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Census 2021 – what does this mean for Local London?

The first release of the 2021 Census data published in June 2022 provides some crucial numbers for Local London, the question is whether it is telling an accurate story for the fastest growing part of London. Sarah Murray, Director of Local London shares her thoughts:

“Data for England and Wales published on 28 June  goes some way to help us understand the changing nature of East and North East London.  The London population has increased overall by 7.7% and the population of all Local London boroughs have seen significant increases.

London is certainly moving East

6 out of 8 Local London boroughs have shown increases above the London average with the populations of Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, and Redbridge all with growth of over 10%. Of all London boroughs, Barking and Dagenham had the third highest increase with 17.6%.

Drilling into some of the detail of the age profile of borough populations shows an uneven picture. Newham’s population is one of the youngest with only 7.1% of its population over 65 while Havering recorded 17.6% of its population in this category.

Undercounting and does it matter?

However, there is concern that, as a consequence of the timing of the census in March 2021 that there is significant undercounting. This is in part due to significant numbers having left the capital during lockdown who didn’t return until later in the pandemic, especially young people. London Councils warns that the undercounting could have a potentially major impact on future funding allocations for the capital’s public services if not adjusted for.

The census data suggests London’s total population in March 2021 was almost 300,000 (3%) lower than the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) previous population projection for 2021, with some boroughs’ figures almost a quarter (24%) lower.  London Councils estimates around £4 billion of government funding to London local authorities relies directly or indirectly on census population figures. There will also be implications for billions of pounds of funding for the GLA, the NHS, police, fire and other much-needed frontline services.

We will be continuing to champion the needs of people in our member boroughs, to ensure we get a fair deal and to provide the support to residents that our need.”

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Further reading

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  2. Next Could you raise the career ambitions of young people across East London?