The London Intelligence

The London Intelligence – Snapshot of Londoners – February 2021

The London Intelligence tells London’s story through data. This report explores the latest Snapshot of Londoners survey results, looking at how Londoners are coping with the effect of coronavirus on their finances and daily lives, and how experiences differ across groups. This issue is produced in partnership with Savanta.

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This is the third regular Snapshot of Londoners. The previous issue is available to read here.


It’s been one year since the pandemic hit the UK and Londoners find themselves in their third lockdown. Most people have settled into the state of things: and despite increasing unemployment, people are showing some optimism and thanks to government support there is little change in the proportion of Londoners struggling to make ends meet.

Still, nearly half of the Londoners we polled have seen a fall in their disposable income, and the pandemic has widened the income gap between certain groups. Data also suggests that the strong sense of community that people felt at the beginning of the pandemic has started to wane.


Londoners have seen their working hours fluctuate throughout the pandemic

Many working parents have had to reduced their hours to care for children while schools are closed – 36 per cent of Londoners worked 31-40 hours, down from 40 per cent last September.

This data does not include the loss of hours from people who have become unemployed. Unemployment has increased from 4.7 to 6.9 per cent since the start of the pandemic, a bigger increase than the UK average.

Half of Londoners are confident about their employment prospects, though some groups are more pessimistic than others

Women are less confident about finding a new job than men, as are people with lower level qualifications. Older Londoners between the ages of 55-64 are significantly less hopeful than other age groups and are the only group whose confidence has continued to decrease over the course of time.

Londoners with a higher education qualification have been less affected by unemployment during the crisis, which has been concentrated in the arts, retail and hospitality sectors.

Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups and young people especially, are more confident in their ability to find a suitable job in the near future.


Though the majority of Londoners have enough money to get by some are still struggling

This is particularly the case for Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. Tenants are also feeling the squeeze – they are more likely than homeowners to have seen their disposable income shrink.

44 per cent of Londoners said they have experienced a decline in their disposable income. This decrease has fallen disproportionately on those who were already struggling. Since September the gap between men and women reporting a decline in their disposable has widened, as well as the gap between White and Black, Asian and minority ethnic Londoners. Self-employed people have also been faring worse that those in employment, the gap between them has declined slightly since May.

Just under half of Londoners are able to handle an unexpected expense of £500 – and this figure has declined since last September

More people say that they would have have to turn to loans to cover the cost of an unexpected expense. While women are more likely to be unable to meet an unexpected expense, they are more likely to borrow from family or friends.

Older Londoners and home owners are almost twice as likely to be able to pay for an unexpected expense than young people and people renting their home.

Black, African and Caribbean Londoners are the least likely to be able to meet an unexpected expense. Those that can are more likely to borrow from friends and family than from a bank – only 10 per cent of Black, African and Caribbean Londoners would borrow from a bank, compared to 26 per cent from family and friends.


More Londoners are spending time in their local areas

The last 12 months have been some of the most turbulent in London’s history. People have been leading very different lives and many have been spending more time in their own neighbourhood than they expected. At the start of the new year, we asked Londoners how satisfied they’ve been with their local areas and the services they provide.

Older Londoners are happier than young people with their local public realm – 72 per cent of people aged over 55 are happy with local parks and public spaces. More Londoners are socialising outdoors and it’s important that London’s public realm is designed for all age groups and needs.

Over 11 kilometers of temporary cycle routes have been built in London since the start of the pandemic. But older Londoners, women and Londoners with a disability are least likely to have used them. Younger Londoners and men are some of the happiest with their provision.

People with a disability are less happy with their local public transport options than the London average – only 34 per cent are happy with the transport options in their local area. Lack of step-free access can be a barrier to using public transport. Currently, only 30 per cent of London Underground stations are step-free.

As London begins to recover from the pandemic, there is an opportunity to focus on improving local services, for all Londoners.

Concern for both air quality and the impact of climate change has increased since the start of the pandemic – they have both increased by two percentage points

Air pollution impacts Londoners’ health and the liveability of their local area. In 2019, 4,000 Londoners died from air pollution, and these deaths were concentrated among older, outer London populations.

Despite the increased risk, older Londoners worry least regularly about air pollution and the impact of climate change on their local area. Young people and those from a higher occupation status worry the most. Parents with young children also worry more than the London average – over half (54 per cent) of this group worry regularly.

Overall, 39 per cent of Londoners agree that there is a strong sense of community in their neighbourhood

But some groups agree more than others. Homeowners and parents with children are more likely to feel a strong sense of community in their local area. Different ethnic groups have different experiences of belonging to their local community. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups are more likely than White Londoners to feel a strong sense of community. And interestingly, this feeling is highest among Londoners from multiple ethnic groups.

People living alone are less likely than those living with others to feel a strong sense of community. They are also least likely to talk to family members, friends and neighbours, which can put them at risk of loneliness and social isolation.

Marginally more people felt a strong sense of community during the first wave of the pandemic than during the current third wave.

This publication draws on interviews with 1,501 London residents conducted by Savanta between 18 and 31 January 2021. Results were weighted to be representative of London’s population. Responses can be broken down by 20 demographic characteristics, and in this summary we only highlight some of the key differences between groups.

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Snapshot Of Londoners Produced In Partnership With

The London Intelligence Research Partner