Shocking findings on Croydon’s GCSEs and infant death rates

Research published by the Trust for London shows that Croydon is trailing badly behind other boroughs in the capital on some important measures of poverty.

This includes data which shows that Croydon has among the lowest GCSE attainment across the whole of London.

Croydon is also shown as having one of the higher levels of infant mortality.

And at 6.1per cent, Croydon’s unemployment rate is significantly worse than the 4.3per cent average across the rest of England.

The Trust for London is a charitable foundation with stated aims of tackling poverty and inequality by funding voluntary and charity groups. It makes grants totalling around £10million a year, supporting up to 300 organisations.

Work: one of the panels from London’s Poverty Profile, which shows Croydon having a significantly worse unemployment rate and levels of low pay than the average in England

Its latest innovation is London’s Poverty Profile, which brings together the latest localised data to provide insight and comparisons across a host of indicators, as well as downloadable profiles for all 32 London boroughs and the City of London.

While Croydon has higher rates than the London average for housing affordability and housing delivery, the Poverty Profile shows that it has among the lowest levels for GCSE attainment, a shocking 15per cent below that achieved in neighbouring Sutton.

Other Croydon findings on the Poverty Profile…

  • In 2019/20, 23% of people in the borough lived in households with an income of less than 60% the UK median after housing costs have been subtracted. This was around the same as the average London borough.
  • 33% of children in the borough lived in households with an income of less than 60% the UK median after housing costs have been subtracted in 2020/21. This was around the same as the average London borough.
  • In Croydon, 22.4% of residents were estimated to be earning below the Living Wage in 2021. This was around the same as the average London borough.
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom house or flat on the private market was at least 35.9% of median pre-tax pay in London in April 2021 – March 2022. This was better than the average London borough.
  • In 2022 Q1 there were 15% of working-age residents of Croydon on out-of-work benefits – around the same as the average London borough.
  • The proportion of 19-year-olds without a level 2 or level 3 qualification in 2020/21 was 33.6%. This was higher than the average London borough.

The full grid can be accessed by clicking here.

It shows how Croydon compares against London overall on key poverty and inequality indicators. Red text denotes the fact that Croydon is worse than the selected comparison group for that indicator, and green means it is better.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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3 Responses to Shocking findings on Croydon’s GCSEs and infant death rates

  1. When I was younger, we used to refer to Croydon – only half-jokingly – as ‘Tiny Texas’ or ‘the Dallas of the South East’, given its patent relative success and the superb employment (if not actual career) opportunities available.

    You could start at one end of George Street, stopping in at Reliance, Kelly Girl, Brook Street etc etc and, with 100% certainty, be in work by the time you got to the NatWest on the corner at the other end.

    Now we are, at best, an average London borough and, at worst, a worse one.

    One can barely countenance the destruction of prosperity overseen by our local authority – regardless of hue/ party – over the last 20 years, from doing nothing about ‘office flight’ to wrecking a pioneering and once-great retail centre through its moribund Westfield scheme.

    Really quite demoralising sometimes.

    • Lewis White says:

      Further to Jack’s comment, the high days of Croydon Town centre office employment probably happened before desktop computers came in.

      The days of typing pools, shorthand, typing pools, dictaphones.

      There were lots of secretarial and admin jobs.

      Many national and international companies filled the floors of the office blocks in and around the Wellesley Road area, with side shoots in George Street, and the South end of the High Street.

      Their staff used to flood out at lunchtime clutching their sandwich boxes and Luncheon vouchers if they did not go the company canteen. Where are they now…… working at home?. Yes, many are, But my guess is that there are fewer of them .

      They would pop in to M & S…….. BHS …….. Allders, Grants, Kennards et al.

      Some of these same companies or their successors still exist, but we have lost many an insurance company, including a latecomer–Direct Line, who are (I think) now in Bromley, plus of course, Nestle, who are now near Crawley.

      I don’t think that Croydon has been singled out– businesses change. Have workforces shrunk? How could the council have held on to the businesses?

      Once upon a time, major companies had major office blocks, lots of staff-and some even had a sports ground!

      In the 1960’s and 70’s, and probably in the 1980s and 90’s, major firms with lots of clerical workers located in Croydon and similar centres, as they could could not get and hold on to staff if their offices were not in a town centre, as staff expected to be able to go shopping at lunchtime or after work.

      What happened then? Firms moved out to business parks on the edge.
      Presumably, commercial survival dicated cost savings, and a move to lower priced rentals of the edge of London and , in the case of Insurance, many firms moved down to Worthing, Cheltenham and Gloucester.

      Even Legal and General – who had built a huge and very modern HQ campus close to Croydon at Kingswood in the late 1980’s– in or around 2017 decided to redevelop the long-closed site as a retirement village. What a massive change in headquartering that really was.

      Generations of local people from the Croydon and NE Surrey area worked at L and G.

      There has been a massive shift– and I just wonder by how much the workforce has been reduced by “computerisation”?

      Maybe the town centres will come back–people will get bored and fed up with home working, at least, working at home all the time, and fall back in love with commuting, and offices equipped with coffee machines, and a laugh and a joke down there.

      They will rediscover the joys of M and S– if it can last a few more years in Croydon town centre, while new “mixed use “developments bring modern offices, flats, and shops, into the Whitgift.

      Let’s hope so.

  2. Matthew Cormack says:

    And I suspect if this data was broken down even more between the north and the south of the borough, the difference would be even more startling.

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