Anxious, unhappy, dissatisfied with life? Perhaps you live in Hackney or Barking?


How happy are you? Did you feel anxious yesterday? Are you satisfied with life, and does your life feel worthwhile? These are the questions the Office for National Statistics has been asking since 2010 to try to understand the nation’s well-being.

The most recent rankings show that people in Richmond and Kensington and Chelsea are most pleased with their lot in life while those in Barking and Dagenham, Hackney and Lambeth seem to have little to smile about.

The results are based upon a national survey carried out by the ONS that questions around 120,000 people nationally and over 13,000 in London. The responses indicate a greater sense of well-being in south and west London, in line with the GLA’s own well-being index, previously reported by Urbs.

When it comes to satisfaction with life the small resident population of the City of London came out top, closely followed by Kensington. At the other end of the scale the survey respondents in Barking and Dagenham and Lambeth were least satisfied.

ONS Well-being Survey
How satisfied are you with your life?
Most Satisfied Least satisfied
City of London Barking and Dagenham
Kensington and Chelsea Lambeth
Richmond Camden
Southwark Hackney
Merton Greenwich

There was a similar result at the top and bottom of the rankings when it came to whether life felt worthwhile.

ONS Well-being Survey
To what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
Worthwhile Not worthwhile
Kensington and Chelsea Lambeth
City of London Barking and Dagenham
Hillingdon Hackney
Bexley Camden
Richmond Brent

In terms of happiness the affluent areas of Richmond and Kensington and Chelsea score well once more, and Bromley on the southern outer edge of the capital also has happy residents. Hackney and Barking and Dagenham feature again but at the wrong end of the rankings.

ONS Well-being Survey
How happy did you feel yesterday?
Most happy Least happy
Kensington and Chelsea Hackney
Bromley Barking and Dagenham
Richmond Hammersmith and Fulham
Barnet Waltham Forest
Hounslow Westminster

As well as being unhappy the survey respondents in Hackney and Barking and Dagenham were also the most anxious people in the capital. As their boroughs feature in the bottom 5 in all 4 categories perhaps that’s not surprising.

ONS Well-being Survey
How anxious did you feel yesterday?
Least anxious Most anxious
Enfield Hackney
Barnet Barking and Dagenham
Harrow Lambeth
Newham Southwark
Hillingdon Islington

The least anxious were not in the affluent areas that scored well in other categories but in the North London boroughs of Enfield, Barnet and Harrow.

Source data

See also

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

Are you a north of the river or south of the river Londoner?








Are you a north of the river or south of the river Londoner?

© Yolfran |

Photo: © Yolfran |

There’s a sort of convention in London that you are either a north of the river person or a south of the river person. Wherever you were born in the capital, or where you first lived when you arrived sets a pattern for the area of the city that you call home.

But is there any truth to this? Surely it is only vampires and cab drivers late at night that seem unable to cross running water. Londoners must be more mobile?

So to test the theory at Urbs London we decided to dig into the data on borough to borough moves around the city. Were people really partisan in their choice of Crouch End over Clapham or Southwark over Hackney? Here’s what we found.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics on local authority migration is for 2013 and it shows that 361.000 people moved between London boroughs. With 32 boroughs plus the City of London there are 1,000 possible permutations for those moves. Only 24 of these “routes” saw more than 2,000 people. Here’s the top 10.


Area From To Number
N Haringey Enfield 4,210
N Newham Redbridge 3,770
S Southwark Lewisham 3,650
S Lambeth Wandsworth 3,530
S Wandsworth Lambeth 3,380
S Lambeth Southwark 3,350
S Greenwich Bexley 3,340
N Ealing Hillingdon 3,320
S Wandsworth Merton 3,160
N Brent Harrow 3,020

Most “routes” involve people moving to a neighbouring borough. And there is a general pattern in the “routes” of people moving a step further out from the centre of the city.

We did find some people venturing across the river. 1,880 people from Hammersmith and Fulham moved the other side of Wandsworth Bridge. 1,670 people swapped Hounslow for Richmond, and 1,290 people went the other way, but as Richmond straddles the Thames it is not possible to check if they did cross the river.

The significant movements across the river were between neighbouring boroughs, and those from further afield are measured in hundreds. Only 130 people, for example, wanted to swap Alexandra Palace for Crystal Palace.

So, not crossing running water – make that vampires, cab drivers and most Londoners.

Source data

Go east young man – it’s where young London lives

Booming population will struggle to find a place to live


The Marmite response to living in the capital

flatsLondon divides opinion among people in the UK.  The Britain Uncovered survey done by Opinium Research for The Guardian shows the love/hate relationship that people have with the capital. Asked where else in the UK they would like to live London was the second favourite destination, just behind the South West, with 15%.  But it was the top answer by some considerable margin to the question of where would you least like to live,  named by 30%.  Northern Ireland and the East Midland were second with 14%.

London is considered the wealthiest place in Britain, identified by 65% of people taking part in the survey.  But being the wealthiest place did not give it the best quality of life.  Only 14% said that was best in the capital.  Although those who live here had a more favourable view.  30% of Londoners said it offered the best quality of life in the UK.

The South West topped the list for quality of life. 29% thought it had most to offer, and perhaps proving that the best things in life are free, only 5% had identified it as the wealthiest region.

Optinium Research interviewed 1,019 people ealier this year.  The survey was weighted to reflect the demographic profile of Britain’s adult population.

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