Census 2021: Londoners who live alone and with ‘adult children’

Census 2021: Londoners who live alone and with ‘adult children’

Another batch of stats from the 2021 Census were released today. These new figures are about peoples’ living arrangements in England and Wales, and they tell some interesting and highly detailed stories about London and Londoners.

With so much material to look at it’s hard to know where to start, but an easy and obvious one was the percentage of one-person households in the city. Surprisingly, perhaps, the capital as a whole does not differ very much from the England or Wales averages.

Any perception that London is disproportionately packed with people who live alone is confounded by the fact that they account for 29.3 per cent of its households fall into that category compared with an England average of 30.1 per cent and a Wales average of 31.9 per cent. Moreover, that London figure was smaller than it was on the previous Census Day, in 2011, and its fall from 31.6 per cent is the largest of any region.

However, as ever with London, the overall average figure conceals significant variations within the city. The dark blue bits from the superb ONS Census map below mark local authorities with much higher concentrations of one-person dwellings: Kensington & Chelsea (43.7 per cent), Westminster (42.7 per cent) and the low population City of London (51.0 per cent).

Screenshot 2023 02 09 at 20.42.29

The maps are highly detailed, enabling you to zoom in to areas containing just handfuls of streets or fewer to reveal little pockets of one-person households all over the place and, in those central boroughs, Middle Layer Super Ouput areas – an ONS geographical unit – such Strand, St James and Mayfair where the percentage hits 56.5 per cent. Dig around for yourselves.

Another sub-set of figures that stands out, one which perhaps in part tells the other side of the one-person household story, captures where London’s non-dependent children live. Non-dependent children are defined by the ONS as:

“those “living with their parent(s) and who are either aged 19 years of over and have no spouse, partner or child living in the household, or aged 16 to 18 and who are not in full-time education and have no spouse, partner of child living in the household. non-dependent children are sometimes called adult children.”

Almost every local authority in England and Wales has an increase in non-dependent children in households, and most of the largest increases have been in London boroughs. But again the London picture is not uniform.

The ONS stats are sub-divided into households with married or civil partnered couples, cohabiting couples and lone parents.

  • The highest percentages of households containing a couple who are married or in a civil partnership and have non-dependent children living with them in Harrow (9.6 per cent), Redbridge (8.3 per cent) and Havering (8.1 per cent).
  • The highest percentage of households containing a couple who are cohabiting and have non-dependent children living with them is Bexley’s, at o.9 percent.
  • The highest percentages lone parent households with non-dependent children are found in Lewisham and in Barking & Dagenham, both on 6.3 per cent. The lowest figure is Richmond’s 3.5 per cent.

Make of those what you will. The close up details are again rich and compelling.

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Categories: Analysis

1 Comment

  1. Zidak Wiseman says:

    London also has a large proportion of single people sharing family housing. It only shows up in the data as “Other household types: Other, including all full-time students and all aged 66 years and over”.

    If we had more skyscrappers with small flats, single people could move out of the shared large family homes they’re now occupying, and Andrew Boff could go and live there instead. Win win.

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