It’s the big demographic story you haven’t even heard of – or is it?
Since the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition came to power in May 2010, British people have been leaving the country in droves.
The number of British emigrants has risen from 128,000 to 154,000 in the past three years, while those returning to Britain has fallen from 96,000 to 79,000. The consequence is that British net migration has more than doubled.
But hold fire – all is not what it seems.
The change in emigration numbers is within the margin of error – it’s not statistically significant. In layman’s terms, that means the variations are random noise, not a meaningful change.
Let this be a clear warning: you may not know what you think you know. Read more
For all the antipathy that migrants are generating in Europe, a look at the numbers suggests they may be sorely needed. In much of the European Union, migrants are filling the ranks of the working age population, particularly in countries where the number of those aged 20 to 64 has been falling as a percentage of the total population.
Moreover, the data show a persistent pattern: migrants, as a percentage of population, are highest at the youngest working ages, peaking in most countries at 30 to 35 and falling thereafter. Read more
Today’s OECD International Migration Outlook takes a comprehensive look at the fiscal impact of immigration, but also has some interesting numbers on destination and origin countries.
Britain has been the destination of choice for immigrants from OECD nations in the past five years, but tiny Belgium is not far behind. Also Germany, where unemployment is now lower than it was before the financial crisis hit in 2008, is a close third choice.
Outflows of population, predictably are largest from countries with the highest unemployment rates, OECD data show.
London is widely known for being a city of immigrants – famously, a third of its residents were born abroad. It’s not quite so well-known as a city of emigrants. But, at least within the UK, that is its role.
According to internal migration data recently released by the Office for National Statistics, London sees by far the greatest population loss of all the English regions. 242,000 people moved out of London in 2011. When offset against those moving to the capital, this resulted in a net loss of 40,000 people.
The big story from today’s Office for National Statistics migration figures is undoubtedly the strength of student immigration to the UK. But there is another angle, which is also worthy of attention.
More people left the UK to find work than arrived in the UK for work, according to the provisional data for 2011. That is, the net effect was the departure of 17,000 workers from the UK. This level of workers’ outward migration has only happened once before in the past decade, at the height of the recession in 2009. Read more