According to the latest 1991 census material on inner London, obtained exclusively by the Independent, 25.3 per cent of economically active people in Hackney were unemployed or on government schemes for the jobless. That compared with 25.1 per cent in Knowsley - the most deprived area of Merseyside.
Other London boroughs were not far behind. Tower Hamlets had an unemployment rate of 24.4 per cent, and more than a fifth of the economically-active population of Newham, Southwark and Haringey were also recorded as unemployed or on government schemes.
The census returns are based on a 10 per cent sample of inner London's population of 2.5 million. Frank Dobson, Labour's employment spokesman and MP for the inner-London constituency of Holborn and St Pancras, said last night: 'These are the figures the Government can't fiddle.
'They show that in 1991, unemployment in inner London was already higher than the Government claims now, after two years of further, unrelenting increases.'
Department of Employment figures show that unemployment in greater London increased by 629,000 in the year to last February. The number of registered unemployed claimants rose by 7.8 per cent in Hackney's two parliamentary constituencies over the same period.
Between 1981 and 1991 - the central decade of Margaret Thatcher's government - male unemployment in inner London increased by nearly one-third, from 14.4 per cent to 20.8 per cent, and increased from 9.3 per cent to 14.3 per cent among women.
The overall rate for inner London was 17.9 per cent, and Mr Dobson said that 'real' rate would strengthen the hand of London boroughs who are campaigning for assisted-area status, something being considered by Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade.
The rates for the individual boroughs were: Hackney 25.3 per cent; Tower Hamlets 24.4 per cent; Newham 22.2 per cent; Southwark 20.2 per cent; Haringey 20 per cent; Islington 19.4 per cent; Lambeth 19.3 per cent; Lewisham 15.3 per cent; Camden 14.9 per cent; Kensington and Chelsea 14.1 per cent; Hammersmith and Fulham 14 per cent; Westminster 13.9 per cent; and Wandsworth 12.9 per cent.
The overall increase in unemployment was also reflected in the decline in the proportion of people employed in manufacturing in inner London - down from 18.2 per cent in the 1981 census to 8.7 per cent in 1991.
That compared with relatively stable employment in construction, distribution and catering, but there was a marked increase in banking, finance and other services, including cleaning and security - where the proportion of people employed rose from 45.9 per cent in 1981 to 56.7 per cent in the 1991 census.
While the 1981 census did not break down 'other services' into banking and finance, the 1991 census showed that 21.8 per cent of inner London's working population was employed in that sector. The highest proportions in banking and finance were in Kensington and Chelsea (32.4 per cent), Hammersmith and Fulham (27 per cent); and Wandsworth (26.1 per cent).
The census data also showed that inner London has one of the most highly-qualified populations outside Oxford, where 20 per cent of all adults have a degree. But while 15.3 per cent of all adults in inner London have a degree, Oxford is trumped by Kensington and Chelsea (25.1 per cent) and Camden (22.3 per cent). The rates for other London boroughs are: Wandsworth, 19.3 per cent; Hammersmith and Fulham, 18.8 per cent; Westminster, 17.6 per cent; Haringey, 16.9 per cent; Lambeth, 16.2 per cent; Islington, 15.9 per cent; Hackney, 12.2 per cent; Southwark, 11.7 per cent; Lewisham, 10.7 per cent; Tower Hamlets, 8.3 per cent; Newham, 5.4 per cent.
The latest Office of Population Censuses and Surveys General Household Survey, reported last January, said the proportion of people living alone had more than doubled in 30 years, to 26 per cent of all households in 1991. But the census shows that all the inner London boroughs exceed that figure. More than 47 per cent of all households in Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster were in single occupation; more than 40 per cent in Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham.
As for married couples with children, while they accounted for 38 per cent of all households in the 1961 census, that fell back to 35 per cent in 1971, and 31 per cent in 1981. The General Household Survey put the figure at 25 per cent - but the 1991 census figure for inner London is 14 per cent of all households, with Kensington, Chelsea, Camden, Lambeth, Hammersmith, Fulham and Westminster all at 12 per cent or less.
The Independent analysis excludes the City of London, which contains fewer than 2,000 households.
1991 Census. County Report: Inner London (Part 2); Office of Population Censuses and Surveys; HMSO; pounds 31.
Monday: Outer London
Table: ALL HOUSEHOLDS
(% of first figure = owner occupier)
47.4% Kensington and Chelsea (37.2%)
47.2% Westminster (32.4%)
42.8% Camden (30.8%)
40.6% Hammersmith and Fulham (37.6%)
37.8% Islington (22.2%)
37.3% Inner London (32.6%)
37.2% Lambeth (32.1%)
36.6% Southwark (22%)
35.6% Hackney (19.3%)
35% Tower Hamlets (18.8%)
34.5% Wandsworth (46.9%)
34.3% Haringey (41%)
31.7% Lewisham (38.6%)
28% Newham (37.9%)
Married with dependent children
21.7% Newham (67.2%)
16.7% Tower Hamlets (20.3%)
15.8% Haringey (69.8%)
15.1% Lewisham (64.8%)
14.6% Hackney (39%)
14% Inner London (52.3%)
13.8% Wandsworth (71.8%)
13.1% Islington (37.2%)
13% Southwark (38.1%)
12% Kensington and Chelsea (48.1%)
11.7% Camden (46.6%)
11.8% Lambeth (51.9%)
11.4% Hammersmith and Fulham (54.7%)
11% Westminster (39.8%)
7.6% Wandsworth (58.1%)
7.3% Lewisham (58.3%)
6.6% Hammersmith and Fulham (14.1%)
6.6% Southwark (35.7%)
6.5% Islington (37.7%)
6.5% Camden (38.8%)
6.4% Lambeth (45.7%)
6.4% Inner London (46.5%)
6.4% Hackney (44.4%)
6.3% Haringey (54.5%)
6% Tower Hamlets (35.3%)
5.4% Westminster (40.4%)
5.3% Kensington and Chelsea (36.7%)
5.2% Newham (55.9%)
Lone parent families
16.2% Hackney (14.4%)
15.7% Southwark (13.7%)
15.4% Islington (13.1%)
15.1% Lambeth (21.4%)
14.9% Lewisham (31.3%)
14.1% Tower Hamlets (11.7%)
13.7% Haringey (31.7%)
13.6% Newham (28.5%)
13.2% Inner London (23.3%)
11.6% Hammersmith and Fulham (25.4%)
11.5% Wandsworth (36.6%)
11.4% Camden (36.3%)
9.2% Kensington and Chelsea (28%)
8.5% Westminster (26.9)
Children from lone parent families
36.1% Hammersmith and Fulham
32.6% Inner London
28.6% Kensington and Chelsea
Source: 1991 Census County Report: Inner London (Part 2)