02The nature of migration to and from Crawley
This section combines migration data from the ONS and the Census to look at migration to and from Crawley by age and qualification.
Most Migration was between Crawley and the rest of the South East
Between 2009 and 2015, 29,100 people moved into Crawley from the rest of England and Wales and 31,400 moved out. As a result there was a net outflow of 2,300 people from the city. In comparison, Bournemouth experienced the largest net inflow of all UK cities, equal to 15,100 people, and London experienced the largest net outflow of 340,300 people.
Much of this migration flow was between Crawley and the rest of the South East – 57 per cent of people moving into the city came from the South East and 62 per cent of those who moved out of Crawley remained in the region. The result was a considerable net outflow to the rest of the South East between 2009 and 2015, as shown in Figure 1. Beyond the South East, Crawley saw a net outflow to all other regions except London, from which Crawley saw a large net inflow.
On a city basis, Crawley saw its largest net outflows of people to Worthing and Brighton whereas the largest net inflow was from London. This highlights how the majority of migration took place between Crawley and its neighbouring cities (see Figure 2).
Crawley gained 22 to 30 year olds but lost people in all other age groups
The patterns of migration varied greatly when broken down by age. Figure 3 shows that:
- 16 to 21 year olds accounted for 9 per cent of inward migration, 14 per cent of outward migration but 6 per cent of the total population
- Inward migration to Crawley was more common than outward migration for 22 to 30 year olds
- 31 to 45 year olds accounted for the largest share of outward migration, 26 per cent, and also accounted for a large share of inward migration and population, 27 per cent and 24 per cent respectively
These patterns are very different to those seen in other small cities where inward migration is more common than outward migration for 16 to 21 year olds. In contrast, outward migration is more common than inward migration for 31 to 45 and 22 to 30 age groups.
Overall, all age groups experienced a net outflow from Crawley except 22 to 25, and 26 to 30 year olds, as shown in Figure 4. For these age groups, the net inflows were equal to 1,650 and 450, respectively. The largest net outflow was of 1,760 16 to 21 year olds.
Crawley loses young people with A–levels to all regions
While ONS data on migration does not give information on the qualifications of migrants, the 2011 Census provides us with this information for movers between 2010 and 2011. When the data is split into three age groups: 16 to 21, 22 to 30 and 31 to 45 year olds, three distinct trends emerge.
Crawley saw a net outflow of 16-21 year olds to all regions in England and Wales. This was dominated by people with A-level qualifications, who most likely were moving for university. Figure 5 shows the resulting net outflow of these young people. The largest net outflow of people with A-level qualification occurred to the rest of the South East, London and South West. Interestingly, there were inflows of people in this age group with lower level qualifications from London, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East.
Breaking the net inflow of 22-30 year olds by qualification shows that the majority of these were degree holders.
The city gained degree holders from most regions and the largest net inflow of degree holders was from the rest of the South East. It also gained 22 to 30 year olds with A-level or lower qualifications from the rest of the region. Interestingly there were also small net outflow of degree holders to London and the North West. As Crawley does not have a university campus this might suggest that degree holders use the city as a stepping stone for jobs elsewhere.
While there was a net outflow of 31 to 45 year olds to most regions, this was more than offset by the large net inflow from London. Focusing specifically on degree holders, Crawley lost people to all regions but gained degree holders from London. The city also gained 31 to 45 year olds with A- level or lower qualifications from the capital. This movement from London might have to do with the higher living costs in the capital and Crawley being an attractive place for young families.
Looking again at the wider migration data for 2009 and 2015, which allows us to look at the movement between local authorities, shows that the majority of the 31 to 45 year olds who left Crawley did not go very far. On a net basis, Mid Sussex was the local authority that Crawley lost most people to, followed by Horsham. This means that the movers remained within commutable distance to Crawley, even if they no longer lived there. The largest net inflow of older graduates to Crawley was from neighbouring Reigate and Banstead.
Overall, Crawley experienced a small net outflow of people from the city between 2009 and 2015. Breaking this down shows nuance to the overall picture:
- There was a large outflow of 16 to 21 year olds from the city. Many of these are likely to have been students going to university, which is explored in the next section.
- The city experienced a net inflow of young people with a degree and this was driven by graduates moving in from the rest of the South East.
- There was a net outflow of degree holders aged 31 to 45. Those graduates who left Crawley did not tend to move very far. Meanwhile this outflow was almost offset by a net inflow from London.