Research Programme

Economic change and internal population dynamics: an innovative study of new residential mobilities in Scotland

David McCollum, Albert Sabater, Zhiqiang FengNissa Finney, Allan Findlay, Annemarie Ernsten, Glenna Nightingale

This project is funded by ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative.


Project summary

This project aims to advance academic and policy understandings of how the recent period of economic recession and uncertainty has affected patterns and processes of residential mobility within Scotland. Mobility practices have implications for policy since the population size and composition of places impacts on issues such as economic competitiveness, service provision and resource allocation. Additionally, the factors that act against people moving in the face of economic ‘push’ or ‘pull’ factors has long been a concern of policymakers. Despite being an important policy issue, surprisingly little is known about the dynamics of internal migration. This research will investigate how population sub-groups and particular types of places have behaved over the course of the economic downturn in terms of mobility patterns. This will be achieved through an innovative analytical approach that utilises the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS), a dataset that links the NHS Central Register (NHSCR) and census data to, for the first time, generate insights into contemporary trends in residential mobility.


The project will;

1: Profile the mobility characteristics of population sub-groups and geodemographic areas and use this information to develop migration propensities and a classification of residential mobilities within Scotland.

2: Assess the significance of place characteristics and (im)mobility behaviours relative to individual attributes in determining occupational outcomes.

3: Examine whether the recession has produced new residential mobility patterns and whether different types of migrants have behaved differently, in terms of mobility, in the recession.

4: Evaluate the value of NHSCR data through comparison with census based estimates of population changes.

The project provides important information to policymakers concerned with a geographic matching of workers with jobs and of communities with appropriate public services. It is also of value to scholars interested in linking patterns in residential mobilities over the recession with contemporary labour and housing market trends. 


Project activities

Date Activity Description
21 June 2017 Presentation at the BSPS/NRS organised event "Folks' comings and goings - changes in Scotland's population over time" held in Edinburgh. David McCollum presented the paper "Patterns of residential mobility within Scotland using health admin data linked with the Scottish Longitudinal Study" at the event.
31 August - 3rd September 2016 Poster presentation at the EPC 2016 conference in Mainz, Germany. Poster titled "The Spatialities of Ageing in Britain: Is Residential Age Segregation increasing?" was presented by Albert Sabater and Elspeth Graham at the event.




Click on the link to browse all CPC publications.


Media activities

You can browse all CPC media outputs and population-related articles from CPC members on our! page.