Kingston upon Thames

Research - 25/04/2023

London Vitality Index 2023: Kingston upon Thames top borough for vitality

Kingston upon Thames tops the ranking in this special edition of the LSH Vitality Index.

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The popularity of LSH’s annual UK Vitality Index has inspired us to apply its methodology to Greater London. This special edition of the index assesses the qualities of each of the capital’s 32 boroughs and the City of London, to identify which are the best places to work and live, with the strongest growth prospects.

As with the national index, the ranking is split into three distinct pillars comprising Economy & Business, Living and Health & Environment, drawing on a total of 18 datasets. By incorporating a varied range of indicators, the index takes a holistic approach to the assessment of the vitality of the boroughs.

The results reflect both the established strengths of individual boroughs, as well as the impact that recent events such as the pandemic have had on the demographics and economics of the capital.

Kingston upon Thames is the highest ranked borough in the 2023 London Vitality Index, drawing strength from all three pillars, and ranking in the Top 5 for both Living and Health & Environment. Harrow takes second place overall and only narrowly misses out on top spot due to a weaker ranking for Economy & Business. Kingston’s neighbour Richmond upon Thames is third, sharing many of the same environmental and lifestyle strengths, while Westminster and Barnet complete the Top 5. 

Locations to the west of London have a heavy presence in the higher reaches of the overall ranking with boroughs such as Merton, Ealing and Hillingdon also bubbling under just outside the Top 5. Not surprisingly, central locations generally draw the greatest strength from Economy & Business metrics, while outer boroughs score higher for Health & Environment. 




The top 5

The Three Pillars

Economy & Business

London Vitality Index 2023 Economy & Business

Unsurprisingly, the top two in this pillar are London’s economic powerhouses, Westminster and the City of London. Both locations are well clear of the rest of London across multiple business metrics, achieving top scores for enterprise creation, business density, GVA per capita and commercial property investment. Westminster’s stronger wage growth in 2022 is enough to see it pip the City to first place in the pillar.

Tower Hamlets, home to the Canary Wharf office district, is placed third in this pillar. Sharing many of the same strengths as the top two, Tower Hamlets’ best metrics are GVA per capita and GVA growth forecasts.  

Islington also makes the Top 5, buoyed by a strong creative industry presence and achieving high marks for new enterprises, business density and jobs growth. The final location in the Top 5, and the only one south of the river, is Southwark which boasts a high level of job creation, particularly in the accountancy, consultancy and government sectors. 

While inner London locations fill the Top 5 places in this pillar, several outer London boroughs stand out as having relatively high placings, with Barnet, Kingston upon Thames and Enfield all ranked in the top dozen overall. 

Economic and Business vitality is measured by wage growth, workforce jobs growth in specific sectors, new enterprises and business density, GVA per capita, GVA growth and forecast and commercial property investment volume per capita.


LSH Vitality Index 2023 Living

Kingston upon Thames takes first place in the Living pillar, which provides the foundation for its victory in the overall index. It makes a consistently strong showing across all of the pillar’s measures, including particularly high scores for GCSE results and house price growth. Second-placed Harrow has a more varied performance, but is elevated by maximum scores for house price growth and retail vacancy rates.

Bromley and Newham take third and fourth place for Living. These boroughs achieve the highest retail spending scores outside of Central London, with Bromley town centre and Stratford in Newham being major shopping locations. Double-digit house price growth and above-average GCSE results also provide a boost to both boroughs.

Westminster is the outlier, as the only inner borough in the Top 5, with its ranking boosted by high levels of educational attainment and retail goods spend. However, Westminster’s performance in this pillar is impacted by falling house prices. Indeed, all of the inner boroughs are weighed down by low or negative house price growth in 2022, as pandemic-driven changes to working patterns caused demand to shift towards the suburbs.  

The Living pillar encompasses an analysis of education, lifestyle and consumption. It incorporates house price growth, GCSE results, NVQ4+ attainment, households in specific MOSAIC categories, comparison goods retail spend and retail vacancy rates.

Health & Environment

London Vitality Index 2023 Health & Environment

The top end of the Health & Environment ranking is dominated by outer London boroughs, with central locations generally falling short in most of the pillar’s key measures. 

Harrow tops the pillar, with its residents reporting high levels of life satisfaction and benefiting from low rates of cardiovascular mortality, CO2 emissions and crime. Second-placed Merton is another consistent performer with its best scores coming for life satisfaction, recycling and crime.

Merton is joined in the Top 5 by the three nearby south London suburbs of Richmond upon Thames, Sutton and Kingston upon Thames. All three excel for measures of green space, crime and recycling; but miss out on top place due to more moderate scores for energy consumption, CO2 emissions and life satisfaction.

While the differences between inner and outer London boroughs are most stark in this pillar, there are some anomalies. Hounslow, Barking & Dagenham and Brent are relatively poor performers among the outer boroughs; while Wandsworth is the highest ranked inner borough, and the only one to be placed in the top half of this pillar’s ranking.

The Health and Environment pillar comprises cardiovascular mortality rate, life satisfaction, recycling rates, energy consumption per capita, CO2 emissions per capita, green space per capita and recorded crimes per capita.


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