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Distance of residential moves into and out of London boroughs

Distance of Residential Moves Out of London (1997-2020)

An experimental dataset from the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) comprehensively charts residential moves throughout the UK, shedding light on changing patterns and distances over nearly a quarter of a century (1997-2020). It does this by linking name and address changes recorded in consumer registers.

Here we have mapped the median distances of residential moves into and out of each of London’s boroughs, averaged over the entire 24-year timeframe. These patterns reveal how far people move when they decide to relocate inside or outside the capital. The maps reveal striking differences between east and west London, and between its outer and inner boroughs.

The ‘moving out’ map highlights behaviour of residents of Kensington & Chelsea who, along with the few residents of the City of London, on average travel furthest when relocating from London. As the UK's wealthiest local authority, residents seeking to continue their affluent lifestyles typically find themselves moving long distances, be it to villages in the Cotswolds, or upscale neighbourhoods in Britain's other major cities.

Elsewhere there is a clear inner/outer divide. Typically younger residents of inner city London often relocate to other cities, while outer London counterparts clock up much lower median moving distances. For these residents, the nearby countryside seems to be just as tempting as other towns and cities, and the pull of the big-city experience competes with a wider range of potential destination locations. East London boroughs of Havering and Bexley have lower median move distances than the other boroughs.

Distance of Residential Moves into London (1997-2020)

The ‘moving in’ map is quite different. Newham borough stands out as a borough into which people have moved the greatest median distances. This borough has a significant Asian population, and may serve as a destination for internal migration from other UK cities with large Asian populations, such as Birmingham and Manchester. Brent, a borough with a similarly large Asian population, is a close second. At the other end of distance spectrum, the outer east of London - Havering and Bexley boroughs – are destinations for moves over much shorter median move distances from outside London.

This fine-grained analysis of moves over 24 years is only possible using the linked consumer registers such as those created by the Consumer Data Research Centre. They provide unique insights into London's population that supplement official statistics. Used alongside such sources they provide context to analysis of the causes and consequences of deprivation amongst a large and diverse population.

The data are available for all the UK through the CDRC portal, and granular data at Lower layer Super Output Area (LSOA) level, are also available upon application.