In good old British fashion, let’s now dive into the depressing. Here’s how to eliminate London areas you may not want to spend your life in:
Have a look at these deprivation maps (their term, not mine!), generated by The Guardian.
To orientate yourself: zoom out one level, and hit “satellite” in the upper right corner – it’s much easier to see the Thames and labels that way. The word “London” is written across the center of town (Trafalgar Square / Charing Cross area). Blue is good (if not always the most exciting), especially for families. Of course there are nice areas in the yellows too – but just be aware. Probably avoid the reds.
[I’m making the big assumption here that you are looking to avoid the most deprived areas of the city, at least if with school-age children. One reason is the correlation between low school test scores at age 15 and poverty. Many exceptions, of course.]
Check this profile of London’s boroughs, from income to education. But it’s not that simple – while the Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames (SW London) really is rich, the Borough of Haringey (North London) is a complete mix; if you are interested in the latter, you’ll have to dig down deeper to the area level. More information on London’s income inequality available here.
Optional: Other fun and uplifting maps to look at. Enjoy.
- Murder map: Murders since 1888, by weapon, with description of the cases. Maybe you don’t want to move to London after all?
- Riot map: Remember the 2011 England riots (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_England_riots)? This map by NPR data journalist Matt Stiles shows you the London sites.
- Crime hotspot map: This is a tricky one – even very nice areas look quite scary.
In a nutshell, the London clock runs like this:
- 12 – 3 o’clock (North to East): Choose carefully, or go far out of town. Parts of the East are very hip nowadays, and the start-up scene mingles here. But it also encompasses some of the most deprived areas of London.
- 3 – 6 o’clock (East to South): Mixed bag if you are close to the centre, leafy once you get further out.
- 6 – 9 o’clock (South to West): This quarter of the pie contains many well-off areas. A few unsavoury neighbourhoods in the 6 – 7 o’clock slice close to the centre.
- 9 – 12 o’clock (West to North): Choose with care from in the 9 – 11o’clock slice, well-offs mingle between 11-12 o’clock.
On a side note – yes, be careful, but don’t panic. There is very little gun crime in the UK. A walk through the wrong neighbourhood at night could be unpleasant and involve you ‘losing’ your bag. But you are extremely unlikely to be caught in gang crossfire.