The London Intelligence tells London’s story through data. This report explores the latest Snapshot of Londoners survey results, produced in partnership with Savanta.
This is the fourth regular Snapshot of Londoners. The previous issue is available to read here.
Londoners are feeling more optimistic about their employment prospects than at any time in the past year, but some groups are more optimistic than others: younger people, men, racialised Londoners and people from higher socio-economic groups (ABC1). The differences across gender and class reflect gaps in economic opportunities between groups. The age difference could partly be because people tend to be more optimistic earlier in their career and because young people think their situation can only improve after a period when hiring to entry-level jobs was depressed. Age profile could also explain the relative optimism of racialised Londoners, as well as migration status: immigrants are often more optimistic. For the first time in a year, self-employed workers were as optimistic as employees about their employment prospects.
Greater confidence in the job market comes back to the strong recovery of worked hours. Fewer Londoners had worked 10 hours or less in the previous week than at any time since May 2020. Back in January, some groups were more likely to have worked less than five hours in the previous week than the general population: women, young people (16-34), tenants, self-employed workers, and people from C2DE socio-economic groups). This gap had closed for most groups by June except for self-employed workers and young people – this might be by choice or perhaps as some balance work with study or other activities.
Whilst employment prospects are looking up, the economic impact of the pandemic continues to set Londoners apart. 41 per cent say the pandemic has shrunk their disposable income, but 20 per cent have seen their disposable income increase, as outgoings have reduced and savings increased.
People who have taken a financial hit from the pandemic are more likely to be women, racialised Londoners, self-employed workers, or be from a lower socioeconomic groups (C2DE), while men, White Londoners, employees and people from higher socio-economic groups (ABC1) were more likely to have seen no change or an increase in their financial comfort.
More Londoners are in a precarious financial position than in September 2020 – 48 per cent said they wouldn’t be able to meet an unexpected expense of £500 from their own money, up from 44 per cent in September 2020. This increase is in part driven by greater financial precarity among women (48 to 56 per cent) and racialised Londoners (50 to 58 per cent).
21 per cent of Londoners would have no way of meeting an unexpected expense of £500 even if they borrowed money – rising to 27 per cent of women and 31 per cent of tenants. This will leave many Londoners vulnerable as the eviction ban has now ended and the government plans to withdraw the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit.
More Londoners are satisfied with local amenities and public services than are dissatisfied with them – but experiences and views vary across groups:
- Men are happier with these amenities and services than women;
- Though difficult to generalise, the experience of racialised Londoners is overall less positive than for White people. Differences between groups are most marked on the police service, with which Black Londoners are much less satisfied than other groups (+7 net score);
- Satisfaction with public spaces is higher among older people, and lower for parents with children under 18;
- Satisfaction with the provision of cycle lanes is higher in inner London (net score +26 than outer boroughs (net score +16);
About a quarter of respondents are ‘neither happy nor unhappy’ with these services and are not represented in the chart above. Respondents who say they haven’t experienced the public service in question are also removed from the chart – this is generally a low number but highest for cycle routes at 18 per cent.
42 per cent of Londoners say there is a strong sense of community in their local area – a small increase from 39 per cent in May and September 2020. Younger people are more likely to be positive: 47 per cent agree compared to 33 per cent of over 55s. Homeowners, parents with children under 18 and Londoners from higher socio-economic groups are more likely to think there is a stronger sense of community in their area. This is probably because they have more time and financial stability to form local relationships, while parents have opportunities to meet others through school, childcare, and family activities. There is not a difference in the reported sense of community between inner and outer London.
Only 30 per cent of Londoners believe that they can influence decisions about their local area. Young people are almost three times more likely to agree than older people over the age of 55, despite commonly falling into ‘seldom heard’ categories in engagement processes. It may be that younger people are more enthusiastic about their potential to create change while older people are more sceptical – despite older people being more likely to vote. That said, in recent years, young people have often been at the forefront of social and environmental movements with local groups in London like ‘Choked Up’ demonstrating the important role that young people play in raising awareness and driving action on issues such as air pollution in their local area.
Racialised Londoners (39 per cent) and people with children under 18 (37 per cent) are also more likely to believe that they can have an impact in their local areas – probably as these groups are younger on average.
Involving Londoners in the challenges facing their neighbourhoods – from supporting high streets to shifting to low carbon transport or getting more housing built – will be an essential part of addressing these issues. Take a look at our research on what London government can do to strengthen community involvement in planning.
Londoners’ perception that crime is rising in their neighbourhoods has increased over the past year. High profile incidences of knife crime since the beginning of the year and the death of Sarah Everard have perhaps heightened the public’s consciousness of safety on London’s streets. While there are variations in how different groups of people perceive levels of crime, this doesn’t tell us whether they already believe crime to be high or low in the first place or whether they are just becoming more aware of these issues.
Nearly half of Londoners (46 per cent) believe that knife crime has increased, and this has risen significantly since the beginning of the year- going from 38 per cent in January to 46 per cent. Women are more likely to agree, as are racialised Londoners, people with children under 18, and younger people. The greatest variation was across generations, with 16-34 year olds 11 percentage points more likely to agree than older people, probably because the issue feels closer to them: most victims of knife crime are younger. Although weapon-enabled crime has decreased with lockdown rules in place, there have been high profile incidents in recent months.
40 per cent of people think that hate crime has increased. Racialised Londoners are most likely to agree, and this has increased from 35 per cent in May last year to 48 per cent. In comparison, 35 per cent of White Londoners think hate crime has increased over the last 12 months, up from 30 per cent in June 2020. Women and young people are also more likely to believe that hate crime is on the rise. There has been an increase in most types of hate crime offenses in recent years, but it is hard to know how much of this is due to greater reporting. Perceptions that crime is increasing is different from concern, though there is a strong link between the two.
A little over a third of respondents agree that street harassment has increased (we did not ask this question in previous rounds). Londoners with children under 18 and young people aged 16-34 are more likely to say this has increased.
Women are slightly more likely to say street harassment has increased (38 per cent compared to 35 per cent for men), as are LGBTQ+ Londoners (43 per cent). There isn’t a significant difference between the perceptions of White and racialised Londoners, but among racialised Londoners, Asian and Asian British Londoners are more likely to agree that street harassment has increased than Black Londoners (40 per cent compared to 35 per cent).
Street harassment is primarily sexual harassment in public areas – including misogynist and discriminatory name calling or wolf whistling. Data on street harassment offenses is not currently available and most offenses are not reported – but three quarters of women have suffered public harassment or violence in UK cities, according to a survey by Action Aid.
Despite a year that has included three lockdowns, high levels of unemployment, and restrictions of movement London is still the place to be for a majority of Londoners and this hasn’t changed since last year. 65 per cent of people are still happy to be living in London and 79 per cent still expect to be living in the city a year on from now.
A very wide range of people are happy with living in London, representing the diversity of the city’s offer, however, Londoners from a higher socio-economic group are more likely to be happy in the city.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Londoners are showing more optimism about their health since our last survey in January, as the vaccine rollout progresses. While 57 per cent of people express confidence over their health prospects, 15 per cent of Londoners are still left feeling pessimistic, with disabled Londoners most likely to say so.
Despite inequality in the COVID-19 mortality rates, with racialised Londoners more at risk of contraction and facing higher mortality rates, Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority Londoners are more likely to be hopeful about their health in the next 12 months. Young people and parents with children under 18 are also more likely to feel positive about their health in the near future.
58 per cent of Londoners are happy with the quality of healthcare in their area. Young people, Londoners with children, and racialised Londoners are much more likely to be satisfied, probably because they make less use of healthcare (racialised Londoners and parents of under 18s are younger on average). For most groups, there was a peak in satisfaction with local health care services in May last year – as the NHS was coming out of battling the first wave of COVID-19. Satisfaction has since decreased more quickly among Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority groups.
May 2021 saw some businesses reopening, including indoor hospitality and entertainment venues, with social distancing still in place. With Londoners given the okay to start returning to places they have done without for several months, more Londoners are feeling confident about heading into central London. Nearly two-thirds feel comfortable, up from 43 per cent in January and 52 per cent in September last year.
Despite a vaccination rollout which firstly prioritised older adults and health and care workers, young people are much more likely to feel comfortable (70 per cent) than those aged over 55.
CONCERN ABOUT ENVIRONMENT
An overwhelming majority of Londoners worry about the impact of climate change on their local area: 89 per cent worry about it at least occasionally, while only nine per cent say they never worry about it. Concern has increased in the past year: in June 2020, 15 per cent said they never worried about the local impacts of climate change.
All groups worry more about the impact of climate change than they did last year with the biggest increase among 35-54 year olds, Conservative-leaning voters, outer London residents – who are catching up on other groups – and racialised Londoners, who are now markedly more worried about the impact of climate change than White Londoners.
The proportion who are regularly concerned about the issue has also increased–- from 39 per cent in June 2020 to 46 per cent in June 2021 – with increases relatively spread across groups.
Some Londoners worry about the impact of climate change on London slightly more than the impact on their local area – and the latter is generally higher than the former, as some people may be concerned about the impact of flooding on the city as a whole but not their own neighbourhood.
An overwhelming majority of Londoners worry about air quality in their local area. 91 per cent of Londoners are concerned at least occasionally, and 46 per cent regularly, an increase from 85 per cent and 39 per cent respectively in June 2020.
Concern is higher among younger people and parents with children under 18, people form higher socioeconomic groups and racialised Londoners. The increase in concern was greater among older people, Conservative-leaning voters and racialised Londoners.
Generally, more people worried about the impact of air pollution on London than on their local area – probably reflecting the fact that some groups living in leafier neighbourhoods feel this is more a city or town centre problem than an issue for their local area.
This publication draws on interviews with 1,513 London residents conducted by Savanta between 24 May and 6 June 2021. Results were weighted to be representative of London’s population.
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