The pan-London picture: an introduction

The scale, pace and complexity of London's population makes it very different to any other urban area in the UK

Historic trends of cross boundary movement

Movement from inner to outer boroughs is not a new phenomenon in London- it is rooted in the city’s ecology: citizens move in, move up and move out.

Historically economic and social choices have shaped this movement; while this ecology remains today, increasingly the Londoner is now moving out of constraint rather than out of choice.

The last fifteen years have brought about much higher volumes of movement for adults with children; movement is more widely spread and interchangeable. This points to greater patterns of flux and transience experienced across the boroughs than a decade earlier, with outer boroughs consistently experiencing disproportionately higher levels of net inward flow.

Different driving factors create unique spatial patterns; the flow of children and young people or Local Housing Allowance claimants don’t reflect the trends of total population movement. This adds complexity to the pan-London picture and reflects the multi-dimensional nature of people flows.

Our analysis

This high-level analysis provides a contextual frame to understand the broader trends and patterns of cross-boundary mobility throughout the region and the wide implications it holds for all London authorities. This analysis draws on GLA, ONS, DWP and DfE sourced statistics available at the pan-London level, and combined, cover a 15 year period from 1999 to 2014. This data explores rates of change, rather than absolute numbers. 

For the purpose of this analysis data for the City of London has not been considered. In residential terms the City of London is markedly diffreent from London's 32 boroughs and is anomalous in this comparison.

Change in flow volumes suggests that the impacts of demographic change are being felt differently by each borough; however all boroughs are implicated by mobility and churn.

Outer boroughs are experiencing higher levels of net inward flow than a decade earlier, although felt most acutely by eastern boroughs. Although there is a higher frequency of transience and churn throughout the region, it is more apparent for inner London boroughs, where it is also quite clear that net loss is most prevalent.

Different variables have different consequences for different areas of London; in-year school admissions would suggest west London feels disproportionate pressure from mobile households, whereas looked after children statistics more broadly point to outer boroughs.

The last fifteen years have brought about much higher volumes of movement for adults with children, and in fact, internal migration of young people most faithfully supports an elevated inner to outer London shift with all outer boroughs experiencing the largest gains between 2009 and 2013.

It is important to note that variance in spatial patterns by variable reflects the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of people flows and their driving forces. In broad terms outer boroughs are projected to see continuing growth in internal net flows, while inner boroughs will be subjected to much higher levels of churn, underpinned by sustained net loss.

Based on current trajectories, this is likely to become starker with clearer lines between wealthy and poor households marking inner and outer space. 

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Migration volumes of children and young people

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) claims

Changes in LHA claimant rate compared across inner boroughs and outer boroughs

Demographic, social and economic change

Broader demographic, economic and social drivers reinforce and perpetuate the way in which people move around London

Population mobility

How people are moving in and out of London's boroughs