Inside Out: The New Geography of Wealth and Poverty in London

Inside Out looks at poverty and wealth in London and how inner and outer boroughs have changed since 2001.

London is frequently said to be increasingly unequal. Headlines about “beds in sheds” and overcrowding sit alongside tales of billionaire basements, contributing to this widely held view. The real story, however, is a good deal more complicated.

Traditional assumptions about Inner and Outer London are becoming increasingly detached from the nuanced reality of a fast-changing city – a reality that must form the backdrop to public policy and politics over the next five years.

Our findings suggest that the differences between Inner and Outer London are becoming less defined.

Key findings

  • Poverty rates in inner east London have fallen, while rates in many outer London boroughs have risen.
  • Most Inner east London boroughs have seen a growth in the share of their population working in higher professional occupations. Outer West London boroughs have seen this share decrease or stall.
  • Outer London boroughs are now as cosmopolitan as Inner London boroughs. The foreign-born population doubled in Barking and Dagenham, Bexley and Havering, where it was lowest in 2001.
  • While owner occupation is still the dominant housing tenure in Outer London, the shift to private sector rental has been marked, with a number of formerly owner-occupied homes being ‘flipped’ to rental.

Inside Out previewed some of the findings from Housing and Inequality and builds on the research in Hollow Promise, which both analysed how different Londoners’ lives are being affected by the rapid pace of change in the capital.


This report has been generously supported by