The unhappiest place to live in the UK is East London

A survey released last week named East London as the second unhappiest place to live in the UK.

Paul Chocolate "not everyone is happy. There are definitely more people who are skint in East London than other parts". Photo: Paula Donnelly

Paul Chocolate “not everyone is happy. There are definitely more people who are skint in East London than other parts”. Photo: Paula Donnelly

From the poll of almost 50,000 people, it was also found that Greater London dominated the bottom 10, with East London being the ‘unhappiest’ place to reside.

The survey – conducted by property website Rightmove – used 12 distinct factors including recreation, safety, cost, pride and even contentment to measure the extent of happiness in UK towns.

From the 111 towns ranked, the residents of East London were least satisfied with their ‘neighbourliness’ and ‘décor’.

Matthew James, spokesperson for Rightmove explained the structure of the survey:

“What we’ve done is ask people to rate their own area and created a model that crunches this data to give us an overall happiness league table. There should be no arguments with the results as there can be no better panel of judges than a towns’ own residents!”

Despite being based on public opinion, some east London residents have been quick to criticise the results of the ‘Happy at Home Index’. A spokeswoman for Hackney council said:

“Last year, an Ipsos Mori survey showed that 89% of the people who live here are happy with the area, and 91% feel that people from different backgrounds get on well together. Excellent schools, public transport and services mean that the area is rapidly increasing in popularity and population. This brings its own pressures, but the Mori figures would suggest that in this corner of east London at least, most people are very happy to be living here.”

However, it is clear that some east Londoners are unsatisfied with their local area.Isabelle Goeing, a designer from New Cross, said:

“There are lots of homeless people in the area and it seems that many are struggling to get by.” Goeing spoke of her feelings on safety: “I don’t often feel safe in parts of East London and I try not to walk home from the tube alone at night.” This is the second year in a row that East London has found itself at the bottom of the list. Perhaps this survey is an indicator for change, especially when the issue of safety is rife – a problem that does not just affect ‘happiness’.

We went out onto the streets of East London to see what local people thought of the poll. 

Paul Chocolate, 44, shop owner “It totally depends on your circumstances. Old money is all going. But it’s the whole of London, isn’t it? It’s changing and it’s affecting people differently. It’s fine if your 25, you’ve got loads of money and no kids. Rents are going up, rates are going up and the cost of living is going up. So not everyone is happy. There are definitely more people who are skint in East London than other parts of London. There’s more ‘have nots’ than ‘haves’.”

Heather Stand, 21, Law student “That actually makes me quite angry. I love East London. It’s the coolest place to be. There’s so much going here. I personally don’t feel unhappy. I mean what is even going on up in Yorkshire?”

Matilda Allen, 22, Account Executive at PWC “Well I find it upsetting that this part of London has so much crime and gang culture. I am a young professional so I’m unable to afford other, safer parts of London. Instead I have to risk being mugged every time I go out. If the Social Services were better, crime could potentially be reduced, and the east end would become a more desirable place to live.”

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