Young adults

16-24 year old Londoners

Date 31 August 2017
Date updated 20 April 2020

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

Young adults: Indicators

19-year-olds without Level 2 or Level 3 qualifications (2005-2018)

Qualification levels of 19-year-olds have significantly improved over time. This is particularly evident in Inner London where the proportion of 19-year-olds without Level 3 qualifications (A Levels and equivalents) has fallen from 61% in 2005 to 35.5% in 2018.

In doing so, 19 year-olds in Inner London now perform more or less on a par with young people in Outer London and better than their peers in the rest of England (where 44.1% of 19-year-olds lack Level 3 qualifications). 

A similar trend can be seen in Level 2 qualifications (the equivalent of GCSEs), although the proportion of 19-year-olds without these qualifications (in London and the rest of England) has risen slightly since 2015.

Level 3 attainment gap between Free School Meals and non-Free School Meals students at 19 years-of-age (2005 - 2018)

The attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students is lower in Inner London than in Outer London and lower in Outer London than it is in the rest of England. 

In Inner London in 2018, 19 year olds who were eligible for Free School Meals at the end of Key Stage 4 were 12 percentage points less likely to have gained Level 3 qualifications (equivalent to A levels) than their peers who were not eligible for Free School Meals. In Outer London the figure was 20 percentage points and in the rest of England it was 29 percentage points. Looking over the past decade, the attainment gap has remained fairly consistent, with Inner London always having a smaller gap than Outer London and the rest of England.

Destinations of KS5 school leavers in London, after two years (2018)

In 2018, 41% of London’s Key Stage 5 disadvantaged students went on to pursue higher education for at least two years, in comparison to 46% of non-disadvantaged students. The second most popular destination for disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students was employment (16% and 17% of each group respectively). 

This differs from the rest of England. Overall, the proportion of students who are disadvantaged in the rest of England (22%) is smaller than in London (34%). However, only 21% of disadvantaged Key Stage 5 students in the rest of England went on to pursue higher education for at least two years (almost half of the proportion in London).

This is offset by other destinations in the rest of England, including more disadvantaged students gaining employment after Key Stage 5 (27% in the rest of England, compared to 16% in London) or goi…

Unemployment rates by age group (2004/05 - 2018/19)

Poverty rates for all age groups are higher in London than in the rest of England, and have been so for the whole time period covered by this indicator. Poverty in London is most prevalent amongst those aged between 16 and 24, with 15.2% of this group being unemployed. This compares to just 3.5% of those aged between 25 and 64. Unemployment is lowest for those aged 65 and over, at 2.4% in 2018/19, however relatively few in this group are either in work or seeking work as the majority are retired. 

Compared to other age groups, the unemployment rate for those aged between 16 and 24 rose faster following the financial crisis and has fallen faster since then. 

The unemployment rate is the percentage of the economically active population (adults who are not retired, studying, looking after the home, long-term sick etc.) who are either without …

People sleeping rough in London by nationality (2011/12 - 2018/19)

The number of people sleeping rough in London has more than doubled in a decade. Some 8,855 people were recorded sleeping rough in the capital in 2018/19 compared to 3,472 in 2008/09. 

Most people sleeping rough are white, although the number of BAME people sleeping rough has risen faster than the number of white people. Of the people whose nationality is known, around half are British citizens, with EU citizens making up most of the rest. A large majority (84%) of people sleeping rough in London are men.

The majority of rough sleeping takes place in Central London. This has been the case for some time, but the proportion of people sleeping rough who do so in Central London has fallen from over two thirds in 2011/12 to just over a half in 2018/19. This has been primarily driven by a rise in rough sleeping in East London.

This information co…

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 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 …

Proportion of adults in poverty by highest obtained qualification level (2017-18)

People with higher qualification levels are less likely to live in poverty. In London, 31% of people with fewer than 5 GCSEs and equivalent as their highest qualifications were in poverty. This compares to 21% of people with 5 GCSEs or higher as their highest qualifications. 

As with other poverty indicators, poverty rates are greater in London than the rest of England for both people with and without GCSEs. In fact, poverty rates in London for those with 5 GCSEs or higher are only three percentage points lower than for those with low qualifications in the rest of England.

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…

Qualification levels of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged KS5 leavers in London (2018)

In 2018, the majority of London’s KS5 school leavers of both disadvantaged (71%) and non-disadvantaged (77%) backgrounds had Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A-levels).

This is in contrast to the rest of England. Here, while around the same proportion (76%) of non-disadvantaged KS5 school leavers had Level 3 qualifications, only 51% of disadvantaged KS5 school leavers had a Level 3 qualification.

According to the Department for Education, students are considered disadvantaged in Year 11 and attract pupil premium funding if they are eligible for free school meals at any point in the last six years, have been looked after by the local authority, or have been adopted from care.

Highest qualification levels obtained for working-age population by London borough (2018)

There is a large variation between London boroughs in terms of the proportion of the working-age population that have degree-level or above qualifications. Wandsworth has the highest proportion (65%) of its working-age population with degree-level or above qualifications, whilst Havering has the lowest (24%).

More than one in 10 of the working population in both Hackney (12%) and Enfield (10%) are without any formal qualifications.

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