This paper is prompted by the widespread acceptance that the rates of inter-county and inter-state migration have been falling in the USA and sets itself the task of examining whether this decline in migration intensities is also the case in the UK. It uses annual inter-area migration matrices available for England and Wales since the 1970s by broad age group. The main methodological challenge, arising from changes in the geography of health areas for which the inter-area flows are given, is addressed by adopting the lowest common denominator of 80 areas. Care is also taken to allow for the effect of economic cycles in producing short-term fluctuations on migration rates and to isolate the effect of a sharp rise in rates for 16-24 year olds in the 1990s, which is presumed to be related to the expansion of higher education. The findings suggest that, unlike for the USA, there has not been a substantial decline in the intensity of internal migration between the first two decades of the study period and the second two. If there has been any major decline in the intensity of address changing in England and Wales, it can only be for the within-area moves that this time series does not cover. This latter possibility is examined in a companion paper using a very different data set (Champion and Shuttleworth, 2016).
- internal migration; migration intensity; between-area moves; long-term trend; England and Wales