Well-Being in London

How Tower Hamlets compares to London in its well-being

You may have read about the government’s attempts to measure the effectiveness of government policy through happiness, or more ‘accurately’, ‘well-being’ scores. Having looked at trends in crime, I thought I’d look to see how the local area comes out on this measure.

What is well-being?

Basically, well-being is calculated by weighting a number of metrics. Nationally this is supplemented with additional data from questionnaires on how people rate aspects of day-to-day life, and big picture things like carbon emissions (which is something that doesn’t affect my state of mind until a government statistical release is wafted at me – where ignorance is bliss…).

On a more local level, well-being is calculated from 12 indicators. For each indicator, a national average is calculated and then individual scores are adjusted ( I shan’t go into technical detail) so that the average is zero and thus anywhere that scores higher than average is a positive number, and anywhere lower scores a negative. The adjusted scores for each indicator are then added up.

The score reflects the probability of you experiencing better well-being than the nation as a whole.
The 12 indicators (and the underlying statistics) are:

  • Health
    • Life and Expectancy
    • Incapacity Benefits claimant rate
  • Economic security
    • Unemployment rate
    • Income Support claimant rate
  • Safety
    • Crime rate
    • Deliberate Fires
  • Education
    • GCSE point scores
  • Children
    • Unauthorised Pupil Absence
  • Families
    • Children in out-of-work families
  • Transport
    • Public Transport Accessibility Scores
  • Environment
    • Access to public open space & nature
  • Community
    • Elections Turnout

The original data is here, and the spreadsheet it comes with allows you to weight the indicators depending on what you think matters most (you might not think voter turnout really matters…). The national data is here.

In my analysis I give equal weight to all indicators.

Wapping compared to LBTH

This first chart shows the well-being scores from 2006 to 2010 (the latest year released so far on this basis) by the individual wards of Tower Hamlets.

Wapping is the red dotted line, Shadwell is the blue dashed line. Wapping comes out rather well, but has shown itself to be quite resilient to moving away from zero, indicating that people in Wapping are pretty unlikely to experience a level of well-being different from the population as a whole.

What the chart also shows is that other than Wapping and Millwall, life in Tower Hamlets is pretty miserable, and the ward with the lowest measure of well-being is East India and Lansbury, sat 15+ points below average and the next chart may add some context to this.

London

In the chart below, I’ve plotted every London ward for 2010. The shades of grey of the datapoints indicate which borough a ward is in. I’m Interested in LBTH, so have coloured it red to try and make it stand out.

You will notice (if you squint) that there is no red on the left hand side of the chart. What is abundently clear is that well-being in Tower Hamlets is lower than the rest of London. For information, both the mean and median score for London is about 1.1. You might be able to pick out a very long red line at the far right side of the chart: this is East India. Out of 625 wards in London, the ward with the lowest well-being score, is in Tower Hamlets.

Borough by Borough

Starting, to feel gloomy about living in Tower Hamlets? Don’t because there are 4 other boroughs with a worse overall score. ultimately, the measure attempts to create a compound measure of the probability of having a good quality of life, but one size does not fit all.

BARKING AND DAGENHAM -8
NEWHAM -6
LEWISHAM -5
GREENWICH -5
TOWER HAMLETS -5
WALTHAM FOREST -4
HARINGEY -4
HACKNEY -3
ISLINGTON -3
LAMBETH -3
ENFIELD -3
SOUTHWARK -2
BRENT -2
CROYDON -1
HOUNSLOW -1
REDBRIDGE 0
CAMDEN 0
EALING 0
HAVERING 0
HILLINGDON 1
HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM 1
BEXLEY 1
WESTMINSTER 2
BROMLEY 3
BARNET 3
WANDSWORTH 4
HARROW 4
SUTTON 4
MERTON 5
KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA 5
KINGSTON UPON THAMES 6
RICHMOND UPON THAMES 9

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