Return to Nappy Valley: Tower Hamlets, a tale of two boroughs

I have returned to my investigations into the ‘Nappy Valley’ phenomenon, which as discussed in previous posts is the perceived disappearance of children (and their parents) from Wapping as they approach school age.
I previously found that Wapping’s population distribution appeared to support this perception, but I have been curious what the cause of this is. I will move on at some point to look at school performance but I need to do some background reading to get a better grip on the education system.
What I have got my hands on is a data set showing the population distribution for different ethnic groups across Tower Hamlets as a whole dating back to 2001 and forward projected to 2031. There are a number of different ethnic/racial groups but I have focused here only on ‘White’ and ‘Bangladeshi’ as together they account for around 85% of the population in Tower Hamlets and the remainder of the population is divided into a number of other groups. ‘White’ here includes all ‘white’ groups and does not refer to an ethnic, but a racial group.

The vertical axis shows the number of people in each 5-year age band, and each line relates to the population structure in a given year. The lighter band of lines relate to the Bangladeshi population and the darker lines the ‘white’ population.
The difference between the two is stark.
In the Bangladeshi community, the structure of the population is what one would expect – a number of infants and then a gradual contrast. The white population by contrast shows a massive spike in the 20-24 age group, as well as a much steeper fall off in the number of children aged 5-9 and 10-14 compared to 0-4.
It’s not definite, but I think the data confirms my suspicion that ‘nappy valley’ is a ‘white’ phenomenon. The data also shows that there whilst there are 5,000-10,000 more Bangladeshi children in each 5 year cohort than white Children, a massive influx of young white 20-24 year olds that leads the number of white people in that age bracket to exceed their Bangladeshi contemporaries in number by nearly 15,000 and by plotting the distribution over 40 years we can see that this increase isn’t a legacy of much higher fertility 20 years ago.
There’s lots more to explore and as someone who moved to Tower Hamlets after university, I can’t help but feel I’m part of the trend. For previous posts on this matter, I’ve compared Wapping with the rest of Tower Hamlets here and identified other areas in London with a similar drop off here.

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