BBC History Magazine

The ins and outs of migration

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Immigratio­n and emigration have both been on the rise over the past few decades. Given that we now live in an age of full-blown globalisat­ion – when even the world’s most far-flung climes are nothing more than a flight away (or at least they were before %ovid-19 struck) – this is hardly a surprise.

This phenomenon is reflected in the statistics.

In the latter decades of the 20th century, the number of people emigrating – that is, on our definition­s, moving abroad for at least a year – was running between 200,000 and 300,000 a year. That figure has now risen to about 300,000–400,000.

In the 1960s and 1970s the number of people migrating to the 7- every year was generally slightly lower than those emigrating, so producing a downward effect on the overall population of the country. *owever, immigratio­n has grown more strongly than emigration in the last two or three decades, and in recent years has been running at about 600,000 a year. The last time there was net emigration was 1992.

It’s notable that, while work remains a major reason for both immigratio­n and emigration, the number of people coming to the 7- to study increased from fewer than 30,000 in 1977 to more than 220,000 in 2019, while the number of people going to study abroad barely increased.

As a result of these changes, the compositio­n of the population has become far more cosmopolit­an. In 1951, less than 5 per cent of the population of 'ngland and Wales had been born abroad; by 2011, this figure had risen to more than 13 per cent.

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 ??  ?? A Jamaican family arrive in England, c1950. Migration has since risen sharply in the wake of growing globalisat­ion
A Jamaican family arrive in England, c1950. Migration has since risen sharply in the wake of growing globalisat­ion

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