Migration in Southampton
Since 2004, high levels of economic migration from Eastern Europe into Southampton has contributed to the development and sustainability of many business activities, thereby bringing in greater richness and diversity to city life. In addition, strong community relations over many decades have contributed to maintaining cohesiveness in the city.
The levels of migration in an area are a contributory factor in residential population change and understanding these changes helps professionals plan future services for the city’s residents. There is no single system to record population movements within the UK, so migration has to be estimated based on a range of administrative data. The primary source of information on migration comes from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), who produce estimates of internal migration based on data from the NHS Personal Demographic Service and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and estimates of international migration based on data from surveys such as the International Passenger Survey (IPS) and Labour Force Survey (LFS).
The international migration figures produced by the Office for National statistics (ONS) for long-term international migration show that between June 2017 and June 2018 Southampton had more international incomers than leavers (5,913 compared to 3,755). The net international migration for this period was 2,158 people or 8.5 people per 1,000 population, compared to the England average of 4.5 people per 1,000 population. Long-term international migration is defined as a person moving to a country other than that of his or her usual residence for a period of at least a year (12 months), so that the country of destination effectively becomes his or her new country of usual residence.
In contrast, short-term international is defined the UN as a person who moves to a country other than that of his or her usual residence for a period of at least three months but less than a year (twelve months), except in cases where the movement to that country is for purposes of recreation, holiday, visits to friends and relatives, business, medical treatment or religious pilgrimage. Between 2016 and 2017, 1,710 people came to Southampton of which, 1,098 (64%) came to study and 613 (36%) came to work. Those people studying includes migrants visiting in order to attend formal study courses, including further education and higher education, whilst those people coming for employment purposes are defined as migrants going to a definite new job, including au pair work, and those seeking a job, but excludes those visiting on business for their existing employer.
Net international migration to both the UK and Southampton has been continually positive since 1994, contributing to population growth. However, there are some signs that international migration is slowing over the last few years following a period of growth. From a peak of 14.3 people per 1,000 population in 2015, NET long-term international migration fell to 7.3 people per 1,000 population in 2017 in Southampton. Nationally, this is partly due to a fall in EU long-term immigration, which is now at its lowest since 2013. In contrast, Non-EU long-term immigration has gradually increased over the last five years to similar levels seen in 2011. Since 2016, overall long-term immigration to the UK for work has continued to decrease and looking at all available data sources, this has mainly been due to the fall in EU immigration to the UK for work (ONS, 2019).
Figures on internal migration between areas in the United Kingdom, up to the end of June 2018, shows that more people have left Southampton than have arrived. Just over 17,700 people arrived in the city and just over 20,500 left the city since 2017, giving a net migration of -2,811 or -11.1 people per 1,000 population. Southampton is not alone in having net negative internal migration, with 140 local authorities in England having more people moving out than in, many of which are in London. The Office of National Statistics suggest that an important part of the explanation for this is that many parents with young children move out of London. London is also the most common region of first residence for international migrants to the UK and some of these may later move to other regions, potentially also with children. Although this applies to London, similar factors may also contribute to the high net outflows from many provincial cities such as Southampton (ONS, 2019).
Unsurprisingly, areas with the largest internal migration to and from Southampton are neighbouring authorities. In particular, there is a close relationship with Eastleigh with 1,429 people migrating into the city from Eastleigh between 2017 and 2018 and 2,516 moving from Southampton to Eastleigh. This is a net migration of -1087 people to Eastleigh or -8.2 people per 1,000 population. Much of the net positive internal migration into Southampton over the same period comes from London boroughs, the largest of which is from Hillingdon (22 people). The chart below illustrates the top 25 areas with migration to and from Southampton. In addition, the Office for National Statistics have produced an interactive map to visualise internal migration patterns between local authority areas.