The British battle royale: Is London or Birmingham better

Caught in the dilemma of choosing between London and Birmingham? Both are good for different reasons.

London pulsates with a dynamic, fast-paced lifestyle, abundant career prospects, and vibrant cultural tapestry that never fails to captivate. 

On the other hand, Birmingham beckons with its relaxed ambience, affordability, and rich cultural and artistic experiences.

Read on if you want to learn how we’ve arrived at these conclusions, as we’ve meticulously compared the two cities, delving into their unique offerings and characteristics.

Cost of living in London vs. Birmingham

Cost of living in London vs. Birmingham
Photo from Unsplash by Markus Winkler
London’s cost of living significantly outpaces that of Birmingham. With an average monthly living cost of £3,161 in London, compared to £1,167.75 in Birmingham.
In fact, living in London is approximately 170.83% more expensive than in Birmingham. This discrepancy becomes evident across various expenses such as rent, utilities, transportation fees, and childcare costs.

We analysed data from LivingCost.org to determine the average monthly living costs in London and Birmingham. 

The table below provides a comprehensive overview of the expenses associated with residing in these cities, offering a detailed examination of our calculations.

Expenses London Cost Birmingham Cost 
Housing (Average Rent per Month) 
1-bedroom apartment  (downtown)£1,557£679
Cheap 1-bedroom apartment£1,132£575
3-bedroom apartment (downtown)£2,880£1,505
Cheap 3-bedroom apartment£1,962£912
Utilities (Average Monthly Bill) 
Utility bill for one person £139£135
Utility bill for a family £213£207
Internet plan £27.3£26.2
Transportation (Fare)
1-way ticket (local transport ticket)£2.51£2.32
Monthly pass (local transport ticket)£119£56.3
Taxi Start (normal tariff)£18.2£11.1
Gasoline (1 litre)£1.66£1.54
Childcare (Tuition Fee)
Private Preschool/Kindergarten (full day)£1,488 per month £1,147 per month 
International Primary School £17,374 per year £14,421 per year 

Birmingham, in general, prides itself on a cost of living that is roughly 63.05% lower than that of London. 

This stark differentiation can be attributed to several factors, including lower rental rates, reduced utility expenses, and more budget-friendly grocery options.

Real Estate Prices in London vs. Birmingham

Real Estate Prices in London vs. Birmingham
Photo from Unsplash by Markus Winkler

London has higher real estate prices compared to Birmingham. Based on the Housing Market prices of Zoopla, on average, real estate prices in London are approximately 189.16% higher compared to Birmingham.

Birmingham takes the spotlight in the realm of affordable UK real estate, providing more budget-friendly prices compared to London

To delve deeper into the contrasting property markets, the following table presents an overview of average sold prices for single-family homes and condo apartments in these two distinct cities.

Property TypeLondon Birmingham 
Single-Family Home £1,325,555£458,421
Condo Apartment £489,303£161,409

Diversity and Demographics in London vs. Birmingham

Diversity and Demographics in London vs. Birmingham
Photo from Unsplash by Sam Balye
In terms of diversity, London takes the lead, with a higher proportion of visible minorities. London is approximately 15.7% more diverse than Birmingham based on the racial composition of the population.

London distinguishes itself by its extensive geographical area, significantly larger population, and slightly younger median age when compared to Birmingham.

These points highlight the distinct traits of each region, emphasizing the diversity and variations that thrive within these two dynamic cities.

London Birmingham 
Geographic LocationGreater London, EnglandNorthwest of London, England
Size (Area)1,572 km square kilometres 267.8 km square kilometres 
Population 9,648,0001,149,000
Female Population 50.6 %51.4%
Male Population 49.4%48.6%
Median Age 35.9 years old37.2 years old
Life Expectancy at Birth 82.8 years old 81.3  years old 

According to data from the World Population Review, notable variations in racial composition can be observed when comparing London and Birmingham.

London exhibits a greater degree of diversity, characterized by larger populations of Black, Arab, and other ethnicities. In contrast, Birmingham tends to have a higher proportion of individuals belonging to the White racial group.

Racial Composition LondonRacial Composition Birmingham
White53.8%White48.6%
Asian 20.8%Asian31.0%
Black13.5%Black11.0%
Mixed4.6%Mixed4.8%
Arab1.6%Arab1.0%
Other4.7%Other4.5%

Career Opportunities in London vs. Birmingham

Career Opportunities in London vs. Birmingham
Photo from Unsplash by Jason Goodman
Sourced data from Statista shows that London offers more job opportunities than Birmingham. This is because the employment rate in London is 76.2%, while in Birmingham, it’s 69.2%. 

Despite the data above, it is worth noting that the average annual salary in London amounts to £33,825, whereas in Birmingham, it stands at £35,992 per year. 

Crime and Safety in London vs. Birmingham 

Crime and Safety in London vs. Birmingham 
Photo from Unsplash by Campbell Jensen
Based on the data from Statista and Varbes in 2022, it’s safer to live in London than in Birmingham. The crime in London is at 8.66%, while in Birmingham, it’s 14%. 
Birmingham demonstrates a greater incidence of reported crimes per capita compared to London, possibly influenced by variances in socioeconomic conditions, population density, law enforcement endeavours, and regional dynamics.

While London generally boasts a higher level of safety compared to Birmingham, it is important to note that Birmingham maintains a moderate crime rate.

For a breakdown of details, see the table below:

CityPopulationCrime totalCrime rate per 100,000 peopleCrime rate (%)
London9,648,000835,8228,6638.66%
Birmingham1,149,000160,87614,00114%

In addition, we collected data from Numbeo to depict the perceived relative crime levels between London and Birmingham. 

It is crucial to acknowledge that the information presented below relies on survey data and is subject to variation as more respondents contribute over time.

Type of Crime London Birmingham 
People using or dealing drugs61.62%75.12%
Property crimes such as vandalism and theft57.48%68.37%
Violent crimes such as assault or armed robbery 56.87%43.10%
Corruption and bribery 38.30%44.62%

Lifestyle in London vs. Birmingham

Lifestyle in London vs. Birmingham
Photo from Unsplash by Mohamed Nohassi
London and Birmingham offer safe, clean, and multicultural urban environments with a wide range of exciting and historic sites to explore.

To obtain a holistic view of the lifestyles in both cities, let’s thoroughly compare them across key factors such as weather, recreational opportunities, and healthcare services. 

This detailed analysis will provide valuable insights into the unique offerings of each location.

Weather in London vs. Birmingham

Weather in London vs. Birmingham
Photo from Unsplash by Łukasz Łada

Both London and Birmingham have more or less the same weather. These cities experience short, comfortable, and partly cloudy summers, as well as long, very cold, windy, and mostly cloudy winters.

Plus, London and Birmingham have an annual temperature range of around 4°C to 23°C. It rarely gets colder than -1°C or hotter than 29°C.

Things to do in London vs. Birmingham

Things to do in London vs. Birmingham
Photo from Unsplash by Tomas Anton Escobar

London and Birmingham offer a range of unique experiences and activities for visitors and residents.

London, as the capital city, offers a wide array of iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, along with renowned museums and galleries like the British Museum and Tate Modern

But Birmingham showcases quite a few historical sites too, including the Birmingham Museum and Aston Hall. Here, you can also visit Cadbury World for a chocolate-filled experience, and explore the Bullring shopping centre.

Healthcare in London vs. Birmingham

Healthcare in London vs. Birmingham
Photo from Unsplash by Online Marketing

While both London and Birmingham boast high-quality healthcare services, Birmingham is said to surpass London where patients are concerned. 

According to Numbeo data, Birmingham holds a healthcare index of 72.13%, surpassing London’s slightly lower score of 69.81%. This suggests that Birmingham has a slightly more favourable perception of its healthcare services compared to London.

London Birmingham
Skill and competency of medical staff69%72.67
Speed in completing examinations and reports65.91%57.56
Equipment for modern diagnosis and treatment82.34%87.20
Accuracy and completeness in filling out reports67.75%64.02
Friendliness and courtesy of the staff72.44%74.42
Responsiveness (waiting in medical institutions)43.56%42.26
Satisfaction with Cost79.02%83.97
Convenience of location79.30%83.12

London and Birmingham both offer excellent healthcare services, ensuring the well-being of their residents in distinctive ways. 

In London, the city’s renowned hospitals and medical facilities make it a global hub for cutting-edge healthcare. The capital boasts some of the world’s leading medical research institutions and specialists, attracting top talents from around the globe.

On the other hand, Birmingham Birmingham excels in community-based healthcare through collaboration between professionals, organizations, and local authorities to enhance well-being.

London vs. Birmingham: How they stack up

Ultimately, the choice between these two vibrant cities, London and Birmingham, depends on individual preferences.

Each of these cities has its own unique advantages and drawbacks that can influence your decision. By carefully considering the factors we have discussed, you can form your own opinion on which city takes centre stage for you.

Factors The Better City Why 
Cost of Living BirminghamThe living cost in Birmingham is 63.05% cheaper than in London.
Real Estate BirminghamThe average prices for real estate properties in Birmingham are significantly lower.
Diversity and DemographicsLondonBoth cities have relatively high diversity, but overall, the London population has a higher percentage of visible minorities. 
Career Opportunities LondonLondon has a more favourable job landscape and a lower unemployment rate. 
Crime IndexLondonThe crime index in London is lower than in Birmingham. 
Lifestyle Tied (depends on what kind of lifestyle you prefer)London and Birmingham have the same type of climate. 
Both cities have iconic landmarks that enable you to do various activities. 
On top of this, both Healthcare services in London and Birmingham are top-notch.
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