Data visualization and storytelling


Ahead of next week’s local elections, a look at London’s voting patterns

Our new ward-level maps of London reveal voting patterns from the last elections, and are easy for journalists to adapt and embed

In seven days’ time, London goes to the polls, in the 2018 UK local elections. It’s a higher-profile local election than usual, as polls predict a swing towards Labour across the capital.

Ahead of the election, we’ve built a new Flourish template for London ward boundaries. You can now easily make maps to show voting or other data at ward level, with no coding needed.

We’ve used the new template to map voting patterns in the 2014 local elections, below. You’re welcome to embed these maps on your own site, for free.

You can also use them to make beautiful, useful, embeddable maps of everything from average house prices to child obesity, using the Mayor of London’s Ward Profiles data - we show you how to do this below.

How did London vote in 2014?

We looked at how London’s wards voted the last local elections in 2014. First, the level of support for the Conservative party, which is strongest in outer boroughs, especially the north-west and south-east, and parts of west London, especially Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.

Support for Labour was almost the perfect inverse of the Conservative map, being strongest in most of inner and east London.

(Click or tap on any ward to see the exact number, or search for a ward with the search box.)

Liberal Democrat support was concentrated in the party’s traditional heartlands of south-west London…

while strikingly, Green Party support was distributed along a clear north-south axis.

And finally, UKIP support in 2014 was virtually non-existent in inner London, and strongest on the eastern fringes of the capital.

If you’d like to embed any of these maps on your own site, it’s easy - just click the Embed links here. Or click Customize to add your own legends, styling and so on.

(Quick note for pedants: These maps show voting distribution, not the final party that ended up in control. If you want to show how boroughs were controlled after the votes were counted, it’s best to use our London 2014 borough map.)

Use these maps to visualize other data

You can also use the new London ward map to show other data collected at ward level - it doesn’t have to be about election results.

In fact, you can use these maps to display any of the data in the Mayor of London’s Ward Profiles and Atlas:

age and sex, land area, projections, population density, household composition, religion, ethnicity, birth rates (general fertility rate), death rates (standardised mortality ratio), life expectancy, average house prices, properties sold, housing by council tax band, tenure, property size (bedrooms), dwelling build period and type, mortgage and landlord home repossession, employment and economic activity, Incapacity Benefit, Housing Benefit, Household income, Income Support and JobSeekers Allowance claimant rates, dependent children receiving child-tax credits by lone parents and out-of-work families, child poverty, National Insurance Number registration rates for overseas nationals (NINo), GCSE results, A-level / Level 3 results (average point scores), pupil absence, child obesity, crime rates (by type of crime), fires, ambulance call outs, road casualties, happiness and well-being, land use, public transport accessibility (PTALs), access to public greenspace, access to nature, air emissions / quality, car use, bicycle travel, Indices of Deprivation, and election turnout

I used the Ward Profiles data to map the proportion of the population that is aged over 65 (the “grey map” of London - although it didn’t look very good in grey, so I’ve used yellow and red below).

Adapting these maps is insanely easy. Just to the Ward Profiles and Atlas data page, and download the “ward-atlas-2014boundaries.xls” file (our map is of the 2014 electoral boundaries).

Then go to the London wards template page, follow one of the “Customize” links, and replace the existing data with the Ward Profiles data.

Nerd note: many of the statistics in the raw data are absolute numbers, so you’ll want to convert them to a percentage of the total population first, using Excel, to avoid the Martha Stewart problem.

Finally, an even nerdier note: you’ll notice that the City of London isn’t shown on any of our maps. That’s because the City follows its own election cycle. It also doesn’t have ward-level data in the Ward Profiles. Well, no-one said working with British statistical data was simple - even if mapping it just got a bit easier.

Get started: build your own London ward maps in Flourish »