Income and Poverty

London's Poverty Profile 2009

  • Published 19th May 2009
  • Authors: Tom MacInnes, , Peter Kenway,
  • Category: Income and Poverty

This report covers London poverty (as measured by low income) and a range of other problems experienced by Londoners that tend to be associated with it, including unemployment and worklessness, low pay, poor health, weak educational outcomes and inadequate housing.

Key findings:

  • London is the most unequal region in England and income is more concentrated at the top than elsewhere. It has the highest proportion of households in the top tenth of incomes nationally, and the highest proportion in the bottom tenth.
  • London has the highest rate of income poverty of any region in England. Inner London in particular has the highest rates for all age groups (children, working-age adults and pensioners) after housing costs are taken into account.
  • Although Inner London is worse than any English region on many indicators, it has seen improvements in recent years. However, Outer London has experienced a significant deterioration across a number of indicators since the late 1990s, including child and working-age poverty. More of the capital’s low-income population now live in Outer London than Inner London.
  • Boroughs in the Inner East & South of the capital fare worse across a range of indicators in comparison to London’s other boroughs. This is particularly noticeable for worklessness and ill health. The difference between Inner and Outer London therefore masks a stronger contrast between the Inner East & South and the rest of London.
  • The proportion and number of children in poverty who live in a household where at least one adult works, has risen since the late 1990s. In-work poverty now accounts for almost half of all child poverty in London.
  • Rates of poverty vary considerably between London’s ethnic groups. Bangladeshi households are three times as likely to be in poverty as Indian or White households.
  • Work rates vary substantially not only by ethnicity, but also (within ethnic groups) by country of birth.
  • The unemployment rate among young adults in both Inner and Outer London was about 20% in the middle years of this decade, more than any other region. Inner London’s higher rate has been falling whereas Outer London’s slightly lower rate has been rising.
  • The proportion of homeless households in London living in temporary accommodation is ten times higher than the national average and five times higher than the English city with the second highest rate.
  • Educational attainment at both ages 11 and 16 has significantly improved in London since the late 1990s. At age 16, Outer London now has a lower proportion of pupils not attaining five GCSEs than any English region.
  • The proportion of men who die before the age of 65 is much higher in Inner London than in any other region of England.

About this report
This report was funded by the Trust for London and written by Tom MacInnes and Peter Kenway. The facts presented and views expressed in this report are those of the authors.