Lonely of London? You Are Not Alone.

By SallyB2 Last edited 114 months ago
Lonely of London? You Are Not Alone.

London’s lonely are apparently on the increase, and we are also the loneliest city in the UK, with almost 30% of us claiming that we feel isolated. So says a new report commissioned by the BBC and carried out by socially scientific bods at Sheffield University. The same study group concluded that there are also greater extremes of wealth and poverty in the capital. So far so obvious: ever since Ralph McTell picked up his guitar and strummed us that song we’ve all been aware of the ones that slip through the metropolitan net. The report ascribes the trend to the high number of not-so-smug-singletons, the transient population (many immigrants), and the proportion of those living in rented property.

We say that cities were ever thus, and London is not demonstrably any worse than any other north European capital. What McTell did for London Brel did for Amsterdam, and Piaf one way or t’other for Paris. What this report should do is to act as a timely reminder to look out for one another. No-one should have to be alone, everyone has neighbours, and there is no excuse for ignoring each other. We’re not saying you should rush next door and hug, or accost perfectly happy little old ladies in the street. But you know that little bit of us, that human radar, which we switch off every time we leave our London homes? Perhaps we should keep it switched on just a little bit, albeit on standby.

And don’t forget, the incessant but cheerful chatter of Londonist is always but a click away.

Picture from DICKSDAILY via the Londonist flickr pool.

Last Updated 01 December 2008


While I don't dispute that London can be a very very lonely city, I'd dispute the methodology of the findings of the BBC survey.

They've done it by counting the number of single-people households in a given area. And I don't know about you, but someone living on their own is IMHO a tad likelier to reach out, to know who their local butcher, greengrocer or publican are, rather than a couple living in the Home Counties who commute into London during the week.


What they're calling loneliness is actually the more sociologically precise anomie, a feeling of not belonging in a community. The researchers used an anomie index of a few weighted variables:

Numbers of non-married adults * 0.18
Number of 1-person households * 0.50
Number of people who have moved to their current address within the last year * 0.38
Number of people renting privately * 0.80

So when the BBC says:

Researchers put this down to the high concentration of unmarried adults, people living on their own, inhabitants who have moved to their current address in the last year and the numbers of people privately renting their accommodation.

they're being rather tautological.


There is (virtually) no community in London. It just does not exist.

In my opinion this plays a large part in how people 'feel'.

Can't wait to get out of this rude and faceless city myself.


Sorry to hear you're not enjoying the London experience, popadoodle.
There are parts - the multi-racial, high-density areas, such as Tower Hamlets, Peckham, Hackney - which are much friendlier than others.
In my bit of London people chat in the streets and there is a lot of shared laughter. I have experienced more sense of community here than in any other place that I have lived, a fact which never ceases to surprise and delight me.


thanks alot

London Photographer

It can be lonely in London. As seen on my pic: http://www.richardalois.com/uk...


You can be  in a couple and be lonely in London, its such a vast fast paced city with a sprawling population, everyone is out for themselves, sometimes it feels like  there's no  time for some heart!


it has change so much, i walk every day and high Tec has made people feel less open as human people we lost are way sadly, no one whats to talk, is all about texting etc it will do serious damage in the future