Young people, who left London in the midst of the pandemic, are coming back to the UK’s capital city, according to research from the Greater London Authority (GLA).
Analysis by the GLA suggests the number of people aged 18-29 dropped sharply at the start of the pandemic, as thousands of young people left London to live elsewhere or move in with friends and family.
However, the analysis shows that many of those who left the city at the start of the pandemic, began returning to the capital in March 2021, as restrictions started to ease and the city started to recover.
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said: “As our capital recovers, this encouraging new data reveals that young ‘boomerang Londoners’ are beginning to return to the city as economic conditions improve and restrictions ease.
Nonetheless, London’s population is likely still lower than at its pre-pandemic peak, as fewer births and more deaths, resulting from the impacts of Covid-19, has slowed the rate at which London’s population is growing.
The number of people coming into London from abroad has also dropped sharply through the pandemic, despite a partial recovery in September 2021.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on our city, with a tragically high number of Londoners losing their lives and young people leaving the capital,” Khan said.
The report says that London’s population likely peaked in the middle of 2019, with a total population of 8.96m – the highest it has ever been in London’s history.
London’s population previously peaked at heights of 8.6m in 1939, before the start of the Second World War, before dropping back down to 6.8m in 1991 and rising sharply over the past three decades.
The figures show that births in London are now significantly below their 2012 peak, while deaths have risen sharply, as around 20,000 Londoners died throughout the pandemic.
The situation means that London’s population is growing at half the rate it was before the pandemic, when only births and deaths are accounted for.
The report says that a lack of opportunities for people to meet and form partnerships, which in turn might have led to unplanned pregnancies, may have contributed to the lower number of births.
Economic uncertainty, disruptions to fertility services, and a drop in the number of young people living in London may have also impacted the number of births in the city.
The report also warns that the expansion of London’s outer-belt, and the drop in the number of people living in inner-London, is likely to be more long term, due to the rise of remote working.
The report says that companies may eventually start to move their offices to the outskirts of London.
“London is a dynamic and innovative global capital, in large part thanks to the young people from the UK and overseas who come to live, work and create here, alongside our amazing homegrown talent. So with open arms we welcome these young people back, who will be integral to our recovery,” Khan said.