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About Dalston & Hackney

Information about our community

Introduction to Hackney and Dalston

Hackney is a truly global and diverse borough. Historically, Hackney has been a borough that welcomes people from around the world and inward migration dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, labour shortages in the reviving post-war economy drew in migrants from the Caribbean, Cyprus, Turkey and South Asia. In the last 10 years they have been joined by migrants from Eastern European countries like Poland, which have joined the European Union. The ‘Other White’ population increased by 60% between 2001 and 2011, and is now the second largest ethnic group. Hackney is now the 6th most diverse borough in London, down from 3rd in 2005, but it has a higher ethnic diversity score than in 2005, which means that London as a whole is becoming more ethnically diverse.

Nearly four fifths of residents say that Hackney is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together. Hackney’s diversity and multiculturalism are the main factors contributing to residents feeling proud of Hackney. In part this is a result of Hackney’s long history of immigration and welcoming people into the borough which has resulted in local neighbourhoods that are very diverse where people have an opportunity to mix and meet people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Many people also have personal or family experience of migration and people are welcoming to new arrivals.

Population characteristics

The 2011 Census estimated Hackney’s population at 246,300, an increase of 43,500 (21%) since the 2001 Census. In June 2011, three months after Census day, the mid-year population estimate put Hackney’s population at 247,182. Hackney’s population is likely to increase to 298,438 people by 2031. Dalston had a population of 10,359 at the 2001 census, projected to be 11,281 by 2016. Our diverse population mix has high representation of Black or Black British African (12%) and Caribbean (10.3%), as well as Turkish, Kurdish, Asian or Asian British, Indian and Bangladeshi.

Hackney is a young borough with 25% of its population under 20. The proportion of residents between 20-29 years has grown in the last ten years and now stands at 23%. The younger population is also expected to grow until 2016, but is expected to level off in later years. The working age population is projected to grow consistently throughout the period. People aged over 55 make up only 15% of the population. Hackney has a 9% higher proportion of 20-29 year olds than in London as a whole, and in Dalston this difference rises to 26.4% - an increasingly professional employed and young population

Local urban environment

Nearly half of all Hackney households rent from a social landlord. They tend to have higher unemployment and lower average incomes than people living in other tenures. Over 20,000 new homes are expected to be built in the borough from in the next 15-20 years, with Brownswood and Dalston wards in the West, Hoxton, Haggerston and De Beauvoir in the South, Hackney Central ward and Wick ward in the East expected to see the biggest growth.

Hackney is the fourth most densely populated borough in London, but it is also one of the greenest, with falling levels of car ownership, CO2 emissions are amongst the lowest in the UK and Hackney has 56 parks, gardens and open space covering 330 hectares, 15 of which have been awarded the green flag quality mark. However, Dalston has 57% less green open space than Hackney Borough as a whole (only 17.1%), no public parks and only 4.22 hectares of open space, making HCD’s Gillett Square development a vital public space for the local community.

Hackney remains the second most deprived local authority in England on the Government’s Indices of Multiple Deprivation and all of the wards are in the top ten percent most deprived in the country. Dalston itself is 21st most deprived ward out of 621 wards in London (2013), it has a 10% higher proportion of dependant children receiving tax credit in lone parent families and 10% higher proportion of dependant children receiving tax credit in lone parent families compared to Hackney Borough as a whole. Dalston’s figure of 10% long term unemployed has remained unchanged over 13 years.

Hackney is an area of growing economic opportunity as a result of the increased focus on East London as an area of growth and development for London and the UK. This growth sits alongside significant deprivation. Some local people continue to face persistent inequalities and are disproportionately affected by child poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency.

The Index of Multiple deprivation ranks each local authority area, ward and lower super output area in terms of seven ‘domains’; health, education, income, employment, housing and access to services, living environment and crime in order of deprivation. The domains are brought together in an overall Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD). Hackney was the second most deprived local authority overall in England in the 2010 Index of Multiple Deprivation. In 2010, 57 of its 137 smaller Lower Super Output Areas were in the top ten percent most deprived, compared with 76 in 2007. In 2007, 27 Lower Super Output areas were in the top 5% most deprived, in 2010 this was 18.

Regeneration and Housing

The proportion of households who rent from a private landlord has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Nearly a third of all households are now private renters. In the 12 months to September 2012 the median monthly private rent in Hackney was £1,300 compared to the London average of £1,150. In the year to September 2011 the median monthly private rent in Hackney was £1,192. In 2009 Hackney's Housing Needs Assessment found over 60% of newly forming households would not be able to afford market housing without some sort of subsidy. In October 2010 the Government announced an annual average 60% cut in the national budget available to build new social homes in 2011-15. In addition, Registered Providers such as Housing Associations will be able to charge new tenants an ‘affordable rent’ of up to 80% of market rent, which is higher than exiting social rents.

Dalston itself has seen 17% reduction in the proportion of people who own their own homes (from 32.8% in 2000 to 15.6% in 2011) - falling home ownership means a more transient community. It has also seen an 18% increase in proportion of people that rent from a private landlord (15% in 2001, 32.7% in 2011). There has been a 13% rise in the average flat selling price in Dalston (E8) since 2009 (£333,890 to £378,393) and a 196% rise in average selling price of a flat in Hackney since 2000 (£153,149 to £453,194).


Crime in Hackney is now at its lowest level for 10 years. Home Office statistics for 2011-12 show there was a 0.47% reduction in total offences in Hackney compared with 2010-11. Offences have fallen by 11,867 in ten years, one of the largest overall reductions when compared to eight other London boroughs with similar social and economic characteristics. However, at this same time Dalston ward has seen a 5% rise in total crime 2010/11 to 2012/13 with 56% more crimes per person than Hackney Borough as a whole (127.3 per 1,000). Dalston has experienced a 49% increase in personal robbery rate 2010/11 - 2012/13 and has a 41% higher drugs offenses per person than Hackney Borough as a whole.


In 2011, 67% of Hackney’s working-age adults were employed compared with 68% of working-age Londoners. However, the most recent year of data for 2012, shows some decline in the employment rate for Hackney, while the London rate has remained stable. Hackney’s unemployment rate has changed very little, moving from 12% in 2004 to 11% in 2011. The 2011 rate was 2% higher than London’s rate of 9% and 3% higher than the UK’s rate of 8%.While Hackney’s rate has remained relatively static, the UK rate increased 3% from 2004 to 2011, and London’s rate rose by 2% over the same period. In February 2012, a total of 32,730 working age residents were claiming some form of benefit, and 29,550 were claiming key out of work benefits. This is much greater than the 11,700 people estimated to be unemployed from the Annual Population Survey. Of the total 32,730 benefit claimants in February 2012, 90% or 29,550 were on key out of work benefits; Incapacity Benefit and Employment Support Allowance, Jobseekers Allowance, Lone Parent Benefit and Disability Benefits. Incapacity Benefit and Employment Support Allowance was the largest benefit in Hackney both by absolute number and by percentage of the working age population. Incapacity Benefit or Employment Support Allowance (IB/ESA) made up 41% of all benefits claimed in 2012. Between 2004 and 2011, an average 9% of the working age population was claiming IB/ESA. The noticeable decline in the percentage of IB/ESA claimants is due to an increase in the total working age population. Since 2000 the number of IB/ESA claimants in Hackney has averaged 13,000.

Job Seekers Allowance is the second most common benefit claimed by residents. The proportion of the working age population on Job Seekers Allowance has increased overall by 1% since 2004. The increase in the size of the working age population in Hackney masks the extent of the rise in JSA claimants. The number of JSA claimants rose by 41% or from 7,340 to 10,370 persons between 2004 and 2011. The highest increases took place from 2008 with the onset of the recession and a change in the eligibility rules for Lone Parent benefit. Lone Parent Benefit is the third most common benefit claimed in Hackney.

The Department for Work and Pensions and Job Centre Plus define long-term unemployment as benefit claimants out of work for 1-year or more for over 25s, and over 50’s and 18-24s out of work for 6 months or more. Long-term unemployed residents find it more difficult to get back into work due to employer perceptions that they are higher risk and more expensive to train. There has been an increase in the number of over 25’s claiming Jobseekers Allowance long-term in recent years. The number of 25-49-year olds claiming JSA for over a year and those aged 50+ claiming for over 6 months moved from 1,280 in February 2008 to 3,285 in February 2012. Increases are most noticeable among males aged 35-54 particularly in Black, Mixed and Other White Groups and women aged 45-54 of Mixed Heritage, Black and Asian ethnicities. The total number of 18-24s claiming JSA for longer than 6 months increased in Hackney from 300 in February 2008 to 500 in February 2012.

The working age population in Hackney increased by 25%, or 35,900 people, from 2004-2011. The 2011 Census reported an additional 20,400 20-35 year olds, compared with 2001. Economic activity, the proportion of working age residents who are employed, self employed and job-ready rose from 63.2% in 2004 to 73.2% in 2011. In 2011 48% of Hackney’s working-age adults were qualified to degree level and above, compared with 31% in 2004. 45.9% of working-aged Londoners and 32.9% of those in Great Britain had degree-level qualifications and above in 2011. Some 12% of adults in Hackney had no qualifications in 2011, compared with 9% in London and 10.6% in Great Britain. The proportion of adults with no qualifications has fallen more sharply in Hackney than regionally. In 2004, 23% of Hackney’s adults had no qualifications compared with 14% of Londoners.

Over half of Hackney’s working-age residents are now in work, 57%, are in managerial, professional and technical jobs, above the London average of 55% and well above that of Great Britain, which is 43.5%. 30% of people who work in Hackney are employed in public administration education and health, 37% are employed in creative, technology, financial and business services and 18% work in High street businesses including restaurants, bars and retail and personal services.

In 2011, median gross weekly pay for full-time workers living in Hackney was £620 per week, compared with £648 in London and £500 for Great Britain.

Business and Enterprise

In 2011, LB Hackney hosted 9,465 firms. 48% of Hackney’s economy specialised in science, technical and professional, information and communication, 5% more than London as a whole. These ICT dependant businesses are estimated to have grown by 52% between 2003-2011. In parallel, since 2003, hospitality and retail firms have grown by 41% and 15% respectively moving Hackney into a position to market its public realm as a destination for entertainment, leisure and a networking spot for knowledge businesses.

These firms make up 5% of the business stock, the same proportion as London. There has been no net growth of art, entertainment and leisure firms since 2009. These firms make up 10% of the business stock.