Statistics about the borough



Local facts and figures

  • Waltham Forest is home to an estimated 271,200 residents and 104,000 households.
  • The median age of residents is 34 years compared to the UK average of 40 years.
  • Our borough is one of the most diverse areas in the country. 48 per cent of residents are from a minority ethnic background.
  • The top five countries of origin for residents born overseas are Pakistan (8,200), Poland (8,200), Romania (4,300), Jamaica (4,200) and India (4,200 people).
  • The top five languages spoken locally other than English are Urdu, Polish, Romanian, Turkish and Lithuanian.
  • 93 per cent of the 9,940 enterprises in Waltham Forest micro businesses employing fewer than 10 people.
  • More than 135,000 working age residents (73.1 per cent) are in employment whilst the unemployment rate is down to 6.4 per cent.
  • The average annual earnings for full-time working residents increased 4 per cent from 2015 to 2016 and is currently at £30,900.
  • Waltham Forest is currently ranked 35th most deprived borough nationally according to the 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation (an improvement from 15th most deprived in the 2010 edition).
  • Life expectancy in Waltham Forest is similar to the England average – 79.4 years for men and 83.8 years for women
  • The average house price in the borough as of April 2016 was £424,700, an increase of 25 per cent from the same time last year

Population Click to get info

According to the 2015 mid-year population estimates by the Office of National Statistics, Waltham Forest is home to a total of 271,200 people. This is 3,150 residents more than last year and a gain of 13,000 since the 2011 Census.

Waltham Forest has a younger than average population with 22 per cent of residents being aged 0 to 15 compared to 19 per cent nationally. Similar to London, Waltham Forest also has a high proportion of young working-age adults aged 25 to 49 (43 per cent compared to 34 per cent nationally). There are proportionately fewer people aged over 50 living in Waltham Forest (25 per cent) compared to the UK average (36 per cent). See table 1 for the latest population estimates by age group.

Table 1 Mid-2015 population estimates by broad age group

Source: Office for National Statistics



Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest (%)

London (%)

England and Wales (%)

Aged 0-4 22,100 8 7 6

Aged 5-15





Aged 16-24





Aged 25-49





Aged 50-64





Aged 65+











Population projections

The Greater London Authority (GLA) 2015 round of population projections estimate that Waltham Forest population will increase from 274,800 residents in 2016 to a total of 291,500 by 2021, an increase of 16,700 (6%). The fastest growing group is projected to be those aged 50 and over.

You can find the suite of population and household projection produced by GLA on London Datastore.

Table 2 GLA 2015 round population projections - trend-based, short-term migration scenario

Source: Greater London Authority


Age Category



Total change

% change
0-4 22,000 21,700 -300 -1%
































At the same time as experiencing a substantial increase in the number of residents, the borough has also become increasingly diverse. From the 2001 to the 2011 Census, the proportion of White British/Irish residents fell from 58 per cent to 38 per cent in Waltham Forest, while the share of all other ethnic groups increased. In comparison, the average proportion of White British/Irish residents in London is 47 per cent and in England and Wales as whole it is 81 per cent.

Most notably, the White Other group that includes arrivals from EU accession countries has more than doubled in the last decade from 6 per cent to 15 per cent. The percentage of residents from an Asian background has also increased from 15 per cent to 21 per cent as has the number of Black/Black British residents from 15 per cent to 17 per cent.

Country of birth

The 2011 Census showed that more than a third of Waltham Forest residents (37 per cent) are born abroad. The largest migrant groups in Waltham Forest are from Pakistan (12,700 people), Poland (8,200) and Romania (4,300).

As a percentage of its total borough population, Waltham Forest has the second largest proportion of Central and Eastern European residents of all London boroughs, with 9 per cent of the population of the borough originating from Central and Eastern Europe. This is twice the London average and substantially higher than in England and Wales (2 per cent).


The borough also has a diverse range of faith communities. According to the 2011 Census, Christianity remains the main religion, with 48 per cent of residents identifying as Christian. Although this proportion has decreased from 57 per cent in 2001, this is mostly due to increases in other groups as the absolute number of Christians has remained static. Almost a quarter of residents (22 per cent) are Muslims (compared to 5 per cent nationally), the proportion having increased from 15 per cent in 2001. There has also been a small increase in the proportion of people who identify themselves as secular (15 per cent to 18 per cent).

Recent arrivals

Data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on those registering for a National Insurance number (NINo) is useful in estimating the scale of recent arrivals into the borough. This data needs careful interpretation as it is only a measure of inflow and does not take into account those who have subsequently left the borough.

A total of 17,300 NINo registrations were recorded in the borough in 2014/15, an increase from 11,600 on the previous year. This is also the highest figure since records began in 2002. This has largely been driven by the lifting of transitional controls for EU2 nationals (migrants from Romania and Bulgaria) in January 2014. 90 per cent of new migrants are from Europe compared to 47 per cent a decade ago, while 5 per cent are from Asia and the remaining 5 per cent from the Rest of the World. The top three nationalities arriving to Waltham Forest in 2013/14 were Romanian, Polish and Spanish.

All the previous and future releases on NINo registrations are available on the GOV.UK website. Further information is also available from the Department for Work and Pensions Stat-Xplore resource.

Languages spoken in the borough

About one in four residents aged three and over (26 per cent) do not speak English as their main language compared to 8 per cent nationally (2011 Census). The majority (78 per cent), however, can speak English well or very well. About 6 per cent of the borough's residents (14,250 people) have said that they do not speak English well or at all.

Table 3 Top 10 languages other than English spoken in Waltham Forest

Source: 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics


Main language























Self-reported health and disability

The 2011 Census asked people to rate their health as very good, good, fair, bad or very bad. The data shows that a total of 13,500 residents of Waltham Forest considered their health to be bad or very bad. This is equivalent to 5 per cent of the population, down from 9 per cent who said in the 2001 Census that they did not have a good health.

In addition, the 2011 census asked people if they had a health problem or disability that has lasted or was expected to last for at least 12 months and which limited the person’s day-to-day activities, either a little or a lot.

As many as 37,600 residents said in the census that their day-to-day activities are limited because of their health. This is made up of seven per cent of population who said their day-to-day activities were limited a lot (17,900 people) and eight per cent whose activities were limited a little (19,700). In total, this is 15 per cent of residents compared to 18 per cent nationally.

Health tends to deteriorate further with age with more than half of residents aged 65 and over (57 per cent) having a limiting long-term health problem or disability.


Data from the 2014 Integrated Household Survey - the biggest pool of UK social data after the Census – found that 1.6 per cent of adults (aged 16 and over) in the UK identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. London had the highest proportion of adults who said they were gay, lesbian or bisexual (2.6 per cent), which would be equivalent to almost 7,000 people in Waltham Forest.

Local businesses Click to get info

According to the 2016 UK Business Counts, Waltham Forest currently has a total of 9,940 businesses, over a thousand more than in 2015 (8,910). The annual growth rate of 12% is nearly twice as high as the London average at 7% and three times the UK average of 4%.

The total number of individual sites/workplaces belonging to businesses in the borough is 11,005 according to the data from March 2016.

A large majority (93%) of businesses in the borough are so called micro businesses with less than 10 employees. Further 6% are small businesses with 10-49 employees and only 1% of businesses employ more than 50 people.

The largest industry group in the borough is professional, scientific and technical (18% of the businesses), followed closely by construction (16%) and information and communication (11%).

Of the top 5 industries, construction has a higher share of businesses in Waltham Forest (16%) than in London as a whole (9%) and it was also the largest growing sector in the borough last year (+330 businesses).

Chart 1 Top five industries in Waltham Forest and London

Source: UK Business Counts 2016, Office for National Statistics

Deprivation Click to get info

Waltham Forest is just outside the bottom 10 per cent of the most deprived local authorities, ranking 35th out of 326 in England, according to the overall measure of multiple deprivation (IMD 2015). Its position has improved from 2010 when the borough ranked 15th most deprived in the country. Out of 33 London boroughs, Waltham Forest currently ranks 7th most deprived.

Furthermore, according to an estimate by the Campaign to End Child Poverty, 23 per cent of children (before housing costs are factored in) and 35 per cent (after housing costs) were living in poverty as of late 2013, which is higher than the UK average of 16 per cent (BHC) and 25 per cent (AHC). Poverty is defined according to HMRC, which measures child poverty as the proportion of children living in families in receipt of out of work benefits or in receipt of tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent of median income.

More data can be found at:

Education Click to get info

In Waltham Forest, there are currently 53 primary schools, 17 secondary schools, 5 special schools and 3 pupil referral units. 12 schools are academy converts, 10 are sponsor-led academies and 2 are free schools.

According to the Department for Education, Waltham Forest’s Key Stage 2 or SAT results (for pupils aged 7 to 11) are below the England average. In the academic year 2014-15, 78 per cent of pupils at schools in the borough achieved at least Level 4, the level expected of most 11 year olds, in the academic year 2014-15, compared to 80 per cent across the country. The borough ranked bottom out of all London boroughs in 2014-15.

Likewise, Waltham Forest is at the lower end of the scale across London regarding results at Key Stage 4 (or GCSE results for pupils aged 14 to 16), with 57 per cent of pupils achieving at least five A*-C grades. However, the fact that education in London as a whole has improved greatly in recent times distorts the fact that large improvements have nonetheless been made in the borough over the last few years.

In 2014-15, 55 per cent of pupils in Waltham Forest achieved at least five A*-C grades at GCSE including English and Maths compared to the London average of 60 per cent.

In 2014-15, 67 per cent of the borough’s pupils achieved at least five A*-C grades in any subject at GCSE compared with 70 per cent for London as a whole.

Results at Key Stage 5 or A-Level results for pupils aged 16 to 18 are also lower in Waltham Forest than they are in both London and England. In 2014-15, the borough’s students achieved an average point score per pupil of 660, just below the London average of 672. The England average was significantly higher at 700 points per student.

Figures from the Annual Population Survey by ONS show that between January and December 2015, 43 per cent of the working-age population aged 16-64 in Waltham Forest was qualified to degree level or above. This is lower than the London average of 50 per cent. 12 per cent of residents aged 16-64, or a total of 21,200 people in Waltham Forest, do not have any formal qualifications, which is more than the London average of 7 per cent.


According to the ONS’s Annual Population Survey, the employment rate for the working-age population aged 16-64 in the 12 months to December 2015 was 73.1 per cent, close to the London average of 73.0 per cent. With over 135,000 residents in employment this is highest since the records began in 2004.

Unemployment has also dropped to the all-time lowest at 6.4 per cent of economically active population. This is equivalent to a total of 9.200 unemployed residents. The average unemployment rate in London is slightly lower at 6.1 per cent.

The number of people claiming out-of-work benefits in Waltham Forest was 4,250 as at October 2016. This is 2.3 per cent of resident population and is higher than the London average of 1.9 per cent.

According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings by the ONS, the median earnings for Waltham Forest residents who work full-time in 2016 was £30,900, an increase of four per cent from the year before but below the London average which is £33,800.

Housing Click to get info

In response to the needs of the growing population, private rented housing has been the fastest growing housing tenure in Waltham Forest in the past decade. According to the 2011 Census, about one in four households in Waltham Forest (26 per cent) now live in private rented accommodation, up from 16 per cent in 2001.

This is in line with the London average (25 per cent) and higher than the national average (17 per cent). The total number of private rented sector households in the borough is now 25,100, not far from double that in 2001 (14,100).

From 2001 to 2011 the borough has seen a decline in owner-occupied housing (58 per cent down to 50 per cent) and a small decline in the social rented sector (24 per cent down to 22 per cent).

Property prices are rising rapidly across London and Waltham Forest is quoted as one of the boroughs with the fastest rising prices. From April 2013 to April 2016, the average price of a house increased from £244,400 to £424,700, a rise of 74 per cent (UK House Price Index, ONS). Over the past 12 months, monthly house price growth has averaged 2.1 per cent.

Waltham Forest Council’s housing stock is managed by the Council itself, having previously been the responsibility of an arm’s length management organisation called Ascham Homes until 30 November 2015.

As at April 2016, Waltham Forest had a total of 9,400 households on the Housing Register.

Health Click to get info

Estimated life expectancy for those born between 2010 and 2014 in Waltham Forest for men was 79.4 years and 83.8 years for women, which is similar to the England average. However, there is a great deal of inequality among wards. In Grove Green, the average male life expectancy was 83.4 years compared to 75.7 years in Lea Bridge. Likewise, in Endlebury, the average female life expectancy was 89.4 years compared to 80.7 years in Lea Bridge (ONS).

Healthy life expectancy, which measures the amount of time that individuals are in ‘good’ health, is 61.3 years for men and 59.4 years for women.

Waltham Forest compares well to the England average on initiating breast-feeding. It also has lower rates of women smoking in pregnancy, fewer adults who are obese or have excess weight, a lower incidence of malignant melanoma and a lower number of road injuries and deaths (Waltham Forest Health Profile 2014).

On the other hand, Waltham Forest is doing significantly worse than England in terms of infant mortality, obesity among children, smoking prevalence, recorded diabetes, incidence of tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections (Waltham Forest Health Profile 2014).

Cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, which causes 24 per cent of premature deaths (75 years and under) and is the main contributor for health inequalities between Waltham Forest and England.

More information on the health and wellbeing in Waltham Forest is available in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment report 2014-2015.

Crime Click to get info

From April 2015 to March 2016, a total of 21,740 crimes were recorded by the Metropolitan Police in Waltham Forest, an increase of 4.6 per cent on the year before.

The top three types of crimes in Waltham Forest in the year up to March 2016 were:

  • Theft and Handling, which includes theft of and from a vehicle, shoplifting, theft from a person etc. (34 per cent of all crime)
  • Violence against the person (33 per cent of all crime)
  • Burglary (10 per cent of all crime)

The borough’s monthly crime rate from April 2015 to March 2016 was 6.8 per 1,000 people, lower than the average crime rate for London (7.2).

According to the Metropolitan Police Service Public Attitude Survey from December 2015, 35 per cent of residents were ‘worried’ or ‘very worried’ about crime in the area, down one per cent from the same time last year but slightly higher than the London average of 33 per cent (source: Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime via London Datastore).

For the latest crime statistics please go to Metropolitan Police website

Ward profiles Click to get info

Waltham Forest is divided into 20 wards.

The GLA Intelligence Unit’s Ward Profiles provide a range of demographic and related data for each ward in Greater London, and allow you to compare individual wards to the borough, London and national averages. They include data on the population, diversity, households, life expectancy, housing, crime, benefits, land use, deprivation, and employment.

You can access the ward profiles - available in Excel, PDF or Instant Atlas mapping software - on the London Datastore.

Other Data Sources Click to get info

There are many publicly available data sources which cover demographic, social and economic trends in Waltham Forest and can be used to compare our borough to other areas.

This following list and links are not exhaustive, but many key statistics not covered on this page can be found at the following websites.

London Datastore - The Greater London Authority website dedicated to research and analysis specific to London.

Office for National Statistics (Neighbourhood Statistics) - ONS compiled statistics specifically about Waltham Forest. Includes Census data, Annual Labour Force Survey/Population Survey data, DWP data and other data sources.

NOMIS - Nomis is a service provided by the ONS, giving detailed and up-to-date access to UK labour market statistics and Census statistics. Includes labour market profile for Waltham Forest, and easily downloadable data on population, employment, qualifications, earnings, benefit claimants and businesses.

GOV.UK Statistics - Official statistics published by the UK government. Search by government department on by key word. 

Public Health England Data Portal - A single point of access to data and analysis tools from across Public Health England. This includes general health profile for Waltham Forest, specific mental health and learning disability profiles, and information on lifestyle risk factors,  disease prevalence and wider determinants of health.

Marmot Indicators 2015 - Launched by the Institute of Health Equity, the Marmot Indicators 2015 are a new set of indicators of the social determinants of health, health outcomes and social inequality. They broadly correspond to the six policy recommendations proposed in 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives' The Marmot Review of health inequalities in England that was published in 2010.

Children's Local Area Interactive Tool - An interactive spreadsheet for comparing data about children and young people across all local authorities in England. 

Health and Social Care Intelligence Centre - The national provider of information, data and IT systems for health and social care. Includes data tool in NASCIS (National Adult Social Care Intelligence Service).

London's Poverty Profile - London's Poverty Profile uses official data to reveal patterns in poverty and inequality.


Contact Click to get info

Resident Insight and Performance

Waltham Forest Town Hall, Forest Road


E17 4JF

Phone 020 8496 4855