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Internal Migration and Regional Population Dynamics in Europe:\ud United Kingdom Case Study

By P. Rees, H. Durham and M. Kupiszewski


This case study examines recent population change patterns and internal migration activity in the United Kingdom. A wealth of knowledge about population dynamics in Britain is revealed. The spatial patterns of population change and net migration are intricate mosaics of gains and losses. Gains and losses in population were principally determined by net internal migration. The decade long population change patterns and one year long migration patterns were in close\ud agreement. This was surprising in view of temporal instability in population change and migration patterns. The dominant spatial pattern was one of deconcentration from the cores of city regions to hinterlands for both the largest metropolises and also their subsidiary partner cities. There were also signs of loss in population and migrants in declining resource regions(former mining areas, fishing ports) and gains in new resource frontiers - particularly in northeast Scotland reflecting the vigorous development of onshore facilities for the offshore oil and gas fields of the North Sea. The pattern of overall population and migrant redistribution was predominantly that of the middle labour force/family ages reinforced at much lower mobility levels but with sharper patterns of redistribution by the pre-retirement and retirement ages. People in the young adult ages in contrast redistributed to different destinations, showing a unique shift to the dense neighbourhoods of big cities. With respect to the urban system, there was significant redistribution both downward and outward. Downward redistribution meant shifts from large metropolitan cities to medium and small sized freestanding cities. Outward redistribution meant shifts to the outer commuting rings around cities, often deep into the countryside, This was not a return to the rural idyll, merely the expansion of the daily urban systems to cover most of lowland Britain. Strong preferences for low density living were revealed by shifts towards districts in Rural Areas and by net flows to low density wards and\ud sectors. Similar strong shifts out of areas of above average into below average unemployment were detected, though both relationships with density and unemployment were either not\ud present or weak for young adults. Some ambiguity was revealed in the fortunes of Inner London areas. Migration data from the 1991 Census showed intense outward movement.\ud Downward population shifts were on a lesser scale because of the compensating effects of higher than average natural increase and high immigration. However, a re-analysis of 1991 population by ONS led to a substantial upward revision of London borough populations, and so places doubt on the size of outward shift of population through internal migration

Publisher: School of Geography
Year: 1996
OAI identifier:

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