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London for the over 50s - Map of the Month

Author: Oliver O'Brien, researcher and software developer at the UCL Department of Geography

River Thames illustration

October's Map of the Month looks at the Ageing in Place Classifications, splitting each LSOA in London into one of five categories based on the attributes of the local over 50 population.

A quarter of Londoners over the age of 50 are in poverty. On top of this, people over 50 are particularly vulnerable to a number of issues - such as fuel poverty and digital exclusion. This map splits each area of London into one of five categories, classifying the over-50 population in that area and allows us to see areas where there is likely to be significant levels of deprivation among older communities.

The map uses the Ageing in Place Classification's five categories. Each area in London is categorised as one of the these five clusters:

  • 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

The map shows that the most common demographic in London is the 'Multicultural Central Urban Living' category - a group who benefit from short travel distances to amenities and services. Dotted around the map, however, are pockets of red, showing the Struggling, More Vulnerable Urbanites. This category 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. These areas are mainly found in outer London, with much of Barking & Dagenham borough falling into this category, along with key parts of Croydon (specifically, New Addington), Greenwich, Bexley and Havering. These areas are likely to have high numbers of unpaid carers, and older people are more likely to suffer from poor health and fuel poverty.

While the classification of each area represents a significant portion of people living there, it doesn't represent the entire population. So, although mapping age classifications in this way is useful policy targeting, more detailed follow-up analysis for specific areas is also necessary.

Explore the map below or read more about the classifications here.

Ageing in Place Classification (2022)

October 2022

About the author

The Map of the Month is produced by Oliver O'Brien. Oliver is a researcher and software developer at the UCL Department of Geography, where he investigates and implementing new ways to visualise spatial data, including mapping of open demographic and socioeconomic datasets, particularly London-focused ones, using OpenLayers. In the past he’s analysed educational geodemographics, UK census data and London travel flows, and created a number of popular visualisations such as CityDashboard, the Bike Share Map and the London Tube Stats Map. Formerly a financial software programmer, he studied for an MSc in GIS at City University London, and joined UCL in 2008, working at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and in Geography. In his leisure time he contributes to the OpenStreetMap project, which aims to create a free Wikipedia-style map of the whole world, as well as competing in and organising orienteering races. He blogs at oobrien.com and co-edits mappinglondon.co.uk.