People

London's Poverty Profile is divided into five themes: 

  • People; 
  • Living standards;
  • Housing;
  • Work, worklessness and benefits; and 
  • Shared opportunities. 

Each one provides insights into a range of different indicators of poverty and inequality across London, drawing comparisons over time, between different boroughs and with the rest of the country.

The People theme gives an overview of the demography and rich diversity of London and Londoners. It provides a frame through which poverty and inequality of outcomes can be explored across London's Poverty Profile.

People: Indicators

Births and deaths in London (2010-2020)

Each year, more people are born in London than die. Just under 116,000 babies were born in 2020 and nearly 59,000 died. Although births continued to decrease somewhat, they were at a broadly similar level in 2020 to 2019, whereas deaths show a substantial increase presumably due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a 10,000 increase on the previous year when around 49,000 people died. So, in 2020, the net natural population change was an increase of 57,000 whereas in 2019 it was 71,000.

The number of births in London has fallen slightly from the peak of 134,000 following a mini baby boom in years running up to 2012. Newham and Tower Hamlets were the boroughs with the highest levels of net births in 2020, with 3,800 and 3,086 respectively.

These maps show data from our London borough comparison tile.

Boroughs have been labelled higher, lower, or mid (average) according to threshold values of one standard deviation above or below the mean of all the borough values.

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

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

In 2020, there were 33.9 children for every 100 working-age adults within Outer London. This figure is both higher than the child dependency ratio in Inner London (26.4 children per 100 working-age adults) and the rest of England (30.8 children per 100 working-age adults).

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 decline after 2020.

Childhood obesity for children in Year 6 by London borough (2009/10 and 2019/20)

Childhood obesity is more prevalent in London than England overall. In 2019/20, 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 2009/10 and 2019/20.

Public Health England’s latest figures in 2019/20 show that Barking and Dagenham has the highest proportion of childhood obesity out of all London boroughs at 2%. The borough also had the largest rise in childhood obesity since 2009/10 (a 5.7 percentage point increase). At the other end of the scale, 11.1% of Year 6 children in Richmond upon Thames are obese in 2019/20 with just a 0.1 percentage point increase compared to …

London's non-UK born population by country of birth (2010 and 2020)

Of Londoners not born in the UK, more were born in India than any other country. 349,000 Londoners were born in India and the second most common non-UK born country is Nigeria with a population of 135,000.

The foreign-born population in London from most countries has increased since 2010. For example, there were around 77,000 more people born in India living in London in 2020 than there were in 2010. The population of those born in Romania and Italy more than doubled over the decade.

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births (2001-2020)

In 2018-2020, the average number of deaths per 1,000 live births was higher in England (3.9) than in London (3.4). 

To get to this point, 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. 

In the years since, the infant mortality rate has fallen further in London (a reduction of 1death per 1,000 live births) than in England (a reduction of 0.5 deaths per 1,000 live births).

The data is based on three-year averages and therefore data referring to COVID-19 (in 2020) cannot be isolated from the latest datapoint.

Infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births by London borough (2018-20)

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

The average number of deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018 to 2020 was 3.4 in London, whereas in England it was 3.9. Hounslow is the borough with the highest infant mortality rate in London (4.7 per 1,000 live births). Wandsworth is the London borough with the lowest infant mortality rate (1.9 per 1,000 live births).

The data is based on three-year averages and therefore data referring to COVID-19 (in 2020) cannot be isolated from the latest datapoint.

Qualification levels of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged KS5 leavers in London (2020)

In 2020, the majority of London’s KS5 school leavers of both disadvantaged (80%) and non-disadvantaged (83%) backgrounds had Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A-levels).

This is in contrast to the rest of England. A lower proportion (79%) of non-disadvantaged KS5 school leavers had Level 3 qualifications, while only 61% 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.

Economic activity status of Londoners aged 16 and over (2020/21 Q3)

Nearly 4.68 million Londoners - 65% of the adult population - were in work of some kind as measured across the year to September 2021. This is higher than the 59% of adults who are employed in the rest of England. Nearly three in ten adults in London are classed as economically inactive (30%).

There are over 300,700 more men in work in London than women. The men who work in London are also more likely to be self-employed, with 13% of men who work in London doing so for themselves compared to 8% of women. 

Women are significantly more likely to be economically inactive than men, with 38% of women not working compared to 25% of men. For many types of inactivity, women and men have very similar rates, including long-term sickness, studying and temporary sickness. 

However, women were significantly more likely to not be working because they wer…

Life expectancy at birth by London borough (2017-19)

This indicator shows overall life expectancy at birth as well as healthy life expectancy. The latter indicates the number of years a person can expect to live in good health rather than with a disability or in poor health.

Overall, life expectancy is higher for women than for men in 2017 to 2019. This is true across all London boroughs. However, this is less clear for healthy life expectancy, with some boroughs having a longer healthy life expectancy for men than women. For example, healthy life expectancy for men in Tower Hamlets is 62.9 years whereas for women it is only 59.2 years.

The highest life expectancy for both men and women is in Westminster, with 84.9 and 87.2 respectively. The lowest life expectancy for both men (78.1 years) and women (82.3 years) is found in Barking and Dagenham, however it is notable that the borough perform…

Key population statistics for London and it's sub-regions

Region Total population Population change (2010-2020) Population per km2 % BME % not UK-born
London sub-region: Central 1,607,000 14% 12,475 34% 40%
London sub-region: East 2,869,200 13% 6,214 44% 37%
London sub-region: North 999,000 9% 2,164 34% 37%
London sub-region: South 1,644,400 8% 4,221 31% 31%
London sub-region: West 1,882,800 6% 4,770 50% 40%
London 9,002,400 10% 5,727 40% 37%
Rest of England 47,547,700 6% 369 11% 11%

Data source: Mid-year population estimates (2020), Population of the UK by country of birth and nationality ONS (2020), via NOMIS. Ethnic group populations from Annual Population Survey ONS (2020), via London Datastore.

More than 9.0 million people live in London. Between 2010 and 2020, London’s population increased at a faster rate than the rest of England. Central London saw the biggest increase (14%), closely followed by East London with 13%. London’s overall growth of 10% is higher than the rest of England’s growth of 6%. 

Central London has the highest level of population density with 12,475 people per km2, which is over twice the level of London overall. Still, London overall is 15 times more dense than the rest of England, with 5,727 and 369 people per km2 respectively.

40% of Londoners are Black and Minority Ethnic and 37% are not b…

Net migration to or from London and the rest of England by age (2019 and 2020)

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

In 2020, London saw large net inflows of those aged between 20 and 24 (24,043 people) and a small inflow for those aged between 25 and 29 (2,376 people). In contrast, net migration was negative for those aged below 19 and above 29. The largest negative net flow was for those between the age of 30 and 39, where 35,645 more people were leaving than arriving in London. This number gradually decreases as the age groups become older. 

Additionally those between the age of 0 and 4 see a large negative net migration of 14,780, which most likely refer to the families with children moving out of London and into the rest of England.

Compared to the previous yea…

Migration in and out of London over time (2010/11 - 2019/20)

Net migration plays a relatively small role in explaining the increase in population seen in London over the last decade. Other indicators on London's Poverty Profile show that the fact that there are far more births than deaths in London each year (over 57,000 more births than deaths in 2019/20) is the main contributor to London’s increasing population. In fact, net migration reduced the overall population of London by 17,000 people in 2019/20, as more people left London than moved to London.

London net migratory balance has been decreasing since 2014/15, when the capital attracted almost 50,000 new residents from elsewhere, to 2018/19 and 2019/20, years in which London lost 17,000 residents due to migratory movements. In the last decade, London has consistently had a negative balance regarding net domestic migration, as more people…

Net migration between Inner and Outer London by age group (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.

The latest mid-year figures (the year up to June 2020) show that Inner London experienced the largest net inflows of those aged between 20 and 24 –  with a net inflow of 15,950 people. However, when compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019,  this is almost 10,000 fewer people. Additionally, the next highest inflow levels were for those aged between 25 and 29 in Inner London –  with a net of 5,578 people in 2020. However, this is less than half of the people in comparison to pre-pandemic levels in 2019 (12,107 people).

Outer London saw a net inflow of those aged between 20 and 24 (9,463 similar to the previous year’s 9,360 people…

Old-age dependency ratio by area over time (2000 - 2030)

Both Inner and Outer London have a lower old-age dependency ratio than the rest of England. In Inner London in 2020, there were 13.6 people over the age of 65 for every 100 working-age adults. This compares to 21.6 in Outer London and 32.1 in the rest of England. 

The dependency ratio reflects the degree to which the working-age population and national and local government might need to support those who are retired. As the population ages, the dependency ratio is projected to increase quite rapidly.

Net population change in London (2010/11 - 2019/20)

Each year, the number of births in London significantly outweighs the number of deaths. This means that natural population change (births minus deaths) is consistently a much greater contributor to population growth in London than migration. 

In 2019/20, however, natural population growth was significantly lower than in previous years (with almost 57,000 more births than deaths), mostly as a result of the higher number of deaths (presumably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic). The impact of the pandemic on migration appears to be less evident, with a similar negative contribution to the capital’s population of 17,000 people, and similar levels of both inflows and outflows of people.

Over the last five years, the net contribution of migration to London’s population growth has been negative (-26,000), reducing in more than 7% natural popul…

London's population over time (1931-2030)

The size of London’s population has changed dramatically over the past century; falling from a pre-Second World War high of 8.6 million people in 1939 to around 6.8 million in the 1980s. The fall was most pronounced in Inner London, which saw its population reduce by almost half over 50 years. 

London’s population has been recovering since the early 1990s and hit a new high of 9 million in 2019. In a reversal of the mid-20th Century trend, both Inner and Outer London have been growing steadily, although Inner London is still a million people short of its population in 1931. By 2030, London’s population is expected to increase, but at a slower rate, with a total population of 9.4 million.

Proportion of households in poverty by family type (2019-20)

Poverty rates amongst most household types in London are higher than in the rest of England. For example, the poverty rate for couple pensioners (23%) in London is almost twice that of couple pensioners (13%) in the rest of England. Similarly, 28% of couples with children are in poverty in London compared to 21% in the rest of England. Couples without children have similar poverty rates in both London (12%) and the rest of England (13%).

Single parents with children are more likely to be in poverty than any other type of household. Half of single parents in London (50%) were in poverty, more than four times the proportion of couples without children.

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.

Premature deaths per 100,000 under-75 year olds by London borough (2018-20)

The rate of premature deaths is lower in the majority of London boroughs compared to England overall. However, 10 London boroughs have rates of premature deaths that are higher than that of England overall.

Premature deaths are calculated as an average across three years (from 2018 to 2020) and look at the mortality rate for all deaths under the age of 75. They are presented as a rate per 100,000 people aged under 75 in each area. Since they are three-year averages, the impact of COVID-19 (in 2020) on mortality rates cannot be isolated from the latest datapoint.

The average number of deaths per 100,000 under-75 year olds in England is 330, whereas in London it is 303. Barking and Dagenham has, on average, the highest premature death rate (449 per 100,000 under-75 year olds), whereas Kensington and Chelsea has the lowest detectable rate (23…

Numbers of non-working men and women aged 16-64 in London (2019/20 Q1 and 2020/21 Q3)

This indicator shows the reasons for not working for men and women, as well as the number of working-age people who are not working in London.

The number of men who are not working increased from 2019/20 to 2020/21 from 600,000 to 680,000, while the number of women who are not working stayed similar, around 900,000. The increase in the number of non-working men is likely the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is largely fuelled by a rise in unemployment from 130,000 to 165,000, an increase of 25%. The number of students, retired and inactive men also increased.

The largest difference between men and women is the proportion of those who do not work because they are looking after their family or home. While only 4% of non-working men fall in this category, 29% of women do.

The proportion of women who cite looking after family or home as thei…

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.…