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April 26, 2013 1:58 pm
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New Interactive Map Shows Surname Cohen Rules Over London Neighborhood

avatar by Zach Pontz

Map that shows Cohen to be most common surname in Hampstead heath. Photo: University College London.

A new interactive map released by academics at a London University gives new meaning to keeping up with the Joneses—and the Smiths, Patels and Cohens.

University College London researchers used the electoral roll and combined it with Twitter usernames taken from millions of online posts to establish the most popular surnames in Great Britain.

The data reveals just how localized certain surnames have become and how they are closely associated with the ethnic make up of communities within the city. For instance, the surname Cohen appears on the map in Hampstead Heath, where there is a large Jewish population.

UCL’s Dr Muhammad Adnan adds: “The data clearly shows names like Patel in North West London. In Whitechapel and Mile End there are Bangladeshi names.”

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“The project was designed to collate real world data with social network data and see how the population is distributed around the country.

“In London you can clearly see the real world difference as how people are distributed – as opposed to in the virtual world, using the data from Twitter.”

He added that the Twitter data was “noisy,” meaning less clear, as people can have more than one Twitter account.

“We found it very interesting to see the visualization of the areas of ethnic mix in this way,” Dr Adnan said.

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