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News: Desperately seeking the South-West

The South West has recorded the largest net gain from internal migration of any of the UK's 12 regions over the past ten years...

Over 300,000 more people have moved to the South West from elsewhere in the UK than have left to live in another region, boosting the region's population by 6%.

Overall, the South East was the most popular destination for people to move to with 2.25 million arrivals from elsewhere in the UK between 1996 and 2005.

At the same time, 2.09 million people moved from the South East to other regions.  As a result, the South East experienced a net gain from internal migration of 160,000; little more than half the gain in the South West.

The North East saw the largest overall population decline between 1996 and 2005 with a 25,000 drop.  All the other regions in the UK, except Scotland, recorded a rise in population over the period with the UK's total population increasing by more than two million.

Scotland 'very popular'

Despite a 9,000 fall in its total population, 53,000 more people moved to Scotland from elsewhere in the UK than left to live in other parts of the country over the decade.  This placed Scotland amongst the six regions that saw more people move to it from elsewhere in the UK than left to live in another region.

Whilst London's total population increased by over 600,000 between 1996 and 2005, almost 2.4 million left the capital to live elsewhere in the UK.  These leavers were outweighed by a combination of 1.6 million people arriving in London from elsewhere in the UK, 900,000 more arriving from overseas than moving overseas, and the number of babies born exceeding the number of deaths in London by 500,000.

Population changes are an important driver of housing demand.  The significant net gain from internal migration has been a key factor behind the rapid rise in house prices in the South West over the last 10 years.  The average price in the South West has increased by 202% during this period – a rise that is surpassed in only London and Northern Ireland.

London's substantial increase in overall population, particularly due to its attractiveness amongst international migrants, has been a significant factor behind the 218% rise in average residential property prices in the capital since 1996; the highest increase for any region.

Tim Crawford, Halifax group economist, said, "There have been significant population shifts across the UK over the past decade.  The South West has proved to be a particularly popular area for people to move to from elsewhere in the UK.  The high numbers of people moving to the South West have been a key factor contributing to the rapid rise in house prices in the region during the last ten years."

Interregional migration to and from regions of the UK, 1996 – 2005

Destination

Immigration (Inter-regional)
000s

Emigration (Inter-regional)
000s

Net internal migration
000s

Immigration (as % of population)

Emigration (as % of population)

% Net population change

North East

399,636

422,376

-22,740

16%

17%

-1%

North West

1,058,345

1,103,373

-45,028

15%

16%

-1%

Yorkshire & Humber

955,747

957,050

-1,303

19%

19%

0%

East Midlands

1,108,362

962,541

145,821

26%

22%

3%

West Midlands

942,552

1,013,996

-71,444

18%

19%

-1%

East

1,446,965

1,257,530

189,435

26%

23%

3%

London

1,611,409

2,385,589

-774,180

21%

32%

-10%

South East

2,249,151

2,088,640

160,511

28%

26%

2%

South West

1,406,159

1,099,531

306,628

28%

22%

6%

Wales

590,248

515,674

74,574

20%

17%

3%

Scotland

539,645

486,484

53,161

11%

10%

1%

Northern Ireland

102,178

117,913

-15,735

6%

7%

-1%

 Source: ONS

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