London Is Not 'Over' --  As This Chart Clearly Shows

Young people are flooding out of London, according to the Telegraph, and the city is “over”.

They’re not the only ones suggesting this. The Independent reported “
Steep house prices forcing record number of thirtysomethings out of London” at the end of November, and the Guardian went with “
Young Londoners flee capital for the regions“.

But there’s a problem with that: a record number of people aren’t leaving. For starters, they’re defining “young” here as 30-39, but we can let that go momentarily.

The Office for National Statistics deserves some of the blame here: it’s not immediately easy to find the numbers for previous years, but they are all here. Once you locate them, however, it’s abundantly clear that significantly more 30-39 year olds were leaving the capital before the financial crisis. Here are some of the figures:

58,220 people aged 30-39 left the capital, 32,260 arrived (net outflow of 25,960)

2007: 60,800 people aged 30-39 left the capital, 33,200 arrived (net outflow of 27,600)

2005: 62,100 people aged 30-29 left the capital, 31,900 arrived (net outflow of 30,200)

This is a pretty long-term phenomenon, and it’s not that surprising when you think about it. London is a great place for graduates to work, but it’s not so great if you want to raise children and it’s difficult to get on the property ladder. So from their 30s onwards, more people move out of London than to it, in comparison to the explosion of people who move to London in their late teens and 20s.

Check out that chart below:

The chart for women is almost precisely the same shape. But this was the case at least 10 years ago: it’s actually the financial crisis and recession period, where not many 30-somethings moved out of London, that’s unusual.

Some of the other points in the article are off base too. Anyone who’s tried to travel around say, Leeds by bus will know that London’s public transport isn’t shoddy. It’s comparatively amazing. That’s not even counting the prospect of trying to travel by public transport in rural parts of the UK, something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies.

London is whatever you make of it. Some people love it and will never leave, while others, including the people who currently live there, hate it. But it’s not over.

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