Where is London most and least popular?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
June 25, 2018, 8:43 AM GMT+0

YouGov Profiles reveals where London is least popular and provides clues as to what might drive people to dislike the city

Samuel Johnson famously once said “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. Nevertheless, it has been clear for some time that there are many people who hold the capital in low esteem.

Now new YouGov Profiles analysis among almost 43,000 Britons reveals where people have the most favourable and unfavourable views of the capital, and what could be behind negative sentiment.

Overall 45% of Brits have a favourable view of London, while 28% have an unfavourable view of the capital, giving the city a net favourability rating of +17. A further 24% have neither a favourable nor unfavourable view, while the remaining 3% answered “don’t know”.

Of course, opinions are not consistent across the country, with opinion tending to turn against the capital the further away you get from it. London is unsurprisingly most popular among those who live there, as well as in the Home Counties.

The strongest anti-London sentiment can be found in Tyne and Wear, Scotland and South Yorkshire.

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Having lived in London seems to boost people’s opinions of the city: 43% of pro-Londoners have done so (with 21% living there currently), while only 23% of anti-Londoners have ever resided in the city (with 6% living there currently).

Perceptions of London’s greed may be putting people off the city

Anti-Londoners are also noticeably more likely to feel that London takes more than its fair share of national resources. Fully 80% of anti-Londoners believe that London gets more than its fair share of public spending. In this, the majority of pro-Londoners (51%) are actually in agreement with their anti-London counterparts.

Nevertheless, even anti-Londoners begrudgingly admit that the UK is better off as a result of London: 48% of anti-Londoners believe that the UK is better off with London, compared to 37% who believe the country would be better off without it.

Anti-Londoners are also anti-city

Another key indicator of whether or not a person is anti-London is their attitude towards cities in general. More than six in ten anti-Londoners (61%) agree with the statement “I think cities are grey and depressing”, compared to 35% of those with neutral/positive views of the city – this is one of the single largest attitudinal differences between the two groups.

Similarly, 53% of anti-Londoners say “I could never live in a big city”, while only 35% of neutral/pro-Londoners say the same.


London’s status as a place of great diversity could also be a reason that some have an unfavourable view of it. While anti-Londoners have a greater tendency to hold conservative views than people with favourable or neutral views of the city, they are especially more likely to dislike multiculturalism.

Those with unfavourable views of London are close to twice as likely to believe multiculturalism has had a negative impact on the UK as those with a favourable or neutral view of the capital, at 57% vs 32%.

This relationship holds true across all parts of Britain, and is especially strong amongst Londoners who are themselves anti-London.