Sunday, 12 December 2010

The British Isles greatest export....

UK migration trends have been remarkably stable over the last decade.

Apart from a little dip in 2008, the financial crisis has had little impact on flows. Contrary to widespread and alarmist predictions, our friendly Polish plumbers have not returned to fix the dilapidated piping in Warsaw.

The numbers tell a straightforward story;
  • Every year around 500,000 people migrate to the UK:
  • At the same time, over 300,000 people leave:
  • The net population increase is somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 a year.
For me, the most fascinating number is the exit rate.  It is not often acknowledged, but over the last 300 years, the British Isles has been the greatest source of migrants in the world. 

People have been, by far, the greatest export from these fair isles.


Anonymous said...

In the past yes. But in recent times surely if we are a net importer of people, we can't be considered an Exporter?

Britain exports some northsea oil and gas, but we are not considered an oil exporter? because on balance we import are more.

Alice said...

Anon - The UK might be a net importer now, but over three hundred years more have left than arrived.


Stevie b. said...

Given prospective graduate debt and in order to get out from under it, I'd expect graduate emigration to increase at a rapid rate - unless the government comes up with some sort of graduate-debt-forgiveness scheme for those who choose to stay and continue to pay their taxes here.

Alice Cook said...

Can't HMG chase debt-evading students to the the ends of the earth for payment?

Stevie b. said...

They can chase.....if they can find - but I doubt most graduates would conveniently give HMG a forwarding address.

I think the debt is payable up to the age of 70, so once they've emigrated they need to realise that there's no (legitimate) way back