Date 31 August 2017
Date updated 20 April 2020

Use the interactive tool below to navigate indicators that show how poverty and inequality affects children in London.

Children: Indicators

Number of London households affected by benefit cap (2016 and 2019)

The benefit cap limits the amount of benefit that most working-age people can receive. In London, the limit is £23,000 per year or £15,410 for single adults with no children; this was reduced in 2015. The benefit cap is applied by either reducing Universal Credit or Housing Benefit (for those not claiming Universal Credit).

The benefit cap reduced the benefits of nearly 20,000 families in London in November 2019 (11,062 had Universal Credit reduced and another 8,899 had Housing Benefit reduced). The number of families with their benefits capped in London has risen by 76% over the last five years and 87,665 London families have been affected by the cap since its introduction in 2013.

The majority of London households affected by the benefit cap in 2019 had their benefits reduced by up to £50 per month.

GCSE attainment - grades 9-4 in English and Maths by London borough (2018)

State-educated students in London have higher GCSE attainment rates than those in England as a whole, with 68% of students achieving grades 9-4 (A*- C under the old grading system) in GCSE English and Maths in 2018 compared to 59% in all of England. 

All but one London borough (Greenwich) has a GCSE attainment rate higher than the average for England. The boroughs with the highest GCSE attainment rates are Sutton and Kingston-upon-Thames which both saw almost 80% of students achieving grades 9-4 in English and Maths in 2018.

GCSE attainment by ethnicity (2018)

In general, GCSE attainment is higher in London than in the rest of England. This is true for both boys and girls, students who do not speak English as a first language, students with Special Educational Needs and students from minority ethnic backgrounds. 

In both London and the rest of England, girls perform better at GCSEs than boys, with 71% of girls achieving grades 9-4 (the equivalent of A*-C under the old system) in English and Maths in London, but only 65% of boys. 

Students with English as a second language perform slightly better than those who speak English as a first language in London, whilst the opposite is true in the rest of England.  

Students with Special Educational Needs needs have much lower attainment than the average student and the attainment gap is roughly the same in London and the rest of England. 

In London, Asian…

Temporary accommodation types in London (2002-2019)

Local authorities, including London boroughs, have legal duties to provide accomodation to people who are homeless. Whilst they are waiting for a permanent solution - such as a home provided by a housing association - local authorities must house them in temporary accommodation such as nightly accommodation, the private rented sector or bed and breakfasts. 

For every 1,000 households in London, 16 are living in temporary accommodation. This compares to just 1.4 households for every 1,000 in the rest of England. Overall, this means that more than 56,000 households in London were in temporary accommodation in 2019, an increase of 30% compared with five years ago. The most prevalent form of temporary accommodation was in the private rented sector.

How much weekly income is needed to not be in poverty?

Household types Minimum Income Standard - Inner London (AHC), 2018 Minimum Income Standard - Outer London (AHC), 2018 UK poverty line - After Housing Costs, 2018 Destitution, 2018
Single, working-age £269 £245 £152 £70
Couple, working-age £368 £398 £263 £100
Single, pensioner £206 £183 £152 NA
Couple, pensioner £382 £317 £263 NA
Lone parent, one child (aged one) £291 £308 £205 £90
Couple with two children (aged three and seven) £503 £520 £373 £140

Note: MIS figures are updated to reflect the report produced by Loughborough University for TfL in 2019. For family types where updates are not available we have carried forward the 2016/17 data and adjusted for inflation by CPIH. Destitution is defined by the JRF as people who went without 2 or more essentials in the past month because they couldn't afford them, or their income is extremely low

Data source: Poverty thresholds are from Households Below Average Income 2017/18, Department for Work and Pensions. Minimum Income Standard thresholds are based on the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for London, Trust for London 2018. Destitution in the UK 2018, JRF

There are a number of different definitions of poverty including the UK poverty line, the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), and the UK destitution line. This table shows how poverty thr…

Poverty for children, pensioners and working-age adults (2007/08 and 2017/18)

Children, working age adults and pensioners all have higher rates of poverty in London than in the rest of England. Of the three age groups, children have the highest poverty rates with 37% of children in London in poverty, compared to 25% of working-age adults and 24% of pensioners.

In both London and the rest of England, poverty rates fell between 2007/08 and 2017/18 for children but rose or remained flat for working-age adults. The poverty rate for pensioners rose in London but fell in the rest of England.

Number of children, adults, and pensioners in London in poverty by working status (2007/08, 2012/13 and 2017/18)

As employment rates have increased in the capital, so too has the number of adults in poverty who are in working families. In 2007/08, 740,000 working-age adults were in poverty in working families, compared to 1.05 million in 2017/18 (a 42% increase over the decade). There is a similar story for children in working families in poverty; 340,000 children were in this position in 2007/08, compared to 550,000 in 2017/18 (an increase of 62% over the decade).

In contrast, the number of working-age adults and children in poverty who are in workless families have both fallen over the last decade.

The number of pensioners in poverty in the capital has remained broadly stable in the last decade, with 250,000 in poverty in 2017/18.

Whilst there are more people in poverty in working families than in workless families, this (at least in part) is a refl…

Number of children in poverty by housing tenure in London (2004/05 - 2017/18)

Since 2004/05, the number of children in poverty in London who live in private rented accommodation has increased almost threefold to its current level of close to 300,000. The proportion of children in poverty in London who live in the private rented sector has increased from 17% of those in poverty in 2004/05 to 40% of those in poverty in 2017/18.

While the number of children in poverty in this group has increased, the poverty rate within this group has remained broadly flat; in 2004/05 the poverty rate for children in private rented accommodation in London was 56% and in 2017/18 it was 54%.

The number of London children in poverty living in the social rented sector fell sharply between 2004/05 and 2011/12 (falling by more than 100,000). However, numbers have risen again since then and the poverty rate amongst this group is still the hig…

Material deprivation of children in London (2017/18)

More children are materially deprived in London than the rest of England whether or not they are in poverty. Material deprivation is based on a weighted score of responses to questions about what material things - such as a warm winter coat or a safe outdoors space to play - children go without. 

Nearly half (45%) of children living in households in poverty in London are classed as materially deprived, compared with 38% in the rest of England. For children who do not live in households in poverty, the proportion of materially deprived children is 15% in London and 11% in the rest of England. 

More than half (56%) of children in London in poverty went without a holiday away from home for at least one week a year with their family, the highest rate for any item or activity.

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births (2001-2018)

In 2016-2018, the average number deaths per 1,000 live births was higher in England (3.9) than in London (3.3). 

Infant mortality rates have fallen significantly in both London and England over the last two decades. In 2001-2003 the rate was slightly higher in London than in England overall, with an average of 5.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, while in England this figure was 5.4. In 2009-2011, the infant mortality rates were on average similar (4.4) in both London and England. 

Since 2001-03, the infant mortality rate has fallen further in London (a reduction of 2.4 per 1,000 live births) than in England (a reduction of 1.5 per 1,000 live births).

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births by London borough (2016-18)

Whilst infant mortality rates vary significantly across London boroughs, in all but eight boroughs, they are lower than in England overall. 

The average number of deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016 to 2018 was 3.3 in London, whereas in England it was 3.9. Kingston upon Thames is the borough with the highest infant mortality rate in London (5.6 per 1,000 live births). Richmond upon Thames is the London borough with the lowest infant mortality rate (1.5 per 1,000 live births).

Childhood obesity for children in Year 6 by London borough (2008/09 and 2018/19)

Childhood obesity is more prevalent in London than England overall. In 2018/19, some 23.2% of children in Year 6 were considered obese in London, compared to 20.2% in England. 

Over the last decade, the prevalence of childhood obesity has risen by 1.9 percentage points in both London and England overall. The majority of boroughs had a higher prevalence of childhood obesity than England overall in both 2008/09 and 2018/19. 

Public Health England’s latest figures in 2018/19 show that Barking and Dagenham has the highest proportion of childhood obesity out of all London boroughs at 29.6%. The borough also had the largest rise in childhood obesity since 2008/09 (a 5.5 percentage point increase). At the other end of the scale, 10.7% of Year 6 children in Richmond upon Thames are obese, and this rate has fallen by nearly a percentage point since…

Population by age-groups (2018)

London’s population is young (average age 36.5) compared to the UK overall (40.3).

More than one in 10 people living in Inner London (11.7%) are aged between 30 and 34. This compares to just 6.2% of those in the rest of England. More broadly, in Inner London, almost half the population is made up out of those who are in their early twenties to early forties (47%), compared to the rest of England where three in 10 (31%) are in this age group, and Inner London is home to a higher proportion of young people than Outer London. 

This is caused by people moving to Inner London for work early in their careers and then leaving as they start families. The largest five-year age band is 30 to 34 year olds in Inner London, 35 to 39 year olds in Outer London and 50 to 54 year olds in the rest of England. A small proportion of London’s population is ove…

Proportion of children in poverty before and after housing costs by London borough (2017/18)

This indicator shows the large disparity in poverty rates for children in different London boroughs. Tower Hamlets is the borough with the highest rate of child poverty after housing costs, with a rate (57%) which is nearly three times as high as that of the boroughs (Sutton and Richmond upon Thames) with the lowest rate (21%).

It also demonstrates the large impact that the cost of housing has on poverty in the capital. In the borough with the highest poverty levels (Tower Hamlets), 35% of children are classified as being in poverty before housing costs are considered. Taking account of housing costs increases this figure to 57%. 

In almost half of boroughs, the child poverty rate at least doubles when housing costs are accounted for.

Proportion of Londoners in poverty after housing costs by age band (2017/18)

In both London and the rest of England, poverty rates (after housing costs) are highest amongst children and young people.

In London:

  • More than a quarter of a million (250,000) children aged four and under live in households in poverty - more than any other age group;
  • More than a third of children aged up to 14 are in households in poverty (38% of those aged 0-4, 32% of those aged 5-9 and 37% of those aged 10-14); and
  • Nearly half (44%) of those aged 15-19 live in households that are in poverty.

In contrast, one in five Londoners aged 35-39 (21%) live in households that are in poverty - the lowest rate for any age group.

Poverty rates in London are higher than those in the rest of England for people of all ages.

The impacts of housing costs on poverty in the capital can again be seen by comparing these findings to those from measures of poverty …

Child dependency ratio by area over time (2000 - 2030)

Compared to the rest of England, the child dependency ratio is higher in Outer London, but lower in Inner London. 

In Outer London, there are 34 children for every 100 working-age adults compared to 31 in the rest of England, and 26 in Inner London. 

The child dependency ratio is an indication of how many under 16s working-age people need to support. Since 2000, the child dependency ratio has fallen in Inner London and the rest of England but risen in Outer London. Across London and England, the child dependency ratio is projected to peak in 2020 before gradually declining.

Average income deprivation percentile of the neighbourhoods that schools are located in by Ofsted rating (2019)

Ofsted ratings are given to schools by inspectors and range from 'Outstanding' to 'Inadequate'. They are based on a range of observations about a school's performance. 

This indicator shows that, on average, the better a school’s Ofsted rating is, the less deprived is the neighbourhood in which it is located. 

Whilst this is true across the country, the relationship is less pronounced in London than in the rest of England. This means that children in London who live in deprived neighbourhoods are more likely to have a school with a good Ofsted rating in their neighbourhood than those living in deprived neighbourhoods in the rest of the country.

This is particularly true for secondary schools, where there is not a clear relationship between schools’ Ofsted rating and the deprivation of the neighbourhood in which they…

Proportion of households in poverty by family type (2017-18)

Poverty rates amongst most household types in London are higher than in the rest of England. For example, the poverty rate for couple pensioners (21%) in London is almost twice that of couple pensioners (12%) in the rest of England. Similarly, 29% of couples with children are in poverty in London compared to 21% in the rest of England. The exception is couples without children, where poverty rates (12%) are the same in London and the rest of England.

Single parents with children are more likely to be in poverty than any other type of household. Over half of single parents in London (53%) were in poverty, more than four times the proportion of couples without children. 

The biggest difference in the composition of those in poverty between London and the rest of England is the proportion of those in poverty accounted for by single people wit…

Poverty rates by demographic characteristics in London (2017/18)

Poverty rates vary significantly across different demographic groups in London and the rest of England.

Overall, poverty rates amongst men and women are similar. However, in the rest of England both men and women have a lower poverty rate (with 20% and 22% respectively) compared to those in London (27% and 28% respectively).

Within London, poverty rates are almost twice as high for BME groups (38%) as for white groups (21%). Amongst the different family types, single parents with children are most likely to experience poverty. In London, 54% of this group were in poverty in 2017/18. Between 2013/14 and 2017/18, London pensioners experienced the largest increase in poverty rates. The poverty rate for couple pensioners rose by 5 percentage points (from 15% to 20%) and for single pensioners by 5 percentage points (from 22% to 27%).

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