Back to top

A picture of Islington

Islington is full of opportunity, but can also be a tough place to live, with complex challenges.

The national context is one in which poverty and inequality are growing; in 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, commented on the UK’s high and unacceptable rate of child poverty. London itself is a highly unequal city and Islington stands at extremes when compared to much of London and the rest of the UK.


  • There are approximately 233,200 people living in Islington. This is an increase of 17% on 2011. Further growth, of around 7%, is forecast over the next ten years
  • Compared to the rest of the UK, Islington has a high proportion of residents aged between 20-39.
  • Less than half of Islington’s population identifies as “White British”. Approximate proportions by ethnicity are: White British – 48%, Other White – 20%, Black/African/Caribbean Black British – 12%, Asian/Asian British – 10%, Other – 10%.
  • The most common countries of birth for Islington residents born outside the UK are Ireland, Turkey, the United States, Australia and Italy. 


  • Islington is the most densely populated local authority in the UK and is the second smallest London borough by area.
  • Population density is 3 times the London and 37 times the UK average. Islington has a higher population density than the city average of Beijing, Bogota and Delhi.
  • It has the least green space per head of population of any local authority in the UK.


  • Islington is home to some of the most expensive property and wealthiest people in the UK, and yet a great many residents are struggling to survive on low incomes. 
  • Neighbourhoods in each ward in Islington are among the poorest 20% in England.
  • 17.8% of households are workless, and 21.7% are income deprived.

Young people

  • 47.5% of children in Islington live in poverty. This is the third highest rate in London.

  • 52.9% (7,500) of primary school age children, and 69.6% (5,300) of secondary school age children, are eligible for the Pupil Premium which assists children facing deprivation.


  • Islington’s healthy life expectancy for women (61.6 years) and men (60.7 years) is lower than London (women 64.1, men 64.1) and England (women 64.1, men 63.4) averages.
  • Life expectancy correlates with wealth. Poorer men in Islington are likely to live 8 years less than wealthier men.
  • We have some of the highest levels of mental ill health in the UK. Levels of depression and serious mental ill health are the highest in London (approx. 18,000 and 3,750 people respectively).


  • Incidences of domestic violence are rising, and disproportionately affecting women aged 18 – 44, as well as women from black and minority ethnic communities.

  • In a 2018 BBC Radio 4 poll, Islington was voted as the worst place to live as a woman in the UK. High levels of crime, expensive housing, and discrimination in the workplace were cited as reasons.

Older people

  • Around 21,000 Islington residents – approximately 9% of the total population - are over 65. This is a lower proportion than the UK (18%) and London (12%) averages.

  • Islington ranks fourth worst nationally in terms of older people living on very low incomes.

  • Around 38% of older people in Islington are registered for Pension Credit which provides essential extra money for older people who struggle to make ends meet. higher than the London (23%) and England (15%) rates.

Islington benefits from a vibrant and extensive voluntary sector which supports thousands of residents. The borough has several independent trusts and foundations which invest funds in the local area. There is a history of political activism and radicalism in the borough.

Islington changes constantly and this brings both challenges and opportunities for our work. The immediate and longer-term future will be influenced by events including the roll out of universal credit, Brexit and the impact of a potential economic downturn both on the lives of our poorest residents.

You can find more information about life in Islington in the 2019 'State of Equalities' Report, published by Islington Council, at the top of this page.