Settlement area migration in England and Wales: Assessing evidence for a social gradient

G. Catney*, Ludi Simpson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


This paper uses a commissioned table based on data from the 2001 Census of Population to explore differentials in migration by ethnic group and occupational class. Employing an area classification based on the minority ethnic population and international and internal migration history of districts in England and Wales, it is hypothesised that those most likely to migrate from 'immigrant settlement areas' are those with the greatest economic resources. It is suggested that if migration does vary by level of affluence, then a social gradient may be apparent with respect to migration propensity and occupational class membership. Furthermore, if such 'affluent flight' can explain 'racial' migration patterns, then a similar social gradient would be expected for each ethnic group, and a similar probability of migrating for people of common socio-demographic characteristics, irrespective of ethnic group. Three main questions relating to these themes were proposed, namely: Does a social gradient exist for the residential mobility of those who live in settlement areas of England and Wales? Is a social gradient associated with moves away from settlement areas and in particular towards other areas to which minorities have dispersed? Is the social gradient, such as it exists, similar for each ethnic group? Clear evidence is presented for a social gradient with respect to movement from settlement areas. It was found that for those who originated in settlement districts, the probability of moving was greater if in higher than lower occupational classes and this was consistent for all ethnic groups. In addition, migrants were more likely to move outside their own (settlement) district, and to a non-settlement district, if in professional forms of employment. Settlement areas in London were modelled separately, and London was shown to have a distinct pattern of migration. London professionals were less likely to move to a non-settlement district than those in less skilled employment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-584
Number of pages14
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2010


  • England and Wales
  • Ethnicity
  • Immigrant settlement areas
  • Logistic regression
  • Migration
  • Social class

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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