Skip to content
CityLab
Culture

British People Feel Locked Out of London

Britons who live outside the capital consider it too expensive and crowded for them to live there, a new report finds.
Crowds at London's Piccadilly Circus.
Crowds at London's Piccadilly Circus.Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters

For generations, many people living outside the world’s major urban centers have dreamed of moving to the city and making it big. In Britain today, however, that dream may be dying.

The Centre for London, an urban think tank, recently surveyed U.K. residents who live outside the capital city about their attitudes toward London. One revealing question asked respondents to what extent they thought living and working in London was a “realistic option” for people like them. The answers were pretty stark. Only 3 percent of respondents thought it was “very realistic” that they could live in London, and just 12 percent more thought it was “fairly” realistic. By contrast, 78 percent thought it was unrealistic. If London thinks of itself as a land of opportunity, it’s clear that this view is not shared by other people in the country it governs.