One in seven households in Southwark earned less than £15,000 last year, council figures show – and the same proportion again earned more than £75,000.
The average household incomes for the UK and in Southwark were both more than double that, at about £32,000 and £33,000 respectively.
As might be expected, household income changes massively from ward to ward. Around the Old Kent Road, one of the areas Southwark Council is actively trying to regenerate, the average household income was £24,632 in 2021. But in Dulwich Village, the average household income was more than £61,000 last year.
The income inequality figures, included in the council’s draft health and wellbeing strategy for this year, are actually improving. Southwark is the fifth-most equal borough for pay equality in London, up from the fifth-least equal in 2011.
The news comes as the cost of living crisis continues to bite. The council said that tens of thousands of people in the borough are living in poverty, while 22,000 need financial support. According to Southwark data, Faraday, in Walworth, is the most deprived ward, with more than 31 per cent of children in poverty, and five per cent of adults unemployed.
Some ethnic groups are in poorer health than others. Black people in Southwark have lower take-up for both Covid-19 vaccines and bowel cancer screenings, higher childhood obesity, and worse problems with food security than white people in the borough.
This is very often linked to poverty. Nearly 30 per cent of black people in Southwark live in the most deprived parts of the borough. In Faraday, more than 60 per cent of residents are from a black or ethnic minority background. Life expectancy for men is 79, about average for the UK. Some fourteen per cent of adults in the ward have a serious long-term health condition. Emergency hospital admissions are five per cent above the national average.
By contrast, in Dulwich Village, where more than eighty per cent of residents are white, just five per cent of children are in poverty, a little over one per cent of adults are unemployed, just under ten per cent of adults have a serious long-term illness, emergency hospital admissions are 44 per cent below the national average, and male life expectancy is nearly 87 – well above the national average.
Despite these inequalities, Southwark said that overall health is increasing in the borough, with the rates of smoking, drinking and sedentary lifestyles better than the national average.