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The Mayor of London The London Assembly

The Survey of Londoners – a valuable addition to London’s Social Evidence Base

City Intelligence has published the headline findings from The Survey of Londoners, a major new social survey designed to measure social integration, economic fairness and food security across the city.

Over the last two years, we have been working with colleagues across the GLA to develop our social evidence base, our understanding of the social issues that affect Londoners. Through this work, we realised that many of the issues that are most important to the current Mayor and to our city, such as Londoners’ access to food and their relationships with each other, are poorly served by the existing evidence. We also needed to understand the distributional impact of inequality across the city in greater depth – too much of our evidence limited us to one data point for London and couldn’t be broken down to reflect the diversity and complexity of the city.

We wanted to make sure that our support for London’s communities is underpinned by the same high-quality evidence as used in our economic planning and the physical development of the city.

To fill these evidence gaps, we worked with NatCen Social Research, Britain’s leading independent research agency, to develop and deliver a robust social survey of London’s adult population. We needed a survey that would provide both representative results for the population as a whole, and also for as many of the different sub-groups within the city as possible. Understanding how Londoners experiences vary is essential to developing the right policies and programmes to tackle these issues.

The Survey has demonstrated for the first time the true extent of food insecurity across London – that 1 in 5 adults (equivalent to 1.5 million adult Londoners) and 1 in 5 children (400,000 London children) have low or very low food security. Being food insecure means that at times a person’s food intake is reduced and their eating patterns are disrupted because of a lack of money and other resources for obtaining food.

The Survey has also provided new data on the extent of social mixing among Londoners and how these experiences are related to their sense of belonging to the city, to the local areas in which they live, and their personal wellbeing. It has highlighted levels of loneliness and social isolation and how inequality is making it more difficult for Londoners to build positive relationships. And it has allowed us to measure debt among Londoners who are struggling to keep afloat.

Whether you are working for a London borough planning services for your residents, part of civil society bidding to improve outcomes for vulnerable groups or working in a different context to improve the everyday lives of Londoners, this report will provide you with valuable social insight.