A prosperity divide and neither rich nor poor seem happy

© Acmanley | Dreamstime.com - London Street Art Photo

Photo: © Acmanley | Dreamstime.com

The people of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Camden are among the wealthiest on average in the UK, but money is not buying them happiness, as they are more miserable than many across the country.

These findings emerge in an index that looks at the combination of wealth and life satisfaction to indicate levels of prosperity. It suggests that 6 London boroughs (Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Wandsworth, Camden and the City of London) are the most prosperous in the country. But 4 others (Bexley, Greenwich, Brent and Croydon) are in the bottom 10 of 170 areas assessed.

The high prosperity scores for London boroughs are based largely on wealth not well-being. The Legatum Institute, a think tank that says that it is focused on promoting prosperity, put the index together. It used GDP per capita as a measure of wealth and the life satisfaction data collected by the Office for National Statistics.

Residents in Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Wandsworth, Camden and the City of London, enjoy an average income of £133,000. 15 of the top 20 areas in the UK for average earnings, including Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Haringey and Islington, are in London. But the spread of wealth is not uniform across the capital and some boroughs come at the lower end of the table. Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Enfield and Barking and Dagenham have average earnings of £14,300.

What is common to all London boroughs however is the low level of life satisfaction. The happiest place in the UK according the ONS measure is the Outer Hebrides. Out of 170 areas the only London borough to squeeze into the top 50 is Bromley at 49 in the rankings.

Wealthy Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea are down in the mid 80s and only 6 other boroughs (Ealing, Merton, Sutton, Kingston, Richmond and Hounslow) make it into the top 100.

While residents of Camden and the City of London come top for earnings they are in the bottom 10 when it comes to happiness, along with Croydon and Brent. Haringey and Islington folk also seem to be miserable – 11th from bottom in the life satisfaction rankings.

Source data

See also

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

Pay rates underline gap between rich and poor boroughs

Welcome to the city of the super rich



The rise of a new London type – the millionaire seeking second citizenship

shard above cloudsLondon has always been a magnet for money and now it seems that overseas millionaires are trying to make the capital their home in increasing numbers. A report released this month names London as the top global destination for very wealthy people seeking second citizenship or right of residence.

As previously reported by Urbs, the UK already has the highest proportion of ultra wealthy with fortunes in excess of $30 million of any country in the world. Now it seems that those who are merely millionaires are following them.

The report by New World Wealth and LIO Global, two companies that advise wealthy clients, looked at the place of residence of 60,000 high net worth individuals (HNWIs in the wealth jargon) in 2000 and again in 2014.

The survey concluded that the UK was the most popular destination with London the place the wealthy chose as their second home. The USA and Singapore are the other most favoured destinations.

Country Inflow of HNWIs Number of HNWIs 2014
UK 125,000 840,000
USA 52,000 4,105,000
Singapore 46,000 223,800
Australia 35.000 248,100
Hong Kong 29,000 211,700
UAE 18,000 72,100
Canada 17,000 345,000
Turkey 12,000 100,200

The report says that applications for second citizenship and people migrating has increased rapidly since the turn of the century. This is due to unrest in their own country, concerns over security and protecting their wealth, and access to education for their families.

Most of the individuals heading for London come from China, Russia and India but it is also popular with people from the Middle East and Africa.

Researchers say that a number of factors have established London as a second citizenship hub. The international nature of the city and the English language make it attractive. They say that it is easy to move money in and of the UK and to buy property in the country. The EU open border policy makes travel easier. And the quality of schools and universities is also a factor.

The report defined a HNWI as a person with assets worth more than $1 million, excluding the value of their main home.

See also

Welcome to the city of the super rich

London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa

Foreign property investment helps London to top of global ranking


Elderly show wealth divide – 75,000 not claiming pension, more rely on benefits

pensioner coupleNearly 75,000 elderly people in London are not claiming their state pension. That’s 7% of the people eligible and a unique London phenomenon as claimant rates elsewhere are 99 or 100% and only in the South East of England does it fall below that, to 98%.

The majority of non-claimants are in traditionally wealthy boroughs, which may suggest that they feel no need of the benefit or that an itinerant lifestyle means it is difficult for them to claim it.

Data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that in the Kensington and Chelsea only three quarters of eligible over 65s are receiving their pension, in Westminster it is 77%, in Camden 80% and in the City of London 81%. Through most of central London the proportion is a little over 90%. Only the outer boroughs of Havering and Bromley have the national rate of 99%.

Pensioners recipients

While London has the highest level of pensioners who don’t receive a state pension, it also has the highest proportion in the country of pensioners receiving a pension credit.

Pension credits are paid to those who have very low income, and as a reward to those who have modest savings or a small private pension to supplement their state income. 15% of OAPs across the UK receive a credit. In London it is nearly 20%.

See also

Younger workforce makes capital’s population pensioner poor

Welcome to the city of the super rich

The breakdown by borough underlines the divide between rich and poor across the capital, and some of the variation within boroughs. As the map above shows, Tower Hamlets has 9% of its pensioner not claiming a pension. But as the map below shows, it also has 40% on pension credits.

Pensioners credit

The borough includes some deprived areas but also the sparkling skyscrapers and riverside flats of Canary Wharf. In the neighbouring boroughs of Hackney and Newham 35% or more are receiving pension credit. In Richmond and the City of London it is under 10%.

Pension recipient data

Pension credit data

Welcome to the city of the super rich

hThere are more ultra-wealthy people living in London than any other city in the world.  A survey of the location of people identified as Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) found that 4,364 are living in London.  That’s 22% higher than nearest rival Tokyo.  This extremely rich group is defined as people with over $30 million.

Wealth individuals

The rankings are revealed in the Global Cities Survey 2015, part of the annual Wealth Report produced by estate agents Knight Frank.

Worldwide there are 172,850 UHNWIs and their total wealth is $20.8 trillion. (A trillion has 12 zeros). Last year an additional 5,200 people worldwide reached the $30 million level.

In the UK as a whole there are 13,176.  That’s fewer than in the US, Japan, China and Germany.  But at a rate of 17 per 100,000 of the population, the UK has the highest proportion of people in this ultra-wealthy bracket.

London is not only the most popular home to UHNWIs but is also seen as the most important city to them based on business links, economic activity and lifestyle. Using the location information of these individuals plus a survey of wealth managers and private bankers who advise them London holds the top spot, followed by New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai.

For more on London’s place in other global ranking see here and here on Urbs.London