London languages

Nuggets – bite size chunks of London

Main languages spoken by London’s workers


Nomis – the Office for National Statis­tics’ labour market statis­tics service – has clas­si­fied the workplace popu­la­tion in England and Wales by main language (or at least by what respon­dents said was their main language).

According to the report, the minor languages spoken by London’s workers include British Sign Language (952 speakers), Welsh (934), Yiddish (522), Caribbean Creole (86), Cornish (15, allegedly) and Manx Gaelic (1).

The table below shows the top 20 workplace languages in London:


Language Number of speakers
English 3,622,611
Polish 105,683
French 50,158
Gujarati 47,892
Spanish 44,307
Portuguese 41,689
Bengali (with Sylheti and Chatgaya) 35,678
Tamil 33,135
Italian 32,420
Urdu 29,652
Panjabi 29,272
Romanian 26,658
Turkish 24,569
Lithuanian 24,223
Arabic 24,138
Chinese (all dialects) 23,989
German 20,980
Tagalog/Filipino 18,329
Bulgarian 16,862
Russian 16,190

The estimates above are as at census day, 27 March 2011, and include all usual residents aged 16 to 74 in employ­ment in London in the week before the census. The dataset was last updated by Nomis on 23 May 2014.

See also Hidden London’s page on London demo­graphics.