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



Mapping Londoners: Born in Sweden

For a small country of 9.7 million people, Sweden has quite an impact. From H&M on the high street, Ikea in our homes or Spotify on our music players, Swedish brands are part of British life.

But there are few Swedish people resident in the UK. According to the 2011 census 14,747 of the resident population of London were born in Sweden. That’s about half of all the Swedes in the UK and just 0.2% of Londoners.

Most live centrally, with 10% in Westminster, 1.200 in Kensington and Chelsea and 895 in Camden. Hackney, Richmond and Wandsworth were other favourite boroughs.

Born in Sweden

According to the most recent population estimates, based on the Annual Population Survey, so less reliable than the census, the number of Swedes appears to have fallen and may be down to 10,000 in London.

So some Swedish Londoners may have headed home. Those that remain can keep in touch with the homeland using Skype – that’s a Swedish invention too.

Source data

Mapping Londoners: Born in Denmark

Mapping Londoners: Born in Norway

More population maps


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?








Renting in London: 4 bedroom homes

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, as its name suggests, has a number of esteemed residents living in larger properties. The area has streets of fine Georgian terraces and median rental on larger properties is the highest in London, and the highest in the UK at more than £9,000 a month.

Westminster is the second most expensive at £7,800, but these two boroughs are far removed from the rest of the market.

Rental 4 bed map

The wealthy West London boroughs of Richmond and Hammersmith and Fulham are in the next price tier along with Camden and Islington.

Central areas such as Tower Hamlets, which has expensive smaller housing stock through the development of areas like Canary Wharf and Limehouse, is cheaper for this size of property and in line with outlying boroughs such as Merton and Barnet.

Sutton and Bromley are noticeable more expensive than the boroughs in the east of the capital, while their prices have been more in line for smaller properties.

For bigger properties the gap between London and non-London prices is smaller than the premiums for 1,2 or 3 bedroom properties – it is only twice as expensive.

Rental 4 bed

Source data

More on Renting in London





Renting in London: 3 bedroom homes

The additional cost of living in London for a family seeking a 3 bedroom house is punishing. As previously reported by Urbs, the premium charged is at its highest for this size of property, 150% above median rent for England.

Renting 3 bed

The nature of the housing stock in different parts of the city becomes more apparent in the map for this size of property. There is no data for the City as it has so little of this sort of housing. Kensington and Chelsea does have supply of medium sized homes, but at a huge premium, more than 3 times the median rent.

The inner boroughs and the leafier neighbourhood of Richmond can command rents in excess of £2,000 a month. Further out in boroughs like Harrow and Merton prices drop to around £1,500

Rental 3 bed map

Data from the Valuation Office Agency, the body that advises the government on property values, shows that it is only in the 3 most easterly boroughs that median monthly rental is at £1,200 and below.

Source data

More on Renting in London

Urban chic or leafy charm? Inner city rentals catch up with affluent areas

© Paulmaguire | Dreamstime.com - To Let Sign UK Photo-2

Photo: © Paulmaguire | Dreamstime.com

Hackney or Richmond? Brent or Fulham? Where would you prefer to rent a property? There’s now nothing in the price difference to help you decide.

Monthly rents are over the £1,200 mark in a number of historically poorer boroughs that are increasingly fashionable and gentrified, bringing them into line with the traditionally affluent areas.

Using data from the Valuation Office Agency, a government advisory body on property, Urbs looked at median prices to eliminate the effect of the high and low extremes.   The median monthly rental cost in Brent is £1,300, as it is in Hammersmith and Fulham. It’s £1,257 for a slice of Hackney’s urban chic, compared to £1,295 for leafy Richmond.

Median rent

The highest rates are in the central areas with the median rent in the City of London now heading for £2,000. Westminster and Camden are close behind.

All but 13 of the 32 boroughs have a median monthly rental of £1,000 or more. The outer boroughs of Sutton and Hillingdon offer better value but only Havering has a median monthly rental price below £800.

London continues to be by far the most expensive place to rent a property in the country.

Median rental national

The median monthly rental price across London is currently £1,350, a 3% increase year-on-year and double that of all regions of the UK except the South East.


Source data

See also:

Rents rise by 31% in 10 years

Landlords reclaim record number of rented homes


Crime Report: Richmond

Richmond has one of the lowest crime rates in London with some offences substantially below London level. Robbery is 71% below the city average, drug offence 56% lower and violence 43% lower.

Richmond recorded 10,800 crimes in the 12-months ending March 2015, according to data from the Metropolitan Police, giving a rate of 55 crimes per 1000 people. This is 32% below the London average of 81, the 4th lowest in London.

Crime report Richmond

The burglary count is at average rate and is divided into the 824 burglaries in a dwelling (23% below average) and 846 other burglaries (42% above average). 615 cycles were stolen, which is 57% above city-wide levels.

Richmond recorded 2 murders in the period

 Source data

More crime reports

Police Taser some young and elderly, and firing is up steeply in some areas

Photo: © Mediaimagephotography | Dreamstime.com

The Metropolitan Police says that its officers have fired Tasers at 2 children aged 14, and 11 elderly people in the past 2 years.

The details were revealed in a response to a Freedom of Information request from the leader of the Conservatives on the Greater London Assembly, Andrew Boff.   The details from the Met also show it aimed but did not fire Tasers in 29 other incidents involving people over 60, including 2 people who were 85.

Andrew Boff called the use of the electronic stun guns on the young and elderly “questionable” and has suggested that Tasers be linked to body-worn camera to record incidents.

Despite some controversy about the ages of people involved in these incidents Taser use by the Met has gone down. In 2013 Tasers were fired 248 times. In 2014 it was 216. But data from the Met shows a change in the pattern of use across the capital.

In 2013 the spread of firing incidents was broadly even. In 2014 Lambeth had almost twice the number of firing incidents of any other borough. There have been steep rises in use in Barnet, (1 in 2013 to 14 in 2014) and Redbridge (7 in 2013, 13 in 2014). Harrow and Richmond had no Taser firings.

Taser map

Tasers were first introduced by the Met in 2004 and 2,000 officers are trained and equipped to use them. The devices fire 2 darts carrying an electrical charge of up to 50,000 volts, which temporarily incapacitates its victim. The Met says that every use of a Taser is reported and scrutinised and officers are individually accountable under law for the level of force they use.

Source data


Crime map shows inner-outer divide

More than 700,000 crimes were committed in London in the past year. Urbs has constructed a map to show how crime is distributed across the capital, revealing the clear difference between inner and outer London.

Crime map

The average crime rate across the boroughs is 81 offences per 1000 people. The rate peaks in Westminster at 205 per 1000, but that is to be expected with all the workers, shoppers, tourists and revelers drawn to the area.

Camden, and Kensington and Chelsea have the highest rates after Westminster. In all the boroughs defined as inner London, except Wandsworth and Lewisham, crime is above the average rate. In all the outer boroughs it is below. Some of the outermost boroughs, such as Harrow, Bexley, Richmond and Sutton saw the lowest rates.

On Urbs London you’ll find more detailed breakdowns of the key crime statistics in each borough and how the distribution of certain offences differs across the capital. (See here)


Source data

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