Londoners are leaving the capital in record numbers and the city is now the only region in England were more people are leaving than arriving, official figures show.
The data released by the Office for National Statistics revealed 340,498 people left London in 2018 to live in other parts of the UK, an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year.
The departures come at a time of rising crime in the capital, with the murder rate rising to 65 so far this year following the killing of a pregnant woman in south London last night.
The exodus marks the highest rate of people leaving London since the ONS began collecting data in 2012.
Over the same period, only 237,270 people moved to the city from elsewhere in the UK, meaning the capital lost a net 103,228 people to other parts of the country.
Only migration into London from other parts of the world is keeping the population steady.
In 2017, 336,010 people left the city, up from 291,630 in 2016. And between 2012 – where departures were 255,140 – and 2016, outward migration rose by 36,490.
For every year since 2012, the south east was the most popular destination for those choosing to leave London.
Among those aged 30 to 34, there was a net outflow of 30,094 people leaving London.
The quiet Hertfordshire village of Essendon, which has many well-tended cottages, is one place which is becoming popular with departing Londoners.
It has a pub, a church, a hall and school – essential elements of a rural community – and Vannessa McCallum, a local estate agent told The Guardian that families were coming from London.
Ms McCallum said of those who are arriving: ‘People who can’t afford a house in London, families who want more space, people downsizing.
‘It’s such an easy journey into London, so it’s very popular.’
The capital’s crime rates may be a factor in peoples’ decision to leave for safer parts of the country.
Since the start of the year, there have been 64 murders in the capital, with the latest shocking death occurring last night, when a pregnant woman was stabbed to death.
Kellymary Fauvrelle, 26, died in Thornton Heath, South London, after being stabbed.
Her baby was saved by emergency services and remains in a critical condition in hospital.
And last weekend, four people were killed with knives within four days in London, while earlier this week Oasis’s frontman Liam Gallagher blamed London mayor Sadiq Khan for the knife-crime epidemic.
He said: ‘Every time you wake up in the morning, there’s some 16-year-old kid been knifed to death.
‘I’d have a word with that mayor – he seems to not be doing a good job, all them kids getting knifed and all that.’
The ONS figures show that large numbers of people leaving the capital are choosing places including Dartford, Epsom, Ewell, Epping Forest, Thurrock and Broxbourne, all of which are in the South East.
In Thurrock and Dartford especially, almost two-thirds of people arriving in 2018 came from London.
Neil Park, head of the ONS’s population estimates unit, said: ‘In the last two years, population growth in the UK has been at its lowest rate since 2004.
‘For the fifth year in a row, net international migration was a bigger driver of population change than births and deaths.
‘However, overall population change to the year mid-2018 has remained fairly stable, as an increase in net international migration has been roughly matched by the fewest births in over a decade and the highest number of deaths since the turn of the century.’