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5. Migration Assumptions, 2012-based National Population Projections This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 06 November 2013 Download PDF

Introduction

This report provides detailed information on the principal and variant migration assumptions used in the 2012-based national population projections. The new long-term assumption for net migration to the UK is +165,000 each year, compared with +200,000 per year in the 2010-based projections.

 

Migration Assumptions Data and Methodology

Revised Methodology

Following a methodology review carried out by the Economic and Social Research Council Centre for Population Change, the migration assumptions methodology has been streamlined and revised to take recent academic theory into account. More detail is available on these new methods.

International Migration

Assumptions of future international migration have been derived from modelling recent trends in civilian migration to and from the UK. Migrants are defined as individuals who change their country of usual residence for a period of at least a year, so that the country of destination becomes the country of usual residence.

International migration figures are derived from a number of sources. The principal source is the International Passenger Survey (IPS). Adjustments are made to account for people who enter or leave the country initially for a short stay but subsequently decide to remain for a year or more (‘visitor switchers’) and people who originally intend to be migrants but in reality stay in the UK or abroad for less than one year (‘migrant switchers’). Flows to and from the Republic of Ireland, taking into account the discontinuity in 2008 due to methodological changes, are included in the IPS flows.

The IPS also excludes most, but not all, people seeking asylum. Estimates of the flows of asylum seekers (and their dependants) not captured by the IPS are obtained from Home Office data.

Northern Ireland

From 2008, ONS migration estimates no longer use IPS data for Northern Ireland and instead use data from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). In order to obtain the longest possible continuous time series, Northern Ireland data back to 1992 are therefore obtained directly from NISRA.

EU Accession

In contrast to previous projections, migrants from EU8 and EU2 countries are modelled as part of the international flows, with the discontinuity encountered after EU accession in 2004 being accounted for during modelling where necessary.

Long-term Assumptions

Long-term assumption for the UK

The long-term international migration assumptions in the 2012-based projections take effect from the year ending mid-2019. 

The new long-term assumption for net migration to the UK is +165,000 each year compared with +200,000 a year in the previous projections. This decrease in net migration results from applying the new methods to the past data and including two more years of data up to mid-2012. The annual net migration figure of +165,000 is in line with the expectations of the expert advisory panel.

Long-term assumptions for individual countries 

The breakdown of the long-term net international migration assumption between the four countries within the UK is shown in Table 5-1. This table also shows the assumptions made about cross-border migration between the constituent countries of the UK which are derived from modelling trends in cross-border flows as estimated from the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR).

Table 5-1: Long-term annual net migration assumptions, United Kingdom and constituent countries, year ending mid-2019 onwards

2012-based 2010-based Difference
     
International net migration
England 150,000 188,000 -38,000
Wales  3,000 3,000 0
Scotland 12,000 9,000 3,000
Northern Ireland 0 0 0
United Kingdom 165,000 200,000 -35,000
Cross-border net migration
England -6,500 -15,500 9,000
Wales 3,000 7,000 -4,000
Scotland 3,500 8,500 -5,000
Northern Ireland 0 0 0
Total net migration
England 143,500 172,500 -29,000
Wales 6,000 10,000 -4,000
Scotland 15,500 17,500 -2,000
Northern Ireland 0 0 0
United Kingdom 165,000   200,000   -35,000

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Short-term Assumptions

Special assumptions have been applied for the first few years of the projections (mid-2013 to mid-2018). The breakdown of these assumptions is shown in Table 5-2. The short-term run-in has been formulated to represent a smooth transition from the last year of actual data to the long-term assumptions. The run-in also takes the following factors into account:

  1. The modelling output over the short term, although the difference from the long term is minimal in the 2012-based projections.

  2. A short term armed forces flow, which has been included to account for the planned return of home armed forces personnel and their dependants from Germany.

Table 5-2: Short-term annual net migration assumptions, United Kingdom and constituent countries, year ending mid-2013 onwards

Thousands
United Kingdom England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
 
Total net migration  
2012-13   164.5 145.1 6.9 13.4 -0.9
2013-14   165.5 145.8 6.7 13.7 -0.7
2014-15   164.5 144.4 6.6 14.1 -0.6
2015-16   183.5 163.1 6.4 14.4 -0.4
2016-17   171 150.2 6.3 14.8 -0.3
2017-18   174 152.9 6.1 15.1 -0.1
2018-19 onwards - long-term assumption   165 143.5 6 15.5 0
 
International migration assumption1  
2012-13   164.5 151.1 3.7 9.9 -0.2
2013-14   164.5 150.8 3.5 10.2 0
2014-15   164.5 150.5 3.4 10.6 0
2015-16   165 150.9 3.2 10.9 0
2016-17   165 150.6 3.1 11.3 0
2017-18   165 150.4 3 11.6 0
2018-19 onwards - long-term assumption   165 150 3 12 0
 
Cross border migration  
2012-13   0 -6 3.2 3.5 -0.7
2013-14   0 -6 3.2 3.5 -0.7
2014-15   0 -6.1 3.2 3.5 -0.6
2015-16   0 -6.3 3.2 3.5 -0.4
2016-17   0 -6.4 3.2 3.5 -0.3
2017-18   0 -6.5 3.1 3.5 -0.1
2018-19 onwards - long-term assumption   0 -6.5 3 3.5 0
 
Returning armed forces from Germany (including dependents)
2012-13   0 0 0 0 0
2013-14   1 1 0 0 0
2014-15   0 0 0 0 0
2015-16   18.5 18.5 0 0 0
2016-17   6 6 0 0 0
2017-18   9 9 0 0 0
2018-19 onwards - long-term assumption   0 0 0 0 0
                     

Table notes:

  1. International migration includes IPS flows with allowance for migrant and visitor switchers, asylum seekers and Republic of Ireland flows.

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Figure 5-1 shows total migration to the UK between 1993-94 and 2022-23.

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

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The equivalent figures for the constituent countries of the UK can be found in the relevant charts section.

Figure 5-2 shows the total net migration for the constituent countries of the UK between 1993-94 and 2022-23.

Figure 5-2: Total net migration, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-2: Total net migration, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

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Age and Sex Distribution

Table 5-3 and Figure 5-3 show assumed long-term annual net migration by age and sex for the UK from the year ending mid-2019 onwards. Equivalent information for in- and out-migration are given in tables 5-4 and 5-5 respectively. The cross border distributions are derived from smoothed historic distributions. Smoothing was considered for the international distributions but an average of five years’ population estimates components of change data was ultimately used.

Table 5-3: Assumed long-term annual net migration by age and sex, United Kingdom

Age group Persons Males Females
0 - 4 6.1 3.4 2.6
5 - 9 4.7 2.3 2.4
10 - 14 4.4 2.8 1.6
15 - 19 27.6 13.9 13.7
20 - 24 64.6 33.4 31.2
25 - 29 28.5 18.0 10.5
30 - 34 8.7 4.6 4.1
35 - 39 -0.6 -0.6 0.0
40 - 44 -3.1 -2.9 -0.2
45 - 49 1.1 1.0 0.1
50 - 54 0.3 -0.1 0.4
55 - 59 -1.2 -1.0 -0.1
60 - 64 0.1 -0.3 0.3
65 - 69 0.6 0.2 0.5
70 - 74 0.5 0.2 0.3
75 & over 1.2 0.8 0.3
All ages     143.5   75.7   67.8

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Table 5-4: Assumed annual long-term in-migration by age and sex, United Kingdom

Age group Persons Males Females
0 - 4 17.7 8.9 8.8
5 - 9 12.2 6.3 5.8
10 - 14 9.5 5.3 4.2
15 - 19 50.2 25.7 24.6
20 - 24 141.0 74.3 66.7
25 - 29 115.5 64.3 51.2
30 - 34 63.2 37.5 25.7
35 - 39 35.4 19.4 16.0
40 - 44 22.9 13.3 9.6
45 - 49 16.0 10.3 5.7
50 - 54 11.0 6.2 4.8
55 - 59 6.5 2.7 3.8
60 - 64 5.0 2.7 2.3
65 - 69 5.3 3.1 2.1
70 - 74 2.9 1.6 1.3
75 & over 1.8 0.7 1.1
All ages   516.0   282.3   233.7

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Table 5-5: Assumed annual long-term out-migration by age and sex, United Kingdom

Age group Persons Males Females
0 - 4 9.4 4.3 5.1
5 - 9 6.7 3.6 3.1
10 - 14 4.5 2.2 2.3
15 - 19 14.9 7.9 7.0
20 - 24 71.4 37.6 33.7
25 - 29 86.6 45.7 40.9
30 - 34 53.6 32.3 21.4
35 - 39 35.3 19.7 15.6
40 - 44 25.4 16.0 9.4
45 - 49 14.1 9.0 5.1
50 - 54 9.9 6.0 3.9
55 - 59 6.9 3.5 3.4
60 - 64 4.3 2.6 1.7
65 - 69 4.5 2.9 1.5
70 - 74 2.4 1.5 0.9
75 & over 1.1 0.4 0.7
All ages   351.0   195.2   155.8

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The equivalent tables for net, in- and out-migration for the constituent countries of the UK can be found in the excel download.

Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, United Kingdom, year ending mid-2019 onwards

Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, United Kingdom, year ending mid-2019 onwards

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The equivalent figures for the constituent countries of the UK can be found in the relevant charts section.

Assumptions for Migration Variants

Table 5-6 shows the assumed long-term annual net migration for the standard variants for the UK and its constituent countries.

Table 5-6: Assumed long-term annual net migration for the standard variants

  Standard variants     Special case scenario
High Principal Low Zero net migration (natural change only)
       
England +203,500 +143,500 +83,500 0
Wales  +10,500 +6,000 +1,500 0
Scotland +24,000 +15,500 +7,000 0
Northern Ireland +4,500 0 -4,500 0
United Kingdom +225,000   +165,000   +105,000     0

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In the standard variants, the long-term levels are assumed from the year ending mid-2019 onwards. The high and low migration variants are ‘non-additive’, that is, the UK assumptions in these variants are not equal to the sum of those in the corresponding variants for the four individual countries. More information can be found in the 2012-based national population projections background and methodology report, in the section, relationship of UK level projections to individual country level projections.

Figure 5-4 shows actual and assumed net migration to the UK between 1993-94 and 2022-23 by principal projection and high and low variants.

Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, United Kingdom, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

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The equivalent figures for the constituent countries of the UK can be found in the relevant chart section.

Background notes

  1. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Appendix A: England Charts

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, England, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, England, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

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Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, England, year ending mid-2019 onwards

Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, England, year ending mid-2019 onwards

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Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, England, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, England, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

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Appendix B: Wales Charts

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, Wales, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, Wales, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

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Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, Wales, year ending mid-2019 onwards

Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, Wales, year ending mid-2019 onwards

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Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, Wales, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, Wales, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

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Appendix C: Scotland Charts

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, Scotland, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, Scotland, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

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Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, Scotland, year ending mid-2019 onwards

Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, Scotland, year ending mid-2019 onwards

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Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, Scotland, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, Scotland, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

Download chart

 

Appendix D: Northern Ireland Charts

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-1: Total net migration, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

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Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-2019 onwards

Figure 5-3: Long-term annual net migration by age and sex, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-2019 onwards

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Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Figure 5-4: Estimated and assumed total net migration, Northern Ireland, year ending mid-1994 to year ending mid-2023

Notes:

  1. All migration data are displayed on a mid-year basis.
  2. Historic international migration figures for England, Scotland and Wales are primarily based on International Passenger Survey data and Northern Ireland figures are obtained directly from NISRA so aggregate totals may differ from published international migration data.

Download chart

 

Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
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