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New analysis of poverty in Kensington & Chelsea

This newly-updated profile of Kensington & Chelsea provides an overview of poverty and inequality in the borough, as well as detailed analysis on a number of indicators relating to incomes, child poverty and housing.

Posted on 20 June 2017

Key points

  • Kensington and Chelsea is a borough with some very high incomes, as well as the highest average incomes in London. Despite this, there are pockets of deprivation in the borough.
  • Particularly in the north end of Kensington and Chelsea, there is an area with above average poverty rates, child poverty, and receipt of out-of-work benefits. These are not confined to this part of the borough, but are more concentrated here.
  • Kensington and Chelsea is an outlier in London in terms of the proportion of its households in temporary accommodation living in the borough: around three-quarters are placed elsewhere.

Households with a low income

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Source: ONS Estimates of Households in Poverty at MSOA level, the data is for 2013-14.

  • This map shows the after-housing costs (AHC) poverty rate for the borough of Kensington and Chelsea by middle-layer super output areas (MSOAs). These are statistical subdivisions with an average population of around 7,400 people in the borough.
  • This data should be considered indicative rather than definitive. The picture it paints however fits in with other sources of data considered in this briefing as well, namely of a concentration of poverty in the north end of Kensington and Chelsea. The MSOAs with the highest poverty rates, above 40%, are concentrated in the north and parts of the south west of the borough. For reference, the overall London poverty rate was 27% in 2013-14.
  • Despite the affluence of the area generally, it has areas of concentrated poverty.

Child poverty rates

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  • This graph looks at child poverty rates by ward in Kensington and Chelsea, as well as the overall child poverty rate for the borough and for London.
  • Kensington and Chelsea has a child poverty rate below the London average - 29% of children in the borough are in a household with an income below the poverty line, compared to 34% of children in London as a whole.
  • However, there are five wards in Kensington and Chelsea with child poverty rates at or above the London average. These are Colville, Notting Barnes (the ward in which Grenfell Tower is located), Cremorne, St Charles and Golborne. With the exception of Cremorne, which borders the Thames at the south of the borough, these are the northern most wards. Golborne has the highest child poverty rate in the borough, at 43%.

Out-of-work benefits

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  • This graph looks at the proportion of the working-age population in each ward in Kensington and Chelsea who are receiving an out-of-work benefit, such as jobseeker's allowance or income support.
  • Most wards in the borough have out-of-work benefit receipt rates below the London average of 7.3% in 2016. The rate for Kensington and Chelsea as a whole is 6.4%.
  • Some areas have substantially above average out-of-work benefit receipt rates however. These include the same five wards with the highest child poverty rates in the borough: Cremorne, Colville, Notting Barns, St Charles and Golborne. Again, four of these five are concentrated in the northern end of the borough.
  • These areas have also seen very substantial falls in the proportion of the population receiving these benefits. For example, in 2011 around a quarter of the working-age population in Golborne were receiving an out-of-work benefit. It is now around 15%. This might reflect increased employment, or a change in who lives in that area. In other parts of London, falling out-of-work benefit receipt has had its counterpart in rising in-work benefit receipt.

High incomes in Kensington and Chelsea

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  • This graph gives a different perspective, looking at two measures of average income in Kensington and Chelsea and London, rather than low incomes.
  • It shows the mean income and median income for Kensington and Chelsea and for London. The mean income is the sum of all income divided by the number of households, whereas the median income is the income at which half of households receive more and half receive less. The first measure can therefore be distorted by extreme values at either end, such as those with very high incomes.
  • Kensington and Chelsea has the highest mean income of any borough at £116,000 per year - £16,000 higher than the next highest and £35,000 higher than the highest after that. It is also a full £65,000 above the London average. The borough's median income is quite a bit lower than the mean at £56,000. This suggests the distorting presence of some very high income households in the borough.
  • A median income of £56,000 is still very high, however, suggesting even the "average" household in the borough is very well-off. This is £16,000 a year above the London median income.

Temporary accommodation

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  • Kensington and Chelsea is a large outlier in where homeless households are housed. 74% of those in temporary accommodation were placed outside the borough. The London-wide average is 37%.
  • Even in the Inner West of London, where households are most likely to be placed in temporary accommodation outside their borough, the rate is 54%.
  • In the most recent quarter of data, this amounted to 1,360 households out of 1,844 being placed in temporary accommodation outside of Kensington and Chelsea.