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

 

 

How London boroughs will rival the ‘Northern Powerhouse’

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The Chancellor, George Osborne, is very proud of his concept of the northern powerhouse. He first coined the phrase in Manchester last year and couldn’t help a smile as the Queen used the term in the state opening of parliament this week.

The idea is to build the economy of the cities in the North of England to rival London and the South East. There’s even a government minister for the northern powerhouse. But a look at the economic data shows the scale of the task and underlines the strength of London.

The Office for National Statistics uses GVA (Gross Value Added) to measure the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, sector or area in the UK. Using the latest data for 2013 Urbs compared the North West region of England, which includes Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria with the area classified as Inner London West, which includes the City of London and 5 boroughs – Westminster, Camden, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Wandsworth.

North West of England Inner London West
Population 7.1 million 1.1 million
Total GVA £142 billion £151 billion
GVA per head £20,000 £136,000

The figures for Inner London West are inflated by the financial service activity of the City, but demonstrate its economic contribution. The per capita calculation may be unfair as many of the people involved in generating the output of the area in London may live elsewhere.

However, the figures for Inner London East – the 8 boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Haringey, Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth – are instructive. These boroughs represent some of the capital’s more deprived areas. The GVA for this area is £87 billion, which translates as £39,000 per head, nearly double that of the North West of England.

Developing a so-called northern powerhouse to redress the North/South divide is widely seen as a good ambition but the hard numbers show that London is likely to remain the real powerhouse of the UK economy.

Source data

See also:

NY beats London in economic power

London “most influential” global city

city towersLondon is the most influential city in the world thanks to its pre-eminence as a global financial capital and its location, according to business publisher Forbes.

While the United Kingdom is described as a “second-rate power” the capital leads the list for global influence judged by 8 criteria.  Researchers ranked cities according to the amount of foreign direct investment they have attracted, the concentration of corporate headquarters, number of business niches they dominate,  ease of air travel to other global cities, strength of services like legal and accountancy, financial services, technology and media power, and racial diversity.

The top five cities were:

  1. London
  2. New York
  3. Paris
  4. Singapore
  5. Tokyo

Location plays an important role in London’s ranking. Forbes says that being outside the US and the eurozone keeps it away from, what it called, “unfriendly regulators”. It has the second best air connections in the world, beaten only by Dubai. And it has a time-zone advantage over American in doing business with Asia.

History and tradition play a part too. Forbes says that London is the birthplace of the cultural, legal and business practices that define capitalism.  As the home of the English language it boasts a powerful position in media and advertising.  London has also become Europe’s leading tech start up city

New York came second in the Forbes list though in separate rankings for economic power and as a smart city, both reported by Urbs, it outperformed London.  The top two were some way ahead of third place Paris in all criteria. Singapore was the leading Asian city outperforming the mega cities of China and Japan. Dubai is the only city in the Middle East to make the top 10, thanks, says Forbes, to its globalisation strategy and a population diversity that has made it the crossroads of the world.

The size of the cities was of less importance. Of the top 10 on the list only 3, New York, Tokyo and Beijing, are ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most populous cities.  The cities of the so-called BRIC nations are becoming more important and Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai are all in the top 20. Poor infrastructure means it will be some time before Brazil and India break into the top flight of these rankings, says Forbes.

Source date

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

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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