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Demographic changes in the UK, Part 2

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1 Demographic changes in the UK, Part 2
Migration Joan Garrod Philip Allan Publishers © 2015

2 What is migration? Migration refers to the flow of people in and out of a country, usually measured in thousands per year. Migration can also be measured in and out of a particular region. Immigration refers to people coming into a country to live and work. Emigration refers to those leaving a country. The difference between these two figures is known as net migration. In the UK for the year ending December 2014, the figures were as follows: Immigration 641,000 Emigration 323,000 Net migration 318,000 Philip Allan Publishers © 2015

3 Who are the migrants? Polish people are a significant group, both as immigrants and emigrants. Many Poles come to the UK to work, as even a poorly paid job in the UK pays more than most Poles can earn at home. Many stay for only a limited period and then return to Poland, becoming emigrants. Poles represent the second-largest group of foreign-born nationals living in the UK. However, when measuring immigrants by country of birth rather than nationality, the Indian community remains the largest. This is because of the large number of Indians who take British nationality. The most common countries of birth of foreign-born residents in the UK are India, Poland, Ireland and Pakistan. UK-born people also figure among the immigrants, as those who have left to live or work abroad return home. Philip Allan Publishers © 2015

4 Why do people migrate? Reasons for migration are usually divided into ‘push’ or ‘pull’ factors: As the name implies, ‘push’ factors are those that persuade people to leave their homeland. Similarly, ‘pull’ factors are those features of the country of destination that attract migrants. Discussion point: Identify as many ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors as you can that would help to explain why people might migrate to the UK. Remember that you will be talking about different groups of immigrants. Philip Allan Publishers © 2015

5 Push and pull factors Push factors Pull factors Lack of work
Job opportunities Overpopulation Education Religious persecution Religious freedom Lack of political rights Democratic rights Conflict Personal safety Famine Health care Natural disasters Family ties Philip Allan Publishers © 2015

6 Why do people come to the UK?
Work: In 2013, foreign-born workers made up just over 9% of those in work. The growth was fastest in relatively low-skilled occupations. Study: A large number of foreign-born young people come to the UK to study, but their stay is usually temporary. About 18% of all students in higher education come from abroad, the largest proportion (almost 20%) from China. Joining a family member: The rules governing this have been significantly tightened. Any proposed dependents must have an intermediate level of English and pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test. Asylum: Asylum-seekers represent only a very small proportion of immigrants. Around two-thirds of applications are rejected. Opinion polls repeatedly show that respondents considerably overestimate the number of asylum-seekers in the population. Question: Why might people overestimate the numbers in this way? Philip Allan Publishers © 2015

7 Attitudes towards immigration
Immigration is a very important political issue in the UK, regularly featuring as one of the main concerns of voters. Opponents of immigration tend to hold negative perceptions of the impact of immigrants on British jobs, crime rates, welfare, public services and culture. Question: Which political party in the 2015 general election gained much support because of its stance on this issue? Research has shown that people tend to be less hostile towards immigration if they know and mix with people from an ethnic minority group. Attitudes towards immigration vary by age and social class, with younger people and those from the higher social classes showing less hostility and concern than older people and those from the working class. Question: What explanations might there be for this? Philip Allan Publishers © 2015

8 Explanations of attitudes towards immigration
Three types of explanation have been extensively researched: Contact theory: More positive attitudes are found where there is sustained and positive contact with members of other ethnic, religious or national groups. Group conflict theory: Where immigrants appear to threaten the interests, identity or status of a particular group, those who feel this sense of threat are more likely to oppose immigration. Economic competition theories: Opposition to immigration is likely to come from: (a) native workers competing for jobs with immigrant workers who have similar skills (b) native tax-payers who consider that there is a financial burden on them when immigrants use public services such as schools and hospitals Philip Allan Publishers © 2015

9 Demographic impact of migration
Populations are likely to grow if: there is a high proportion of younger immigrants, especially females of child-bearing age fertility rates in the country of origin are higher than those in the host country Both of these factors occur in current UK immigration patterns. It is estimated that if current migration trends continue, the cumulative effect of post-2012 immigrants will account for 43% of the total UK population increase until 2037. Populations are likely to shrink if large numbers of younger people emigrate, without a corresponding rise in immigration. This happened in Ireland after the Great Famine of the 1840s, where the population shrank continuously for a century afterwards. In 1911 there were only half as many people in Ireland as in 1841, with more than half of this decline attributable to emigration. Greece is currently experiencing a similar problem, with large numbers of young people emigrating and very few immigrants arriving to take their place. Philip Allan Publishers © 2015

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