No sex in the city for women in London as report sees excess of female singles in the capital

Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon in US comedy Sex and the City
In London women aged 25 to 35 outnumber their male equivalents by seven per cent - Rex Features

Younger women in London have a harder time finding a family-oriented partner than elsewhere in the UK, according to a leading demographer.

Stephen J Shaw, a data scientist whose documentary Birthgap explores declining birth rates globally, analysed a sample of women aged 25 to 35, who were surveyed in 2023 on their attitudes towards starting a family.

He found a “notable urban disparity” when it comes to how easy women find it to meet a family-oriented partner, with 47 per cent of London women citing difficulties meeting a partner as a barrier to starting families.

In the South East, the figure is 34 per cent, and outside London and the South East (an aggregate figure taken for the whole UK), it is 32 per cent.

‘London effect’

In London women aged 25 to 35 also outnumber their male equivalents by seven per cent, arguably giving men more choice in the heterosexual dating market.

In 2022 the Office for National Statistics found that the Borough of Wandsworth had the highest ratio of young women to men in the country, with 33 percent more females in their twenties. Lambeth had the next largest ratio, with a 13.4 per cent difference, followed by Hackney and Islington.

Shaw said there may be a “London effect” impacting the search for a family-planning partner, even indicating that relocation from the capital “may improve the likelihood of finding a suitable partner for family planning.

He added that variables such as “demanding work schedules, high-stress levels, the absence of local extended family support, urban cultural norms, cost of living, and housing availability” could explain the London effect.

Shaw told The Telegraph: “This data uncovers a remarkably high challenge in finding a family-oriented partner in London compared to other parts of the UK.

Nearly half of women in the capital consider this a significant problem. With low birth rates around the world being driven by unplanned childlessness, it’s evident that many women in London face a high risk of lifelong childlessness.”

‘An equal to marry’

Phoebe Arslanagić-Little, Head of the New Deal for Parents at Onward, a campaign which investigates how we can make it easier for people to have the children they want, said: “One factor that makes it particularly difficult to start a family in London is sky-high housing costs, forcing young people to live in house shares or with their parents for far longer than they want to.

“That leaves them with little choice but to delay having children. A young adult under 35 in 1997 was most likely to live as a couple with children. But today, most live with their parents. This is why making it easier for people to have children means building more homes and ending the housing crisis.”

Philly Ponniah, Financial Coach at Philly Financial, works with high-achieving women looking to build wealth and said “I’ve seen an increasing number of my high achieving female clients struggle to find the right man. These women are bright, attractive, have good jobs and high salaries and yet cannot find an equal to marry.”

In 2022, the birth rate in England and Wales dropped to the lowest on record - standing at 1.49 children per woman.