Is spatial mobility on the wane? An analysis using an innovative longitudinal approach

McCollum, D., Ernsten, A., Sabater, A., Findlay, A., Nightingale, G., Finney, N. & Feng, Z. (2017) RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2017, Royal Geographical Society, London, 29 August - 1 September 2017 [SLS]

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This paper engages with Fielding’s (2012) classic three layers of structure as determining factors in inter-regional levels of migration. On the one hand mobility responds to changes in the business cycle. On the other it is also a product of longer term ‘deep’ economic and cultural structural processes, such as economic restructuring and changing social norms. This research investigates these issues using an innovative longitudinal approach. The recent incorporation of postcode data from NHS Scotland into the Scottish Longitudinal Study, a 5.3% sample of the Scottish Census, presents researchers with the opportunity to investigate the characteristics of both moves and movers over a significant time period (2001-2015). The analysis finds that, overall Scottish internal migration rates have decreased between 2001 and 2015, especially since the 2008 period of economic downturn. This speaks to Fielding’s (2012) ideas about how internal migration responds to recessions, and also relates to Cooke (2011) and Champion and Shuttleworth’s (2016) claims about a deeper cultural shift towards secular rootedness. Our data however, allows us to paint a more detailed picture, finding for example that places classified as cosmopolitan are losing population to more rural areas.

Available online: Link
Output from project: 2016_003


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