By Sabrina Basran, Research Officer, City of London Corporation
‘Deprivation’ refers to the damaging lack of material benefits considered to be basic necessities in a society and is therefore a relative measure of wellbeing that can be assessed across a range of indicators.
A secondary research briefing paper published recently by the City of London Corporation explores deprivation in London through a review of official data sources and statistics such as those provided by the ONS and GLA.
A mixed picture in London
London is relatively affluent compared to UK regions and performs well across a number of measures of deprivation such as educational attainment, employment and life expectancy. However, London still experiences high levels of deprivation across the region by other measures.
- London has a higher rate of both primary and secondary pupils at state schools receiving free school meals than the average in England. For example the proportion of secondary school pupils claiming is 23.1% in London, compared to 15.7% in England overall.
- In all 32 London boroughs, fewer than 10% of available properties are affordable to a single person on average wages.
- London has the highest rate of child poverty of any English region - 37% of children in the capital are living below the poverty line. However, child poverty rates in London have fallen over the last ten years.
- More than 1 in 10 households (11.3%) in London are overcrowded according to 2011 Census data.
- The number of people sleeping rough for any one night in London has more than doubled over six years, and risen by almost a quarter in a year.
Deprivation is not equally distributed across London
There exist in some geographic areas ‘pockets’ of high deprivation, with some boroughs being notably worse off than others, and a number having areas of affluence alongside areas of deprivation within their boundaries.
The most recent Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD 2010) highlights that spatially many of the inner London boroughs, particularly towards the north-east, east and southern parts of London, are within the 20% most deprived Super Output Areas across England.
Inner London overall tends to perform poorly across a number of indicators of deprivation when compared to outer London. For example:
- According to the 2010 IMD, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham are the three most deprived local authorities in London.
- Islington has the highest proportion of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals at nursery and primary school level, at around double the London average.
- Southwark has the highest proportion of workless households of all the London boroughs.
- Outer London has around double the proportion of home ownership than inner London.
This is not to ignore the concentration of deprivation in other outer London boroughs: Barking and Dagenham, Brent and Greenwich for example, perform worst on some measures out of all the boroughs, including those in inner London.
What about changes over time?
The data presented in the paper suggests that there have been improvements in the performance of both inner and outer London against deprivation indicators over time.
Some suggest that there has been a shift in the spatial distribution of deprivation, with the outer London boroughs now performing worse than those in inner London. However looking at data, the baseline case remains that inner London overall and in absolute terms, continues to perform badly and compared with outer London.
What does this mean?
From the brief overview of data presented here, it is evident that deprivation is highly complex to understand and measure. It is also an area that is constantly evolving. This paper seeks to present to readers some of the key matters for consideration.
‘Deprivation in London: secondary research briefing paper’ was published in January 2015. The paper is available to download from the City of London Corporation’s Research webpage.