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not that people here are whiny (don't you mean whingy?) or that the immigration numbers matter all that much. It is that the discrepancy between the public attitudes and beliefs and the actual numbers are shocking.

Perhaps it is because the UK's media is so overwhelmingly London centric that you get a sense that England is this great multicultural soup wrestling with identity issues when that doesn't reflect the rest of the country at all. And it isn't a city versus rural discrepancy like in Canada and the US. Rural england isn't empty and there are a lot of small cities in the rest of England that are not London. So there is this weird, I think Guardian and Louis Theroux driven, belief that England is morally superior to places like racist America where there are some all white towns and the history and fallout of a slavery tradition (no mention of the trade in slaves being mostly British mind you...bygones afterall). Even though almost all of England is very very white. Possibly even whiter than the all white towns in America. Even Americans fall for this portrayal of a mythical multicultural England. The right wing neo-cons in the US called England Londinastan as if the country were being overrun by Muslim immigrants.

So the surprise and shock at the numbers from non-English I think comes from the fact that the reality of England is not the same as what England presents itself as, both to itself and to the rest of the world. Also people in Birmingham don't sound at all like Hugh Grant.
posted by srboisvert at 4:20 AM on July 22, 2009


Well, as I understand it, up until the 60s there was free movement throughout the Empire/Commonwealth - we were all British subjects (and citizens of our own countries). Then you joined the EU, and one of the conditions was that you impose restrictions on Commonwealth immigrants (otherwise they'd all be able to move anywhere in the EU).

A slight simplification. The first wave of immigration restrictions was IIRC imposed by the Labour government as a response to the Tory by-election slogan "If you want a n***** for a neighbour, Vote Labour." (And people tell me society's got less respectful).

Joining the EU really didn't help tho.
posted by Francis at 4:39 AM on July 22, 2009


If metafilter were a village of 100 people:

57 would be from the States, 8 from England, 8 from India, 4 from Canada, 2 from Australia, 2 from Germany, and one each from South Africa, Ireland, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Netherlands, Sweden, S. Korea, Italy, and the Philippines. Although the people would, er, vary in size. 9 would be from other countries.

58 of the people would live in AskMeFi, 39 in MeFi, 2 in MeTa and the rest in projects and other pages.

The average user would be on metafilter 2.7 minutes a day.

40 people would have reached Metafilter through a search engine, almost all of them google.
posted by alona at 5:22 AM on July 22, 2009


Also, 56 villages around us would load faster.
posted by alona at 5:24 AM on July 22, 2009


The right wing neo-cons in the US called England Londinastan as if the country were being overrun by Muslim immigrants.

The impression I get is that a lot of Americans believe that Muslim (at least, Asian Muslim) and terrorist are synonymous. The UK has had South Asian immigrants here since at least the 1960s so we've had a lot of time to get used to Islam.
posted by mippy at 4:21 AM on July 23, 2009


If Mefi were a village of 100 people 80 of them would be arguing over whether or not it was actually a hamlet.
posted by Artw at 6:28 AM on July 23, 2009


Five would be openly sexist, 35 would jump on them for being sexist, 10 would defend the original sexists through possible yet implausible alternate readings of their comments, and 50 would blame Bush for the sexism.
posted by klangklangston at 11:40 AM on July 23, 2009


Also, 30 would be sockpuppets.
posted by klangklangston at 11:40 AM on July 23, 2009


If Boing Boing were a village of a 100 people..
posted by Artw at 2:31 PM on July 23, 2009


...I'd burn it down.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:46 PM on July 23, 2009


Sometimes it's the only way to save a village.
posted by Artw at 4:18 PM on July 23, 2009


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