Well-being and wealth – how South West London soars ahead of the rest

Fine homes in Kensington and Chelsea,  where well-being is high

Fine homes in Kensington and Chelsea, where well-being is high

The happiest and most contented people in London live largely in the well-to-do South West of the city. The area where more people are unhappy or feel they are struggling is Enfield.

That is the finding from the Greater London Authority’s well-being index, and data just released shows how residents rate their well-being across 625 wards, the neighbourhoods within boroughs. Perhaps predictably people in the wealthier areas of London rate their well-being as high, those in poorer neighbourhoods do not.

The GLA defined well-being by identifying 12 criteria for people to rate across the categories of health, economic security, safety, education, childcare, families, transport, environment, and happiness

The results show that the happiest, most secure and contented people in London live in the up-market Knightsbridge/Belgravia ward in the borough of Westminster.

The top 20 wards included 15 in affluent South West London, including wards in Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond, Merton and Kingston. Bromley in the South East featured strongly with 4 wards in the top 20. West London scored 1 top 20 place with Northfield ward in Ealing.

The top 5:

Position Ward Borough
1 Knightsbridge and Belgravia Westminster
2 Campden Kensington and Chelsea
3 West Wickham Bromley
4 South Twickenham Richmond upon Thames
5 East Sheen Richmond upon Thames

The lowest sense of well-being was recorded in Edmonton Green in Enfield. Enfield scores high in the unhappiness stakes with 3 other wards in the bottom 10. The bottom 20 are concentrated in  North and North East London and include wards in Haringey, Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Hackney, Brent, Tower Hamlets, Havering, plus Croydon in the south.

The bottom 5;

Position Ward Borough
621 Upper Edmonton Enfield
622 Northumberland Park Haringey
623 Harlsden Brent
624 Fieldway Croydon
625 Edmonton Green Enfield

The ward map underlines how people in South West and West London have a high sense of well-being which is not shared by their fellow Londoners in the poorer areas in the North.  The green areas represent high scores, the orange and red, low scores on the index.

well being map 9

While East London gets lower scores, the corridor along both banks of the Thames between Canary Wharf and Thamesmead has shown a marked improvement since 2009.

Source data

1 in 3 kids growing up in out-of-work households in parts of London

children legsChildren in Tower Hamlets and Islington are more than 4 times as likely to live in a home with parents who are out of work than those in Richmond.

A borough-by-borough breakdown compiled every May from data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that 31% of children in both those inner London areas are living in homes where out-of-work benefits are claimed. The map below shows that this is not an exclusively inner city issue with 25% of children in out-of-work households in Enfield in the north, and 27% in Barking and Dagenham in the east.

In comparison, Richmond and Kingston in south west London have the lowest level of out-of work benefit households with children, followed by Harrow and Barnet.

Children out of work households map

338,00 children under 15 are in households claiming out-of-work benefits. London has a higher than average rate at 20%, compared to 18% for England, though since 2010 the rate has been declining and appears to be moving towards the national average. Unemployment rates in London have been static this year and are slightly higher than the national avearage, as reported by Urbs.

London is also seeing a reduction in the number of children being looked after by councils. While this has been historically high in London the rate has fallen below the rate for England since 2011.  It is currently 54 children per 10,000.  That means that in the last year a little over 10,000 children in London have been looked after by social services, children’s homes, foster parents or have been adopted.  Again there is a marked difference between the wealthier and poorer boroughs. In Richmond it is 20 children per 10,000. In Southwark the rate is 91 per 10,000 – that’s 550 kids.

Children looked after map

Source data

Children in Out of work households

Children in borough care

Self employed map shows huge rise in parts of city

hMore and more people are working for themselves and in some parts of London it has gone up by over 50% in the past 5 years.

Data from the annual population survey done by the Office for National Statistics shows a 16% increase in people who are self employed across London since 2010.  In Barking and Dagenham it has gone up by 59% in the same period.  In Harrow the rise is 52%.

The figures for 2014 show that 18% of Londoners are working for themselves, a slightly higher rate than the national average. In Barnet 25% of the working population is self employed. Camden and Kensington and Chelsea are just behind.  It is half that rate in Tower Hamlets, Bexley and Hillingdon.

Self employment

According to the Bank of England the record growth in self employment across the UK is a long-term trend and largely fuelled by older people continuing to work, and choosing to work for themselves.  In its recent quarterly bulletin the Bank says there is little evidence that the rise hides people who are looking for jobs or that people are under-employed in working for themselves.

Part time working has seen a more gradual rise over the pst 10 years. 22% of London’s workers are now part time, which is slightly below the national average.  But again the figures vary.  Enfield and Haringey have the highest proportion of part time workers, closely followed by Redbridge and Brent.  Hounslow and Wandsworth have the lowest.

Part time working map

 

Source data

Size matters – and it depends where you live

Obese copyLondon has a lower rate of adult obesity than any other region of England but there are large variations across the capital. 19.6% of Londoners are obese compared to the average for England of 23%. That goes up to a little over 25% in Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East.

But levels are even higher in some London boroughs as the map below shows.  Barking and Dagenham has 32% obesity and City of London 31%. That’s nearly three times the level in Kensington and Chelsea with 11.2%. Richmond also scores well with just 12.1% of residents classified as obese. It is double that in Hillingdon, Enfield, Bexley and Lewisham.

The data is based upon the Health Survey for England, the Sport England Active Person Survey and BMI information from the Understanding Society study for Health England.

Obesity is measured using the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters. The NHS’s easy calculator is here. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal, healthy weight. Below 18.5 is underweight, above 25 is overweight and 30 and above is obese.

Londoners also score well when looking at that data for people at a normal, healthy weight. In London it’s 41% compared to 35% of people across England. And in Kensington and Chelsea, Richmond, and Hammersmith and Fulham 50% of people or more are in this category.

Source Data