Young adults

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 (2004/05-2019/20)

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 61.1% in 2004/05 to 33.5% in 2019/20.

As a result of this, 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 2014/15.

Level 3 attainment gap between Free School Meals and non-Free School Meals students at 19 years-of-age (2005 - 2020)

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 2020, 19 year olds who were eligible for Free School Meals at the end of Key Stage 4 were 13 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 28 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 or the rest of England. 

Destinations of KS5 school leavers in London, after two years (2018/19)

34% of young people completing KS5 (post-GCSE qualifications) in London in 2018/19 were classed as disadvantaged, compared to 22% in the rest of England. The most common destination was higher education, with similar numbers of disadvantaged (41%) and non-disadvantaged (46%) students going to university. This is very different from the rest of England, where a lower proportion of people attend higher education overall and the gap between disadvantaged (21%) and non-disadvantaged (36%) students is much greater. Outside of London, young people are more likely to enter work (26%) or not sustain a destination for two terms (24%) than attend higher education, both of which are true of only 16% of disadvantaged London students. 

Pupils are classified as disadvantaged in Year 11 if they are either eligible for free school meals in the last 6 yea…

Qualification levels of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged KS5 leavers in London (2019)

In 2019, the majority of London’s KS5 school leavers of both disadvantaged (73%) and non-disadvantaged (80%) backgrounds had Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A-levels).

This is in contrast to the rest of England. A lower proportion (75%) of non-disadvantaged KS5 school leavers had Level 3 qualifications, while only 54% 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.

Net migration between Inner and Outer London by age (2020)

This indicator shows the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving either Inner and Outer London, by different age groups. A negative number shows that there are more people leaving than arriving.

In 2020, Inner London saw the largest net inflows of those aged between 20 and 24 (15,950, although lower than 2019 which saw 24,464 people flow in in this age group). Next highest was again for those aged between 25 and 29 (5,578 - much attenuated from the 12,107 people in 2019 in this age band). 

Outer London saw a net inflow of those aged between 20 and 24 (9,463 similar to the previous year’s 9,360 people). Although in the same age group, there are 1,859 more people leaving than arriving into Outer London.

In contrast, net migration in both Inner and Outer London was negative for those aged below 15 and above 29. Net outflow…

People sleeping rough in London by nationality (2008/09 - 2020/21)

The number of people sleeping rough in London has trebled in a decade. Some 11,018 people were recorded sleeping rough in the capital in 2020/21 compared to 3,673 in 2009/10.

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, just under half are British citizens, with people from the rest of Europe making up most of the rest. A large majority (84%) of people sleeping rough in London are men.

More people sleep rough in Central London than in any other part of the capital. This is consistently the case, but the proportion of people sleeping rough who do so in Central London has fallen from over two thirds in 2011/12 to less than half in 2020/21. This has been primarily driven by a rise in rough sleeping in East Lon…

Proportion of adults in poverty by highest obtained qualification level (2019-20)

People with higher qualification levels are less likely to live in poverty. In London, 36% of people with less 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.

Proportion of Londoners in poverty after housing costs by age band (2019/20)

In both London and the rest of England, poverty rates (after housing costs) are highest amongst children and young people in 2019/20. 

In London:

  • Under a quarter of a million (220,000) children aged four and under live in households in poverty;
  • More than a third of children aged up to 14 are in households in poverty (35% of those aged 0-4, 36% of those aged 5-9 and 41% of those aged 10-14); and
  • Two out of five 15 to 19 year-olds (41%) live in households that are in poverty. 

In contrast, one in five Londoners aged 25-29 (19%) 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 before housing cos…

Highest qualification levels obtained for working-age population by London borough (2020)

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 (67%) of its working-age population with degree-level or above qualifications, whilst Bexley has the lowest (29%).

Just under one in 10 of the working population in Redbridge (9.3%), Barking and Dagenham (9.2%), are without any formal qualifications.

Seven boroughs (Wandsworth, Southwark, Richmond-upon-Thames, Barnet, Kingston-upon-Thames, Greenwich and City of London) had sample sizes too small for statistics on no qualifications to be reported.

Average income deprivation percentile of the neighbourhoods that schools are located in by Ofsted rating (2020)

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 a neighbourhood it tends to be located in. 

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 a…

Population by age-groups (2020)

More than one in 10 people living in Inner London (11.1%) are aged between 30 and 34. This compares to just 6.3% 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 (46.2%), compared to the rest of England where three in 10 (30.8%) 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 relatively small proportion of London’s population is over 65; 10% in Inner London and 13.8% in Outer London compared to 19.…

Unemployment rates by age group (2004/05 - 2020/21 Q2)

Unemployment rates have increased in the year to June 2021, and this has been felt most acutely in London by those aged 16-24, who have seen it increase from 15% to 22%.

Unemployment rates for all age groups are higher in London than in the rest of England, which has been true for the whole time period covered by this indicator. Unemployment in London has always been most prevalent amongst those aged between 16 and 24, compared to just 5% of those aged between 25 and 64. Unemployment is also low for those aged 65 and over, at 4% in 2020/21, 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 also rose faster following the financial crisis and has fallen faster since 2014, bottoming in 2017/18 to then rise sl…