People sleeping rough

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 people from BAME backgrounds 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 London.

The number of people seen sleeping rough in London increased in both 2019/20 and 2020/21, despite initiatives like 'Everybody In' which aimed to ensure that people sleeping rough were adequately sheltered during the pandemic. This may in part be because the measure used here counts the number of individuals known to sleep rough in a year, not the amount of time they were sleeping rough for. 

This information comes from CHAIN, a database about people sleeping rough in London maintained by charity outreach workers. It contains a record for everyone known to staff and volunteers throughout the specified year.  

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) also produces snapshot estimates of rough sleeping. These provide much lower estimates of rough sleeping, as they are based on a single night, rather than across a full year.

People sleeping rough by London Plan area (2008/09 - 2020/21)

People sleeping rough in London by ethnicity (2011/12 - 2020/21)

People sleeping rough in London by men and women (2011/12 - 2020/21)