Sunday, September 26, 2004

Goodbye England

Yet another report confirming what we all know - that educated Native Brits are getting out of England at a rate of knots. The projections showing the natives as a minority by 2100 look increasingly plausible. (This report stated that 43% of children in London schools were black or Asian. Given that [hyperbole]half of Central Europe now lives in the UK[/hyperbole], native Brit children must already be a minority in London).

The people leaving are middle class and educated. When my wife was organising a reunion for her Barts nursing trainees of 20 years ago, she found a quarter of them were living abroad, nearly all in the Antipodes or North America.

"Yet while most of the attention, regrettably or otherwise, has centred on immigration, the complementary emigration "problem" has been all but ignored. This is partly because, when you put the two together, Britain has more incomers than outgoers, and thus a net inflow of population. If everyone wants to come to the UK, we must be doing something right, surely? Yet this net inflow conceals a dramatic rise in the numbers of emigrants - and some significant changes in their make-up and destination.

In the early 1990s, incomers and outgoers were roughly in balance. Indeed, in 1992 and 1993 there was a net outflow of migrants. Since then, however, while the number of immigrants, using official figures, has nearly doubled, from 265,000 in 1993 to 513,000 in 2002, the number of emigrants has also increased, from 266,000 in 1993 to 359,000 in 2002. This last is the highest figure in the past two decades - and slightly higher per head of population than emigration from Ireland - and may well be the highest number ever.

Given that emigration is supposedly associated with economic failure and the government is forever telling us how successful Britain has become, this is something of a mystery - for the economically minded, at least. When you also note that, according to historical poll evidence, people are much keener to emigrate now than they were even during postwar rationing and the strife-torn 1970s, economic explanations start to falter."

London Juice (hat-tip for the NS item) has some answers.

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