Through our briefing papers we aim to translate CPC research into a format which is relevant, convenient and useable for policy-makers and practitioners. You can download all of our briefing papers for free. If you would like a printed copy, please email email@example.com
International students make up nearly one in five of all students in UK Higher Education Institutions. Still, little is known about the drivers and impacts of student migration. Why do students choose the UK as their destination? What do they plan to do after they finish their studies? Do they want to stay or leave the UK after graduation and why? This policy brief provides and overview of a new survey of final-year international students carried out by a joint team at the ESRC Centre for Population Change, Office for National Statistics and Universities UK.
Migration is of great public and policy interest with much focus on how many migrants are entering the country. However, movement within the country is also of critical social and political importance. Low mobility by particular groups can indicate disadvantage. Understanding the different rates of internal movement by different ethnic groups can help us to improve social cohesion and target services to reduce poverty.
Counting the number of birthdays a person has experienced from birth until a certain point in time i.e. chronological age, is a crude measure of ageing. Individuals with the same chronological age and health, may have different perceptions of ageing. We use a unique dataset, representative of the Italian population aged 65-74, to explore the factors associated with the perception of feeling old.
Italy and Spain are two low fertility countries with similar welfare systems and, prior to the economic crisis of 2008, similar fertility trajectories. Since 2008 both have experienced decreases in fertility but the decline has been more dramatic in Spain. By ‘decomposing’ national fertility rates to examine both fertility change among population groups and changes in the composition of these groups, we reveal why fertility has declined more in Spain than in Italy.
What might EU migrants in the UK do in order to cope if the UK leaves the EU? Might they stay or go? Using data from an online survey we find out what the three largest EU nationality groups (Portuguese, Polish and Romanian) in the UK have to say. These three groups represent three different EU enlargement waves, with Portugal having joined the European Union in 1986, Poland in 2004 and Romania in 2007.
Moreh, C., McGhee, D. and Vlachantoni, A. (2016) Should I stay or should I go? Strategies of EU citizens living in the UK in the context of the EU referendum. CPC Briefing Paper 35, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
Welfare support for European Union migrants to the UK has often been presented as a “burden”. However, evidence that migrants are strongly work-focussed suggests greater attention should be given to the welfare state’s social investment role. This briefing investigates the degree to which the UK’s welfare state helps EU migrants enhance their economic activity. How have policy changes post-2014 affected this situation? What would happen if the UK left the EU?
Bridgen, P., Meyer, T. and Moran, J. (2016) Expense turns to investment: How the welfare state supports EU migrants’ economic achievements. CPC Briefing Paper 34, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
Who are EU migrants living in England and Wales? Should the UK decide to leave the EU in the forthcoming referendum, the impact of social policies on the rights and responsibilities of non-UK European nationals living in the UK could be significant and will vary according to age, employment and family circumstances. This paper sheds light on the characteristics of migrants and informs the discussion of the economic and social policy implications of the referendum decision.
Historically, the married have had better well-being outcomes than the unmarried. The decline in marriage and increase in cohabitation raises questions about whether marriage still provides these benefits. Do partnerships in general, and marriage in particular, provide benefits to mental wellbeing among the middle aged in the UK today? Do differences in well-being by partnership hold when childhood characteristics are taken into account?
What sort of housing moves are older adults making? And are they more likely to upsize or downsize? In what circumstances do older people downsize? Can we rely on the older generation moving out of bigger family homes to release the housing stock for younger families and relieve Scotland’s housing crisis? This study investigates the influence of household changes on the residential moves of older adults in Scotland. It compares the 1990s and the 2000s, and examines the moves of those aged 55 to 69 at the beginning of each decade.
How does women’s education influence whether they have children or not, how old they are when they have their first child and how many children they go on to have? How has this changed over time for mothers born between 1940 and 1969? This research finds that educational differences in childbearing have increased over time.
Migration is a global phenomenon, and the United Kingdom (UK) is an important country of destination, as well as of origin, for many migrants. In recent years, migration has become an important topic in the UK policy debate. Having accurate knowledge of actual and predicted migration flows can be very useful for the planning and implementation of new policy tools and instruments, so what is the best way to forecast international migration?
There are currently 435,000 international students1 studying in UK Universities. This paper investigates the forces driving student mobility and the relationship between student migration and future mobility plans. The research, based on a survey of over 3000 international students and interviews with senior staff in International Offices at ten UK Universities confirms the importance of understanding international student mobility as part of wider mobility trajectories.
Packwood, H., Findlay, A. and McCollum, D. (2015) International study for an international career: A survey of the motivations and aspirations of international students in the UK. CPC Briefing Paper 27, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
Young adults in Scotland, as elsewhere in the UK, are now experiencing greater difficulties getting onto the property ladder than they did in the 1990s. This study examines the characteristics and family background of those who left the parental home and became homeowners between 2001 and 2011. It then compares their experiences with the experiences of young adults in the previous decade. The findings indicate that the advantage associated with higher education has increased but so has the influence of family background, whereas securing professional employment is less of an advantage for getting onto the property than it was in the past. Thus there is a risk of inherited inequalities becoming entrenched and further reducing the social mobility of young adults in the future.
Graham, E., Fiori, F. and Feng, Z. (2015) Who gets on to the property ladder in Scotland? Changing transitions to home ownership among young adults over two decades. CPC Briefing Paper 26, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
Improved evidence on the living arrangements of older people is crucial for unravelling the complex interplay between living arrangements, health status and the provision and receipt of informal care. Such evidence is also critical for informing the design of policies and local interventions aimed at safeguarding and improving older people’s wellbeing. This Briefing Paper contributes to our understanding of the living arrangements of older people of Indian heritage living in the UK, comparing their circumstances to those of older people from the White majority population as well as older people living in India.
Evandrou, M., Falkingham, J., Feng, Z., James, K.S., Vlachantoni, A. (2015) Midway between Manchester and Mumbai: the living arrangements of older Indians living in the UK. CPC Briefing Paper 25, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
Across Europe, an increasing number of couples live together without being married and many raise children together. By analyzing data from the European Social Survey (ESS) and a self-constructed policy database, we compare the proportion of men and women who cohabit in twelve countries and their rights in different policy areas. This allows us to estimate the proportion of couples who are currently covered or fall outside the scope of family policies in their country.
Sanchez Gassen, N. and Perelli-Harris, B. (2015) The increase in cohabitation and the role of marital status in family policies: a comparison of 12 European countries. CPC Briefing Paper 24, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
Recent media attention has focused on the increased numbers of adult children co-residing with their parent(s). It is generally assumed that this trend relates to increased economic uncertainty among young adults, combined with the challenges of affordability in the housing market. In this paper, using data from the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study, we investigate whether the evidence supports the assertion that those in an economically precarious position were more likely to remain living with a parent during the recent recession. The research in this briefing paper summarises findings from CPC Working Paper 55.
What are the key aspects of economic precariousness and which are most relevant to analysing young people’s lives? In this study we use data from the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) to identify the proportion of men and women aged 18-34 who might be considered to be in an economically precarious situation and investigate how the dimensions of precariousness are interrelated. This paper summarises findings from the CPC Working Paper 55.
This paper presents an overview of teenagers’ aspirations for higher levels of education during the recent economic recession. We analyse the responses of 4899 young people aged 10 to 15, who participated in the UK Household Longitudinal Study in 2009-10. The timing of the survey is especially significant given the political emphasis on raising aspirations as a means to stimulate the economy. We consider the impact of gender, parental occupational class, parental educational background, family structure and parental attitudes towards education upon teenagers’ educational aspirations, and use multiple regression analyses to consider whether their effects are consistent across ethnic groups. Until now, only limited nationally representative data on young people’s aspirations have been available, especially in respect of ethnic differences. This research aims to fill that gap. It was undertaken as part of a wider study into the aspirations for living and learning among young people in the UK.
Roberts, S., Berrington, A. and Tammes, P. (2014) Educational aspirations among UK young teenagers: exploring the role of gender,class and ethnicity. CPC Briefing Paper 21, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
Polish migrants are the largest non-UK born population in Scotland (56,000 in 2012). As EU citizens who are resident in Scotland, they are eligible to vote in the 18 September 2014 referendum on Scottish independence. Using a survey of 245 Polish migrants in Scotland we investigate their level of engagement with the Scottish referendum asking; do Polish migrants vote and where (Poland and/or UK)? Will they take part in the referendum? Will the outcome of the referendum have an impact on their migration or settlement plans in Scotland?
Pietka-Nykaza, E. and McGhee, D. (2014) Polish migrants in Scotland: voting behaviours and engagement in the Scottish independence referendum. CPC Briefing Paper 20, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
This paper focuses on how policies and practices relating to immigration are developed at the local level. It explores how Local Authorities in Scotland plan for and respond to international migration. The Scottish Government has made it clear that it is keen to attract migrants to Scotland and that it would be more proactive in this if it had the relevant policy levers. However it is Local Authorities that need to respond to inflows of migrants in terms of issues such as service provision or community cohesion. This research was carried out as part of the ESRC Future of UK and Scotland programme and focussed on 16 Local Authority areas, ranging from cities to remote regions. It raises questions about how the cognent arguments of local policy makers can be represented in national debates about immigration policy.
Packwood, H., Findlay, A. and McCollum, D. (2014) Engaging with immigration policy on the ground: A study of local authorities in Scotland. CPC Briefing Paper 19, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
Many people think of international migration as a one-way move, whilst in reality many immigrants only move overseas temporarily. An important question is: Who leaves and who stays? For example, is it the successful immigrants who leave whilst the unsuccessful ones, who might be relying on the generosity of the welfare state in the host country, stay? And if so, who leaves faster: the successful immigrants or the unsuccessful ones?
The outcome of the 2014 Scottish referendum on the constitutional future of the United Kingdom (UK) may have noticeable impact on future migration to and from Scotland. This briefing addresses some of the issues that are currently being investigated by the ESRC Centre for Population Change, examining the possible effects of Scottish independence on internal and international migration. In particular, it presents selected results of an expert survey on future migration trends carried out amongst the members of the academic community and civil service in Scotland, which have been used to inform forecasts of migration into and out of Scotland, especially with regard to their uncertainty.
Migration to and from Scotland could potentially be affected by the outcome of the 2014 Scottish referendum on the constitutional future of the United Kingdom. The likelihood and extent of changes in migration have not been thoroughly analysed to date. This briefing paper presents selected outcomes of the analyses carried out by the ESRC Centre for Population Change on the possible effects of Scottish independence on internal and international migration. In particular, it aims to describe the uncertainty of future migration taking into account most of the available information. This includes the available historical data on migration, as well as opinions from academic and civil service experts in Scotland on future migration trends.
This briefing paper examines Scottish employers’ and industry representatives’ views on current UK immigration policies, and situates these perspectives within the context of the constitutional change debate. The research is based on an online survey of more than 700 Scottish employers, supplemented with 20 in-depth interviews. The survey revealed that employers overwhelmingly perceived unrestricted migration for EU citizens as positive for Scottish business, and Scotland more broadly. Employers are concerned that Scottish independence, or the UK changing its relationship with the EU, may interrupt the freedom of EU citizens to live and work in Scotland. Conversely, some employers viewed the current Points-Based System (PBS), which regulates non-EU migration, as restrictive and failing to meet their business needs. They saw the constitutional change debate as presenting an opportunity to lobby the UK and Scottish Governments for a more nuanced immigration policy that better meets their needs; whether or not Scotland remains a part of the UK.
This research uses the 2011 UK Census to explore the diverse immigration picture in the UK. In contrast to a simplistic comparison between England and Scotland, this briefing paper suggests that a more pertinent approach is to consider how Scotland compares with English regions. The authors provide evidence which argues that Scotland, and indeed other parts of the UK, would benefit from a more nuanced approach to immigration policy.
Packwood, H. and Findlay, A. (2014) Immigration, Scotland and the constitutional change debate: Geography, difference and the question of scale. CPC Briefing Paper 14, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
In Scotland the share of students attending Scottish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) who come from countries outside of the UK is higher than for the UK as a whole. Over the last decade, the number of students at Scottish HEIs from other member states of the European Union (EU students) and from countries outside of the European Union (international students) has grown considerably. The tuition fees paid by such students have become a significant source of income for most Scottish HEIs. Therefore, any change to UK immigration rules, regardless of the outcome of the current debate on constitutional change, would likely have more of an impact on Scottish HEIs compared to HEIs in other parts of the UK.
Geographical variations in fertility rates have been noted within several European countries, including Britain. Lower rates of those having children are seen in the centres of large cities, while there are pockets of relatively high fertility in the surrounding peri-urban fringes. Some, but not all, of this variation can be explained by the composition of the population living in particular areas. So what other factors are at play? The research summarised here argues that local variations in fertility rates will influence an individual’s fertility behaviour through social learning, resulting in local ‘cultures’ of fertility. Findings suggest that individual reproductive life paths respond to a variety of social influences: networks of family and friends, local socio-cultural influences and more widely-shared ideas about the spacing between births. These influences vary depending on the number of children a woman already has but tend to reinforce local geographical variations in fertility rates.
The most prominent change in childbearing in developed societies in the last few decades is that women are having their first child at a later average age. This briefing paper provides a summary explanation for this widespread but poorly understood demographic trend. The change in the timing of motherhood has been due mainly to a longer time spent in education, but also to life course delays after the end of education. The age at which people complete their education is crucial to the demographic analysis of events in young adulthood. The findings highlight the key role played by structural, as distinct from cultural, factors in the timetable of fertility and family life over the past several decades in developed societies. They also identify educational participation as a potentially useful predictor in forecasting fertility.
The forthcoming referendum on the constitutional future of Scotland has inevitably been the focus of considerable public debate. The issue of migration has not featured strongly in these discussions. However there are grounds for believing that Scotland is ‘different’ from the rest of the UK in terms of migration patterns and in relation to public attitudes towards immigration. This briefing introduces some of the issues that are being addressed by an ESRC Centre for Population Change study investigating how migration in Scotland is different from the rest of the UK and how Scottish independence from the UK might affect migration. The results show that migration is a stronger determinant of future population change in Scotland than the rest of the UK and the general public in Scotland has a more tolerant view of migration than elsewhere in the UK.
McCollum, D., Findlay, A., Bell, D. & Bijak, J. (2013) Patterns and perceptions of migration, is Scotland distinct from the rest of the UK? CPC Briefing Paper 10, ESRC Centre for Population Change, UK.
It is often assumed that the pathway from home to university and onwards to the labour market is a linear upward trajectory, ultimately resulting in improved opportunities and social betterment. This briefing paper summarises research tracing the lives of graduates across the five year period after leaving university, revealing that their migration pathways are often complex, non-linear and precarious. During this prolonged period of instability the parental home (and parental support more generally) provides a crucial safety net, potentially placing additional burden on mid-life parents who may also have care responsibilities to the older parent generation. The implications of these findings for adult social care, young adult welfare and regional economic development policy are considered.
Economic recession can modify fertility behaviour, albeit disproportionately among particular groups. At a societal level, the overall impact of recession on fertility is typically short-term but, for individuals, impact varies by socio-economic and demographic characteristics, with young childless people most affected (Sobotka, Skirbekk, Philipov 2011). Economic insecurities modify fertility behaviour by contributing to delay in coresident partnership and becoming parents. While the consequences of the ups and downs of economies have been traced for decades, twenty-first century sources of uncertainty and future threats with a global reach, such as climate change and the discourse around terrorism, are not amenable to study in this way. Interviews with young people can, however, explore whether these issues intrude into current experiences of uncertainty and imagined futures.
More young adults in the UK now remain in the parental home, or live independently outside a family. This research, published in Demographic Research, examines for the period 1998-2008, the extent to which these trends are explained by increased immigration of foreign-born young adults, expansion in higher education and increased economic insecurity faced by young adults. The findings suggest that shared non-family living is particularly prominent among those with experience of higher education whilst labour market uncertainty is associated with an extended period of co-residence with parents.
What role do family and friends play in the housing pathways of single young adults? What forms of support are provided by parents and other relatives in helping young adults to achieve residential independence? How do they feel about receiving financial and material support? And what role do friends play in the housing pathways of young adults today? To answer these and other questions we use a qualitative study of the housing pathways of young adults aged 25 to 34, who either live alone or in shared households and who are not currently living with a partner.
How has the volume of in-migration to the UK from East and Central Europe changed since the onset of the recession? To what extent has the change in demand for migrant labour been spatially and sectorally uneven? What do these trends say about the function served by recent East and Central European migrants working in the UK labour market? This briefing paper summarises the findings contained in an article recently published in Population Trends number 145 (Autumn 2011) which explores the effects of the recession on East and Central European migration to the UK.
Using a recently proposed measure; the overall replacement ratio or ORR, we assess the extent to which migration alters intergenerational replacement within the United Kingdom. The UK as a whole can be seen to experience “replacement migration” as immigration compensates for fertility below the replacement level. However, we find the impact of migration differs radically in the different regions of the country. South East England experiences very substantially immigration from both the rest of the UK and overseas, far more than is needed for intergenerational replacement, whereas most of the rest of the UK sees little or no net immigration and the ORR remains below the replacement level. This briefing summarises research published in Population Trends no. 145.
Recent spending cuts in the area of adult social care raise policy concerns about the proportion of older people whose need for social care is not met. Such concerns are emphasised in the context of population ageing and other demographic changes. This briefing summarises research published in Population Trends no. 145 which explores the concept of ‘unmet need’ for Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), using data on the receipt of support (informal, state or privately paid for). The results show that each of the three different support sectors tend to provide help for different kinds of need, and that worryingly, there is a significant level of ‘unmet need’ for certain activities.
Changing living arrangements in mid-life reflect historical changes in the occurrence and timing of life events such as marriage and parenthood as well as increases in life expectancy. This briefing summarises research, published in Population Trends No. 145, which investigates changes over time in the presence of kin and living arrangements across the life course and the changing demographics of those in mid-life. The work shows how the marital status, educational level, activity status and housing tenure of those aged 45-64 in Britain have changed over the past quarter century.
To what extent does unemployment affect the decisions of migrants to return to their home country? Does unemployment lead immigrants to departure? Does re-employment increase the chance of immigrants to stay? How does the effect vary by the duration of unemployment and re-employment spell? This briefing summarises the effects of labour market dynamics on return migration from the Netherlands published in NORFACE MIGRATION Discussion Paper No. 2011-7.