Four in 10 Londoners unable to afford to ‘live with dignity’, new research shows

More than three and a half million Londoners, including one million children, have an income below what is needed for a basic standard of living.

Key figures include:

  • Additional costs in London mean that a decent standard of living in the capital costs between 12-66% more than the rest of the country
  • 3.49 million or four in every 10 (39%) Londoners live below MIS, compared to 28% of the UK population (2019-20)
  • Just under 1 million or 48% of children in the capital live in households below the minimum income needed for a decent living standard, compared to 40% in the UK for the same year
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) of children in lone parent households are living below MIS
  • More than a third of pensioners living in London (35%) have incomes below MIS, compared to 17% in the UK

The new figures come from an update to the Minimum Income Standard London, which sets out the minimum required for a basic standard of living in the capital based on research with the public.

Rising food and energy costs mean that Londoners now need to earn substantially more for a minimum standard of living.

For a single, working adult in London a minimum standard of living now costs at least 30% more than in 2020, the last time this study was completed.

The new report shows that wages and the social security system are falling well short of providing millions of Londoners with an acceptable standard of living.

It also highlights the scale of London’s housing crisis. An overwhelming majority of Londoners living under the minimum income standard (74%) are living in rented accommodation.

Matt Padley, Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy and lead author of the report said: "Our latest research, rooted in what the public think, sets out what is needed to live with dignity in London today.

"This is not about an extravagant lifestyle, but about doing the sorts of things that many of us take for granted. It’s clear that meeting this decent standard of living is just not possible for lots of people living in the capital and this means having to make difficult choices about what to prioritise.

"No one should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, or whether they can keep a roof above their head.

"All people should be able to feel secure where they live, connected to those around them, able to live with dignity. We desperately need a shared vision of what London could be – for everyone – and a clear plan of how to achieve this."

Manny Hothi, Chief Executive of Trust for London, said: "A basic standard of living is out of reach for millions of low-income Londoners, and the economic forces that have devastated us all are crushing them even more.

"We need drastic action now to ensure our city is not just the preserve of those on high-incomes."