01The nature of migration to and from Preston
This section combines migration data from the ONS and the Census to look at migration to and from Preston by age and qualification.
Preston experienced a small net inflow of people
Between 2009 and 2015, 84,470 people moved into Preston from England and Wales and 83,320 moved out. As a result there was a net inflow of 1,150 people into the city. In comparison, Bournemouth experienced the largest net inflow of 15,100 people and London the largest net outflow of 340,300 people.
Much of this migration flow was between Preston and the rest of the North West – 65 per cent came from the North West and 60 per cent of those who moved out remained in the region. The result was a considerable net inflow from the rest of the North West between 2009 and 2015, as shown in Figure 1. While it saw a small net inflow from the West Midlands, it saw net outflows to all the other regions. The largest outflow was to London, followed by the South West.
On a city basis, Preston saw its largest net inflows from Manchester and Blackburn, accounting for 41 and 31 per cent of the net inflow from the North West. This highlights that the majority of migration took place between Preston and its neighbouring cities. There was also a large outflow to London and Blackpool (see Figure 2). This is in line with the regional picture: all the other cities in the North West, with the exception of Warrington, experienced an outflow to the capital.
Preston gains 16 to 21 and 31 to 45 year olds but loses people in all the other age groups
When broken down by age, the pattern of migration varied greatly. Figure 3 shows that 16 to 21 year olds dominated migration patterns: this age group accounted for 8 per cent of Preston’s population but 28 per cent of inward migration and 22 per cent of outward migration. Similarly, those aged 22 to 25 also played an important role in the migration flows. This age group accounted for 21 per cent of all outward migration but only 6 per cent of population. In comparison, 31 to 45 year olds accounted for 18 per cent of inward and outward migration and 19 per cent of population.
The result of these patterns was that Preston experienced a large net inflow of 16 to 21 year olds. For this age group, the net inflow was equal to 5,440. There was also a small inflow of 31 to 45 year olds. These are likely to be families as there was a similar inflow of 0 to 15 year olds. Countering this, the city saw a net outflow of 22 to 25 year olds and 26 to 30 year olds (see Figure 4).
Preston lost degree holders in younger age groups to the North West but it gained older ones from the rest of the region.
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 20 and 31 to 45 year olds, three distinct trends emerge.
Preston saw a net inflow of 16-21 year olds from all regions in England and Wales apart from the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and London. Of the 16 to 21 year olds moving to Preston, the majority had A-level qualifications.
Figure 5 shows the resulting net inflow of these young people. The largest net inflow of people with A-level qualifications occurred from the rest of the North West.
Overall, Preston lost more 22 to 30 year olds than it gained. Breaking this down by qualification shows that there was a large net outflow of degree holders. With the exception of Wales, Preston lost degree holders to all regions, with the largest net outflows to London and the rest of the North West. This suggests that while Preston is an attractive place to study, it is less so for degree holders looking for work. Interestingly, the city gained people with A-levels and lower qualifications and the largest net inflow for these two groups was from the rest of the North West.
The second wave of degree holders leaving Preston was of those aged 31 to 45. However, the geography of this net outflow was different from that of the younger age groups. Preston gained degree holders from the rest of the North West and this is different from most UK cities that tend to lose degree holders in this age group to the rest of the region in which they are located. Preston also gained degree holders from Wales, London and the East of England but it lost them to the other regions (see Figure 7).
Looking again at the wider migration data for 2009 and 2015, which allows us to look at the movement between local authorities in England and Wales, shows that the majority of these 31 to 45 year olds did not come from very far; on a net basis, West Lancashire was the authority that Preston gained most people from, followed by Hyndburn. This is the opposite of what we see in other UK cities, where older degree holders tend to move out of cities but remain within commutable distances.
Overall, Preston experienced a small net inflow to the city between 2009 and 2015. Breaking this down shows nuance to the overall picture:
- There was a large inflow of 16 to 21 year olds to 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 large net outflow of young people with a degree and this was driven by graduates moving to the rest of the North West and London.
- There was also a small net outflow of degree holders aged 31 to 45. Though some of these older graduates from the rest of the North West, London and Wales moved to Preston, this was offset by those moving to other regions.