What can the survey of Londoners tell us about…

London Plus analyse the data from the survey of Londoners. How many people volunteer in the capital?

Volunteering and civic participation in the capital?

The Greater London Authority, in partnership with NatCen, have recently conducted the Survey of Londoners. A comprehensive study focusing on social integration, equality, diversity, inclusion and economic fairness for Londoners. Over 6,600 Londoners responded to the survey, giving rich and timely data about the experiences of people living in the capital.

The full results are published in their online fact sheet, full report and accompanying excel sheet. We’ve pulled out some of the key findings most relevant to London’s civil society and volunteering sector.


  • Overall 28% Londoners said they volunteered formally in the last 12 months, 52% said they volunteer informally, and 24% said they were involved in civic participation.
  • Using the GLA’s population projection figures, this equates to approximately 2 million Londoners volunteering formally, 3.7 Londoners volunteering informally, and 1.7 Londoners involved in civic participation.[1]
3.7 million Londoner's have volunteered informally

Over half of Londoners have volunteered informally in the last year

Volunteering across London

  • Volunteering estimates were broken down by London Assembly constituency area.
  •  People living in Merton and Wandsworth (34%) were most likely to say they formally volunteered in the last twelve months. People living in Enfield and Haringey (24%) were least likely to say this. 
  • People living in Ealing and Hillingdon (58%) were most likely to volunteer informally, and people living in City and East least likely.
  • 32% people living in inner London said they formally volunteered in the last 12 months, compared to 28% in outer London.
  • People living in the most advantaged areas were more likely to volunteer formally than the rest of Londoners. However, there was little difference in rates of informal volunteering between people living in the least and most deprived areas (people living in intermediate areas were most likely to volunteer informally).
27% of the least deprived Londoner's volunteered formally compared to 32% of the least deprived Londoner's

Formal volunteering shows the biggest disparity between the most and least deprived Londoners

Wellbeing and loneliness

  • Three in five Londoners had high or very high life satisfaction. This is much lower than the national average. Across the UK 82% of people said they had high or very high life satisfaction in 2018[2].
  • Well-being varied considerably by a person’s economic situation. Only 52% people living in the most deprived areas of London reported high or very high life satisfaction.
  • People who lived in socially rented property and Disabled people also reported particularly low levels of life satisfaction.
  •  Loneliness and social isolation are a big problem in London. 8% of Londoners, equating to 570,000 people, said they always feel Lonely, and over a quarter (27%, or 1.9 million people) were socially isolated. Young people were particularly likely to say they were socially isolated.
In the Survey of Londoners 8% said they were always lonely

8% of Londoners said they were always lonely


 27%  of people in London said they felt socially isolated

27% of Londoners were socially isolated



[1] Figures were calculated using the projection of the total population of Londoners in 2018, combined with the percentages of Londoners aged 16 or over (the age range of participants in the Survey of Londoners). This put the London population of people 16 and over at just over 7 million.

[2] This figure was from the Annual Population Survey.