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13 Charts That Show Why London Is Basically Another Country

London is not like the rest of Britain - but don't begin building a wall around the M25 just yet.

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1. London is much richer.


This measures roughly how much economic output each region of England creates per person. Though it makes up just 13% of the population, London accounts for 22% of the British economy. Londoners earn, on average, 29% more than in the rest of Britain.

2. Londoners come from everywhere.


37% of the capital's population was born abroad, compared to just 9% of the population outside of London.


4. And London is far less white than the rest of Britain.

In fact, less than half of the population identify as "white British", the majority group nearly everywhere else in Britain.

5. Londoners are much better qualified.

The capital draws graduates from all over the world, but also from the rest of Britain. Over a third of new graduates move to London when they finish their degrees.

6. And much younger.


Of course, this varies depending on where you are in London. In the inner city boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham - first ports of call for hipsters and immigrants just arriving in the city, the average age is just 29. In suburban Havering or Bromley, it is closer to the national average at 40.

7. London is the only region where more people rent than own their own homes.

Via ONS, 2011 Census

In 2011, 49% of Londoners said that they rented their home - about half from social landlords (such as councils) and half privately. That's probably because the average house price in London is more than twice what it is elsewhere in Britain.


8. And the only place where most people live in flats.

Via ONS, 2011 Census

Tiny tiny flats that cost ever so much money. According to one calculation, the property in just ten London boroughs is worth more than all of the property in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland added together.

9. It is also the only part of Britain where more people get to work by public transport than drive.


Which is why it is slightly odd that national newspapers spend so much time complaining about train ticket prices...

10. In terms of what they get up to, Londoners are more likely to use drugs.

Via Home Office

This is probably mostly explained by Londoners being younger, since young people use more drugs. People in the capital are particularly keen on cocaine. 3.5% of Londoners aged 16 to 59 have taken it in the past year, against just 2.5% in England generally.

11. But curiously, they actually drink less.

It may not seem it in the pub on a Friday night, but when the ONS asked people whether they had drunk in the previous week, just 51% of Londoners said yes, lower than any other region.


13. Although it probably depends on who you are. London is far less equal than everywhere else in Britain.

In Kensington and Chelsea - the bluest blotch on this map - the average wage is £43,000 per year. In Barking and Dagenham, it is just £27,000.

London has the greatest concentration of the wealthy in Europe. Almost a quarter of the population pay the higher rate of income tax (far more than nationally) while 21% of children inner-London are educated privately. But meanwhile 28% of the population live under the official poverty line.

So why does this all matter?


Well because there's a big argument about London's relationship with the rest of Britain. Vince Cable, the business secretary, said recently that London "is becoming a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country" - its success comes at the expense of the rest of Britain.

However others, such Boris Johnson, London's mayor, say that London isn't free enough. Last week he told MPs that London is "fiscally infantilised" compared to its real competitors: cities such as New York.

The trouble is, quite probably both are true.


Take the example of The Beatles - one that got Boris into trouble recently. The band of course were Liverpool's proudest export. But would they have got as far as they did without London - without its huge audience, its record companies, its distributors and its reputation? Probably not.

As they did, every year, 200,000 people move to London from other parts of the country, and 250,000 people move out of London. The city is a sort of processing factory - people move here from all over the country, squash into tiny flats, pay extortionate rents all to improve their careers in a way that they couldn't at home.

So that's why London will always be unique.

For all that people worry about the malign influence of London – or alternatively, suggest that the city should be independent - the rest of the country wouldn't be the same without it. London may feel like another country, but it matters to everyone in Britain. So don't wall up the M25 just yet.