10 Charts That Show How London Has Changed Under Boris
The houses cost more, there's less crime...and we've got a big slide now.
In 2008, popular walking stereotype Boris Johnson was elected as London's mayor, sweeping into City Hall on a wave of support for his status as a legend who has proper banter. Today, after one re-election victory and nearly a decade in charge of Britain's largest city, he leaves that job, with his eyes on a promotion to prime minister. But how has London changed in the eight years he was in charge of it?
There are a lot more Londoners, for a start.
Percentage change in population from 2008 to 2014 (the last year stats were published)
London's population has grown (as you'd expect, given that Britain's population is growing too) – but it hasn't grown evenly. In one borough, the oligarch's playground of Kensington & Chelsea, the population has actually declined. And elsewhere, it's the east of London that's seen by far and away the biggest growth – Tower Hamlets, Newham, and Barking & Dagenham have all had their populations shoot up by 15% or more since 2008.
Press play above to see how the map of London would change if the boroughs grew or shrank in size in proportion to their population change since 2008 (you can also hover over the boroughs to get their exact figures.)
But that population growth isn't because we're having more kids.
Change in General Fertility Rate (GFR) per London borough, defined as “number of live births per 1,000 women aged 15-44” for the year, between 2008 and 2014 (the last year stats were published)
In most parts of London, the birth rate has actually fallen – and some of the boroughs with the biggest population rises have also seen their birth rates fall the quickest. Instead, as has often been the case, London grows because people move there. In this case, that seems to be lots of young, childless people, with their disposable income and their artisanal coffee and their vaping.
Oh, we're also dying less. Thanks, Boris!
Change in death rate per London borough, calculated as the number of deaths per 1,000 people each year, between 2008 and 2014 (the last year stats were published)
Death rates are slightly down in virtually all London boroughs. Woo-hoo! (In the interests of clarity, this might not be entirely down to Boris.)
But guess what...yep, house prices have gone through the roof.
Percentage change in seasonally adjusted average house price per London borough from 2008 to 2016
Not that Londoners go on about it all the time or anything, but houses in the capital are ~a bit pricey~. And during Boris's time as mayor, they got super expensive. As you can see from the map above, prices increased by over 20% in virtually every borough – but in the gentrification hotspot of Hackney, they shot up by over 80% in the last eight years. Which is either good news or bad news, I guess, depending on whether you own a house in Hackney? (No, it is definitely bad.)
And the gap in house prices between London and the rest of the UK has got much, much wider.
Monthly average London house prices (in red) vs monthly average house prices in the rest of the UK (in blue), 2002 to 2016.
For most of the mid-2000s, the average London property cost about 50% or 60% more than the average in the rest of the UK. But while the rest of the country recovered relatively slowly from the crash of 2008 and 2009, London raced away – to the point where London prices are more than double those in the rest of the country. Let's all move to Leeds or Swansea or something.
But we have loads more really tall buildings!
Number of buildings in London over 100m in height, 2008 vs 2016 vs 2018 (based on buildings currently under construction).
Look, if London's got all these extra people who like expensive houses, it's got to put them somewhere expensive. So it's no surprise that the number of skyscrapers in the capital has shot up in recent years. Boris has continued what Ken Livingstone started, which is (roughly speaking) saying yes to any plan for a tall building with a silly nickname. There were 33 buildings in London over 100 metres tall in 2008; right now, there are 51. And when you add in those that are currently under construction, the Boris years will have doubled the number of skyscrapers in the city – by 2018, London's expected to have 66 buildings over 100 metres high.
There's a lot less crime.
Change in crime rate per London borough, calculated as the number of recorded offences per 1,000 people each year, between 2008-09 and 2015-16
Use the slider below the map to see how Boris Bike stations have spread across the capital since 2010.
Launched during Johnson's first term as mayor (the scheme was originally announced by his predecessor Ken), London's cycle hire scheme has become very literally synonymous with Boris. Technically they're called "Santander Cycles" after their current sponsor (formerly "Barclays Cycle Hire"), but everyone actually calls them Boris Bikes. This map shows how cycle station coverage, initially launched in central London, has expanded to the east and the southwest – although large parts of south and north London remain entirely Boris Bikeless.
But nobody loves the Emirates Air Line.
Weekly Air Line passengers (four-week rolling average) from 2012 to 2016
Built with £24 million of public money, and intended as a part of London's transport infrastructure that would be used daily by commuters, the Emirates Air Line cable car across the Thames (also known by some as the Dangleway) has, er, not quite fulfilled its potential. It's now a not-especially-popular tourist attraction that at one point in 2013 had just four regular users.
On the other hand, we do now have a really big expensive slide.
Number of really big expensive slides in London, 2008 vs 2016.