Map: Riots Clustered in London's Poor Neighborhoods

Map confirms it: poverty underpins riots

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Media reports have tried to explain the youth riots in London with a host of ways, as we've reported. But most of the causes identified by observers, which include high unemployment, racial tensions, and the government's austerity measures, involve one underlying problem: poverty. London's young and poor are lashing out in response to the collective opportunity they feel they deserve, the narrative goes. As one anonymous rioter told The New York Times while showing off a stolen sweater, "I came here to get my penny’s worth."

To help visually explain the situation in London, Matt Stiles, a data journalist with NPR, mapped out the riots by bringing together data from The Guardian and Google. His map, shown below, nicely illustrates that the riots are occurring in poor neighborhoods.

The map uses a red-to-blue spectrum to show income; red areas are poorer and blue areas are relatively richer. Incidents of rioting, as compiled by The Guardian in this spreadsheet available to the public, have occurred almost exclusively in less well-off areas of the city. The map is interactive, so check it out at Stiles's site. And for another, more poignant visualization of the riots, take a look at the photo series of the mayhem complied at Alan Taylor's blog for The Atlantic.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.