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London for the over-50s

Ageing in Place Classification (2022)

The Ageing in Place Classification (AiPC) classifies each area of England based on the attributes of the over-50 population living there. In this map, we visualise this across London.

Each area is classed as one of attributes:

  • Multicultural Central Urban Living - city dwellers with relatively low numbers of over-50s. The youngest and most diverse group. Unemployment is higher among the working-age population (50-64) in these areas.
  • Cosmopolitan Comfort Ageing - busy urban areas popular with 50+ - including high numbers aged 50-64, with high levels of education attainment and employment
  • Rurban Comfortable Ageing - the oldest group, with high proportion 65+. In London these areas are in the outer, most rural parts of the city
  • Struggling, More Vulnerable Urbanites - areas with older populations typically reliant on social housing and with potential income deprivation and fuel poverty
  • Retired Fringe and Residential Stability - areas with high proportions of retirees, likely to be home owners

Fuller "pen portrait" summaries of these five clusters are detailed below. Struggling, More Vulnerable Urbanites, shown in red on the map, represents the 50+ population where the most focus is necessary from a deprivation perspective, for example when considering area-based targeting of interventions. In London, this group is in relatively few areas compared with the other clusters, but there are several local hotspots of this cluster, showing that living in London does bring significant challenges for older populations. While this cluster rightly should be the focus of deprivation research and action, some of the other clusters do have some deprivation aspects associated with them, such as relatively high unemployment for work-age individuals in the Multicultural Central Urban Libing cluster, or dementia prescription rates in Cosmopolitan Comfort Ageing.

The classification is based on multiple high quality data sources including ONS 2011 Census, British Population Survey (BPS), Access to Healthy Assets & Hazards (AHAH), NHS English Prescribing Data (EPD), Registered Patient (RP).

AiPC is classified across the whole of England, based on the characteristics of the 50+ population right across the nation. This London "view" of the classification therefore only shows a small number of areas for some of the clusters - there is a dominance towards the multicultural/cosmopolitan cluster groups and away from the rural-dominated ones. However, each of the five clusters are represented in at least part of the capital.

More than half of London falls into the "Multicultural Central Urban Living" category. Looking at the population of this group across England, the classification pen portrait notes that it contains the highest proportion of 50-64 year-olds, however the unemployment rates are higher than the average for this age group, and the highest of all the categories. The group does benefit from having the shortest travel distances to amenities, health support services and civic assets.

The second most common group, "Cosmopolitan Comfort Ageing" reflects a 50+ population that has high education employment rates, good access to and engagement with internet services, and good health outcomes, although there is an elevated prescribing rate for dementia medications. Housing for this cohort is expensive and they are more likely to live in over-crowded conditions than the over groups.

The first two groups account for around 85% of LSOAs (statistical areas) in London, although the 50+ populations within these areas may be somewhat lower than for the remaining three. The third most common group is "Rurban Comfortable Ageing" (where rurban is a term used for the Rural/Urban fringe where new housing typically occurs - limited in London by the green belt). The population here indeed seen on London's most rural areas - in Bromley and Croydon boroughs. The group has the highest median age of all the AiPC groups. Older people in these areas are of good health in general, are digitally engaged, and benefit from better air quality and lower crime rates. However the distance to services and amenities are amongst the highest. Accordingly, this supergroup is the most likely to have access to a vehicle.

The fourth group, "Struggling, More Vulnerable Urbanites" shows considerable spatial skew in the distribution, with much of Barking & Dagenham borough falling into this category, along with key parts of Croydon (specifically, New Addington), Greenwich, Bexley and Havering, along with smaller parts of some other outer London boroughs. There is an above average representation in socially rented accommodation, and are more likely to experience income deprivation and fuel poverty. Residents have the lowest levels of educational attainment of the five groups. They provide high levels of unpaid care, suffer from poor health, and see the highest rates of prescribing dementia medications for more advanced conditions.

The least-represented group (by area) in London is "Retired Fringe and Residential Stability" - here the population is oldest and most stable, with a high proportion owning their property outright and the lowest level of residential mobility (i.e. moving house). Otherwise, the population most closely represents the English "average" across the measured variables that form the geodemographic classification.

The benefits of summarising a broad population into simple, discrete geodemographic groups allows for effective policy targetting, ensuring that significant deprived populations can be easily identified. It is important to note that while the classification of an area reflects a significant proportion of people living there, it does not represent the full population, and more detailed follow-up analysis is necessary.

The Ageing in Place Population, by focussing on the 50+ population only, allows for emphasising specific factors that this population is vulnerable to - fuel poverty, health services accessibility and internet provision and engagement.