Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The 50-plus migration from the UK

I have already written about the big question mark hanging over data produced by the UK’s Office of National Statistics. So these numbers should be read with that in mind.

It looks as if a lot of the UK’s middle class is deciding enough is enough and migrating.

The Sunday Times analysed the figures from the Office for National Statistics and found that 574,000 people moved to Britain in the year to July, far outnumbering the 389,000 who left.

What is interesting is the location of where the people lived who decided to leave. Dorset (an English country) is most affected, with four of its local authorities in the top 10 of net-migrators. Christchurch has lost nearly 3% of its 45,000 population because of overseas emigration - this is town with the oldest population in the UK.

“We appear to be seeing middle England bailing out,” said David Coleman, professor of demography at Oxford University. “One simple answer would be that this is fiftysomethings selling up and moving to Spain to retire, but there would also be younger couples moving abroad to work.”

The Institute for Public Policy Research estimated last year that 5.5m Britons were living abroad and that a further 1m would leave the UK by 2011. Australia, Spain and America were the top three destinations. Looks as if the UK is haemorrhaging its middle class, many of whom are 50-plus. Dick Stroud

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