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Keywords:

  • life course;
  • urban to rural migration;
  • Northern Ireland;
  • Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS)

ABSTRACT

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE
  5. DATA AND METHODS
  6. FINDINGS
  7. A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS
  8. CONCLUSIONS
  9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  10. REFERENCES

The relationship between migration and age has long been established, and most recently, there have been calls for the inclusion of a life course perspective to migration research. In this paper, we explore Northern Ireland's internal migration patterns, and in particular, we test for the importance of urban to rural migration at different stages of the life course. Data from the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study are used for the first time to analyse urban–rural migration patterns. The resulting modelling demonstrates unique aspects of urban to rural migration within Northern Ireland, which up until now have gone largely unreported.

Results from logistic regression modelling suggest that there is an age selectivity to urban–rural mobility but not necessarily at the life course stages predicted from a review of the life course migration literature. Individuals in younger age groups (at the household and family formation stages of the life course) are most likely to make an urban to rural move in Northern Ireland, with a decline in the likelihood of this move type with age. Possible explanations are offered linked to Northern Ireland's settlement hierarchy, rural planning policy, and family farming traditions. The findings challenge researchers to pay due attention to how migration processes may play out differently in varying geographical, social, and planning contexts and emphasise the importance of structural factors to explain migration patterns. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


INTRODUCTION

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE
  5. DATA AND METHODS
  6. FINDINGS
  7. A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS
  8. CONCLUSIONS
  9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  10. REFERENCES

There is an established literature on life course migration that acknowledges an increased likelihood of moving, and moving to an urban or rural destination, at particular stages of an individual's life (de Groot et al., 2011; Geist and McManus, 2008; Millington, 2000; Mulder, 2007). For example, the propensity to move to a rural destination is generally perceived to increase around mid-life and retirement (Bures, 1997; Hardill, 2006; Lundhold, 2012). In this paper, we test the recognised relationships between age (as a proxy for life course stage) and urban to rural migration flows in Northern Ireland, and in doing so, we highlight the (often under-acknowledged) importance of local structural factors as an explanatory migration variable. Researchers need to acknowledge that established migration trends and processes may not always ‘apply’ to all regions and localities. Assuming that ‘one size fits all’ may overlook the potential significance of the local context and, with it, the geography of migration.

Migration research has shown a growing interest in the effects of specific life course factors, such as education, employment, family, and housing careers, to explain migration flows and associated decision-making. Considerably less attention has been devoted to more structural influences, such as the connections between population movements and spatial planning (Gkartzios and Scott, 2009), or that such influences may impact differently at varying stages of the life course. The dominant narrative has reinforced established relationships and trends and failed to capture or seek to understand exceptions or deviations from a supposed normal relationship. ‘Geography’ is too easily omitted from life course migration studies. In this paper, we seek to ‘put the geography back’ into such research, with specific reference to the settlement pattern and nature of the spatial economy in Northern Ireland. We argue that these represent powerful influences on life course migration patterns and demonstrate the existence of a unique ‘Northern Ireland effect’.

The paper is structured into five parts. First, we recap briefly on the migration literature to highlight the established relationship(s) between migration and age/life course. From this, we formulate a research question to test using data from the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS). The inclusion of health card registration data in the NILS and therefore information on changes of address means that the dataset is a potentially invaluable data source for migration research; in the second part of the paper, we report on the NILS and explain our data analysis. Third, we present our findings before offering possible (Northern Ireland-specific) explanations for urban to rural migration patterns across the life course. Finally, we conclude by arguing that migration research should give due attention to varying geographical contexts.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE
  5. DATA AND METHODS
  6. FINDINGS
  7. A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS
  8. CONCLUSIONS
  9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  10. REFERENCES

The extent to which a person (or household) is likely to move, and their likelihood of moving to an urban or rural environment, depends on the residential preferences of that individual (or household) within a choice set that is determined by financial resources, restrictions (such as the distance to work or family ties), the opportunities and constraints at the preferred destination (such as the availability of housing and employment), and prior experience of particular residential environments (Feijten et al., 2008). The likelihood of moving (and the choice of residential environment) also varies by age or stage in the life course, and the age-specific migration schedule is well known (Rossi, 1955; Fischer and Malmberg, 2001; Michielin and Mulder, 2008). ‘[D]emographic changes underlie much of the logic of residential mobility’ (Clark and Huang, 2003: 335), with Kley and Mulder (2010: 90) demonstrating that ‘migration decision-making is mainly driven by life-course events and by perceived opportunities in several life domains’.

Numerous demographic or life course triggers for migration have been reported in the literature. The transitions from school to tertiary education and/or employment, for example, are identified as important among young adults (Kley and Mulder, 2010), whereas residential moves are associated with union formation (and dissolution), childbirth, and changes in employment (de Groot et al., 2011). In later life, too, migration is often associated with specific life events such as retirement (Warnes, 1992a, 1992b; King et al., 2000), widowhood, and increasing frailty (Chevan, 1995). Indeed, it is recognised that migration per se ‘involves a complex interplay between age, family status and the timing of life events’ (Geist and McManus, 2008: 302), with the anticipation or expectation of particular life course events (for example, family formation or retirement) also found to influence migration decisions and behaviours (Kulu, 2008; Michielin and Mulder, 2008; Stockdale, 2006).

However, it is not only the likelihood of moving that varies by age or life course stage but also, linked to this, do migrant motivations and, consequently, the direction of migration from and to urban and rural areas. In relation to migrant motivations, Millington (2000: 521) asserts that ‘… the power of labour market stimuli is found to decline with migrant age whilst the relative importance of amenity and housing effects shows a corresponding increase’. This helps to explain the dominant direction of migration between urban and rural areas over the life course and, accordingly, the dominant migration processes operating in urban and rural areas. Young adult out-migration commonly characterises rural areas (Stockdale, 2002) and corresponds to young adult in-migration to urban centres possessing tertiary education and/or employment opportunities. Actual or anticipated changes during early adulthood in employment, marriage/cohabitation, and starting a family further enhance the likelihood of moving between urban areas, within a specific urban area (for example, from a city centre location to the suburbs), or from urban to rural areas (Clark and Huang, 2003; Kulu, 2008; van Ham et al., 2001). With age, and subsequent stages of the life course, employment considerations (most likely to focus on an urban environment) become less influential as a factor in the choice of residential environment. This is likely to be most pronounced at or around retirement, and as such, older age cohorts may be most likely to move from urban centres towards more rural destinations. The counterurbanisation trend of the last 40 years would seem to bear testimony to this, characterised as it has been by middle-aged or older age groups (Dean et al., 1984; Rees, 2003; Hardill, 2006).

At this age or stage of the life course, labour market stimuli that dominate at earlier life course stages (and younger ages) are likely to be less important and reduce the need to live close to the workplace and therefore near to or within urban employment centres. Similarly, this will also often correspond to an ‘empty nest’ stage, when any children will have reached adulthood and personal independence from their parents. According to Bures (2009: 846), there is an ‘increased risk of long-distance mobility as the age of the youngest child at home increases’, and Wulff et al. (2010) calculate that empty nest status confers a 13% point mobility premium compared with couples that still have children living at home. This mid-life transition can often prompt a change of address and lead to the realisation of an aspiration for ‘a place in the country’ (Hardill, 2006). Moreover, traditional retirement migration has favoured amenity (coastal and rural) destinations (Warnes, 1992b), with Bures (1997) and Stockdale (2006) finding that the pre-retirement aged cohort (those in their 50s and early 60s), in the US and UK, respectively, shared the residential preferences of the post-retirement age cohort for less populous and amenity-rich areas. This raises the prospect of a retirement transition (Hayward et al., 1994) life course stage (commonly defined as aged 50–64 years) when the expectation of retirement acts as a catalyst for change, including a change in residential preferences. Informed by the counterurbanisation and retirement migration literature, one might expect retirement transition migrants to display a greater likelihood of moving to a rural destination compared with those at earlier stages (or younger ages) of the life course. Research in Sweden, for example, has demonstrated that migration by the over 55s is orientated towards rural areas (Lundholm, 2012).

Inevitably, the relationships between migration and age/life course stage are much more complex than to be reducible to pattern norms. Human behaviour in response to recognised migration triggers is often less predictable and may display geographical variations influenced by local cultures and contexts and the state of the national and local employment and housing markets. In other words, structural factors will influence migration patterns. First, and an example of the complex interactions between life course events and traditional migration flows, although the general ‘pull’ towards urban centres may be thought to dominate among young adults, primarily for employment considerations, Kulu (2008) and Lindgren (2003), in their Austrian and Swedish studies respectively, demonstrate that first conception significantly increases the likelihood of moving to a rural or small town destination and that the likelihood of leaving large cities for rural areas increases with the birth of a second and third child. It is not only at the empty nest, retirement transition, or post-retirement life course stages that a rural destination is more likely: an increase in family size among young adults, for some, may trigger migrations that lead to a more pleasant residential environment in the countryside in which to bring up children.

Second, although the literature points to clear relationships between migration and life course events, and in turn a relationship between life course events and preferred residential environments, one important enabling factor should not be overlooked – that of housing. Changes in the household composition, often brought on by life course events, may raise the need to adapt the housing situation to the new needs of the individual or household (Feijten and Mulder, 2002). Mulder and Lauster (2010: 434) recognise ‘[h]ousing serves as the context for family events and families serve as the context for housing events’. Indeed, it is often difficult to disentangle family events from housing events and from related migration events. Life course events such as leaving the parental home, marriage or cohabitation (and dissolution of a union), childbirth, empty nest, retirement, the onset of ill health, and widowhood all are likely to possess important housing dimensions. Examples reported in the literature include the following: high local house prices may delay the likelihood of leaving the parental home (Mulder and Clark, 2000); starting a family is commonly associated with a move into an owner-occupied or single family home (Feijten and Mulder, 2002); and union dissolution may lead to a move out of home ownership by at least one of the partners (Feijten, 2005; Feijten and van Ham, 2010). Access to housing and the nature of the housing market at the location of origin and preferred destination are therefore likely to be important determinants in the likelihood of moving and the choice of residential environment. Linked to this is the important role of parents in providing resources to help adult children achieve better housing (Smits and Michielin, 2010). Direct and indirect financial transfers by parents to their adult children are noted as important in helping young adults attain home ownership in the Netherlands by Helderman and Mulder (2007), with Mulder (2007) calling for more research into the importance of family to residential choice. Such financial gifts are likely to be most important during a period of rising property prices. The home-owning parents of young adults are likely to possess considerable housing equity at the same time as their housing costs have declined: they may already own their home outright or possess only a small mortgage.

Third, family and/or housing norms will be important. In Italy, for example, Barban and Dalla-Zuanna (2010) note that it is common for newly-weds to live less than 1 km from the parental home of the husband, wife, or both. This characteristic, according to Finch (1989), distinguishes southern Europe from other countries. However, in the Netherlands too, Helderman and Mulder (2007) report that people often live in close proximity to their parents and ‘if people live closer to homeowning parents, the probability that they are also homeowners is greater’ (p.234). Such intergenerational transmission of homeownership may be affected by other parental characteristics (for example, socioeconomic status) or children aspiring to attain the same housing tenure as their parents.

Fourth, all these relationships and influences operate within a national, regional, local, and individual economic context. Clark and Huang (2003) demonstrate life course and mobility relationship differences between the London housing market and the rest of the UK: ‘Although the dynamics underlying preference to move are more or less the same across housing markets, local contextual effects are thus important in determining the observed mobility’ (p.335). Similarly, Feijten and Mulder (2002) acknowledge the important role of macroeconomics and microeconomics. Economic growth (or decline) in a country will influence the nature of its housing market, its housing stock, and the average price of owner-occupied homes. Such growth (or decline) will also contribute to spatial variations within the country. At the microlevel, the individual's or household's economic resources will either restrict or facilitate the realisation of residential aspirations and, accordingly, affect life course migration.

Fifth, the local geography, and in particular its settlement pattern and the nature of its spatial economy, is likely to also affect migration patterns. Few migration studies directly acknowledge this potential planning role. Recent exceptions include the work of Shucksmith (2011) that reports on the role of planners and planning as agents in the process of spatial exclusion. For example, since the 1940s, planning in England and Wales has given the greatest priority to urban containment: ‘… a planned scarcity of [rural] housing duly emerged’ (Newby, 1985: 220). This has directly shaped the housing market, especially the rural housing market, and, accordingly, has been a powerful influence on migration between urban and rural areas. These important connections have also been recently reported in Ireland. ‘[R]esidential mobility reflects not only a range of consumer motivations but also results in diverse processes of settlement change underpinned by local planning policies and housing markets’ (Gkartzios and Scott, 2010: 80). What is absent from these studies is how planning, including the settlement pattern and spatial economy of an area, may impact differently on residential decision-making and associated migration patterns at varying stages of the life course.

This brief overview of the migration literature suggests that residential decision-making and preferences are, at least in part, variable at different ages and, accordingly, at different stages of the life course and that the relationship between migration and life course stages is influenced by the interaction of numerous factors. These factors, and their interactions, will not be identical or of similar relative importance through time or over space. In other words, the recognised relationship between migration and life course stages ignores the geography of migration. The key question addressed in this paper is ‘does the likelihood of making an urban to rural move within Northern Ireland vary by stage in the life course?’ In addition, and in contrast to other studies, we seek to explain the observed, and possibly unexpected, relationship between migration and life course stages with reference to unique interactions (at least unique within a UK context) between the Northern Ireland housing market, urban settlement hierarchy, local rural planning context, and, in relation to young adults specifically, the role of parental resources. Collectively, these factors introduce an increased complexity to the recognised relationship between life course stage, migration, and choice of destination and demonstrate the importance of geographies of migration.

DATA AND METHODS

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE
  5. DATA AND METHODS
  6. FINDINGS
  7. A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS
  8. CONCLUSIONS
  9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  10. REFERENCES

The NILS is a large-scale dataset comprising a representative sample of approximately 28% of the Northern Ireland population (equating to around 500,000 people). The NILS is a record linkage study created by combining statistical and administrative data sources within Northern Ireland. Data included are the 2001 Census returns, demographic and migration events, and vital events (births, deaths, and marriages). An individual is included in the NILS if their birth date is one of the 104 anonymous selected dates. NILS data are accessed in a safe setting in the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) headquarters. A more detailed description of the data is provided by O'Reilly et al. (2012).

The inclusion of data from health card registrations means that the NILS presents a unique resource for migration research. If an NILS member registers a change of address with their health practitioner (commonly a general practitioner), the new address will be linked into the NILS, at six-monthly intervals (i.e., for up to two changes of address a year) (for additional information on these linkages see Barr and Shuttleworth, 2012). This is available to researchers at Super Output Area (SOA) level (average population just under 2,000). The NILS thus provides longitudinal migration data for NILS members, enriching the number of possible migration events reported and therefore our understanding of the patterns and processes of migration in Northern Ireland. Although the 2001 Census of Population provides ‘full’ population coverage, migration data are derived only from the 1-year migration question (previous address 1 year prior to enumeration) and hence are more limited.

Our project-specific NILS dataset includes migration information for NILS members from 2001 to 2008, with up to 14 possible moves (one in 2001 and 2008, given the date of downloads, two in all other years). The full range of demographic and socio-economic census variables is available for the NILS members; however, it should be noted that these indicators are only available from the census and, therefore, the characteristics of a mover in 2008 will only be linked to their status in 2001.

For our urban/rural area classification, we followed the 2005 ‘Statistical classification and delineation of settlements’ published by Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (2005). The classification scheme comprises eight bands according to types of settlement: A, Belfast Metropolitan Area; B, Derry Urban Area; C, Large Town; D, Medium Town; E, Small Town; F, Intermediate Settlement; G, Village; and H, Small Village, Hamlet, and Open Countryside. A simpler scheme that merges bands A–E as urban and F–H as rural is also specified, representing a commonly agreed division between urban and rural as being among settlements between 3,000 and 5,000 people. This scheme presents some 65% of the population as urban dwellers and approximately 35% as rural residents (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), 2005). This broad urban–rural classification was used in the present analysis. We acknowledge that it misses some of the finer features of the settlement hierarchy of Northern Ireland, but a more detailed scheme would have resulted in a complex range of possible outcomes difficult to handle in a regression framework and confusing to interpret. The urban–rural division is available at SOA level, and this was linked to the NILS data, whereby each area was coded as either urban or rural for all possible origins and destinations.

Logistic regression was employed as it allows us to test the likelihood of making an urban to rural move. As stated previously, each individual could make up to a maximum of 14 moves in the given period, although in reality, most move counts were four or below. Moves could be from an urban SOA origin to a rural SOA destination, rural to urban, or rural to rural and urban to urban (including internal SOA moves in the latter two cases). Exploring each possible move combination was not possible given the range of scenarios available. Rather, the logistic model predicted the likelihood of a move outcome from the 2001 origin for any subsequent destination; this was the first move for the individual and could take place at any point in the timeframe. For example, the likelihood of moving to a rural area for urban dwellers was determined as the odds of any individual who resided in an urban-classified SOA in 2001 moving to a rural area at any point in the period, as opposed to another urban area or within the same urban area. This model is the main focus of our analysis, although an identical model for rural to urban moves and for the likelihood of moving at all is also reported in the succeeding text. In the case of urban to rural moves, only urban dwellers (in 2001) were included in the model; likewise, only rural dwellers (in 2001) were included in the model of rural to urban moves. The likelihood of moving (regardless of origin or destination type) model included the whole NILS sample. Of course, this procedure fails to capture the intensity of moves, particularly for the highly mobile: it is only one (the first) move during the period that is analysed. It also ignores return moves: although an urban to rural move may take place, the now rural dweller may have returned to an urban area in that timeframe. However, our modelling procedure does allow us to gain an insight into the possible nature of rural migration; further extensions could be considered in future work.

We controlled for the ‘standard’ demographic and socio-economic factors known to affect migration propensity, namely age, sex, marital status, and health status, and proxies for income, which included housing tenure and car ownership. These variables were derived from the 2001 Census and are on an individual level basis. Ideally, a person's National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) would have been included as a further proxy for ‘social status’, however the individual level classifications do not classify the very young and very old (younger than 15 years and older than 75 years), who are grouped as ‘unclassified’; this means that the inclusion of individual-level NS-SEC leads to a loss of information on these age groups in our model. In other studies, this information could be sacrificed in order to include this important control. Given that the focus of the study here is to test if the likelihood of making an urban to rural move differs by age/life course stage, this was not possible. Rather than losing this control altogether, the NS-SEC of the household reference person (HRP) has been included instead. Given that many individuals move as part of a wider household, and that for single person households, the mover will be the HRP, this approach provides a ‘next best’ guess at the social status of the mover. A similar problem of unclassified individuals occurs for education, and this is not controlled for in the models. Those living in communal establishments were excluded.

Individuals were banded into one of seven possible age groups: 0–15, 16–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–64, 65–74, and 75+ years. The very youngest age group comprises children who will mainly move with their parents. The 16- to 29-year-olds are those who are legally able to work and include those in, traditionally, the most transient period of the life course, where mobility may be related to leaving the parental home, study, marriage/cohabitation, and/or new forms of employment. By 30 years, much of this behaviour will have settled down, and the 30- to 39-year-olds form the third age group, followed by those in their 40s. Following the wider literature (Stockdale, 2006), the pre-retirement age group has been defined as 50- to 64-year-olds. Those aged 65–74 years are grouped separately to those in their mid-70s and older. In our models, it is the individual's age in 2001 that is used to assign them to one of our seven age bands. We have not, therefore, aged the individual to approximate their age (and reassign age bands) at the time of the move. To do so would have generated a somewhat cumbersome logistic regression model.

FINDINGS

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE
  5. DATA AND METHODS
  6. FINDINGS
  7. A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS
  8. CONCLUSIONS
  9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  10. REFERENCES

The numbers moving from urban to rural and rural to urban areas, alongside the numbers moving at all, are shown in Table 1. Of the 451,948 individuals in our NILS sample, approximately one third (around 160,000 individuals) moved over the period 2001–2008; 25% of the full population in the sample were movers who originated in an urban area in 2001 (112,807 individuals). Of this 25%, just under 20% moved from an urban to a rural locale in the period, whereas the remaining 82% who moved ended up in another urban area or moved within the same urban SOA. Only around 10% of the total population in our sample originated in a rural area and moved in the period (equating to 46,291 individuals), of which around 30% moved to an urban area, between 2001 and 2008.

Table 1. Move types by counts, and by percentage of origin type [mover sample: 159,098 (35%); non-mover sample: 292,850 (65%); total sample: 451,948 (100%)].
OriginDestinationTotal
RuralUrban
  1. Source: Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study.

Urban20,789 (18%)92,018 (82%)112,807
Rural32,868 (71%)13,423 (29%)46,291
Total53,657105,441159,098

Table 2 presents the odds ratios (ORs) for the three models described earlier. The first model (Model 1: Move) includes all individuals in the sample (451,948) and predicts the likelihood of moving at all. The remaining two models take only those who moved to assess the likelihood of moving to a rural area rather than within the same or to another urban area, for those who originated in an urban area (Model 2: Destination Rural), and the odds of moving to an urban area rather than within or between rural areas, for individuals originating in a rural area (Model 3: Destination Urban). The socio-economic and demographic covariates described earlier are included in all three models, but the ORs for age are presented separately in Table 3.

Table 2. Logistic regression odds ratios for likelihood of (i) migrating (Model 1: Move), (ii) migrating from an urban to rural area (Model 2: Destination Rural), and (iii) migrating from a rural to urban area (Model 3: Destination Urban).
 Odds ratios (95% confidence intervals)
Model 1: MoveModel 2: Destination RuralModel 3: Destination Urban
  1. Source: Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study.

  2. HRP NS-SEC is National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) of the household reference person (HRP); Professional (h/l) are those in higher and lower managerial and professional occupations; FT students are full-time students; LLTI is limiting long-term illness.

Sex
Male (ref.)1.001.001.00
Female1.12 (1.10, 1.13)1.02 (0.99, 1.06)1.08 (1.04, 1.13)
Marital status
Married (ref.)1.001.001.00
Single0.94 (0.92, 0.96)0.70 (0.66, 0.73)1.87 (1.75, 1.99)
Separated/widowed/divorced1.32 (1.29, 1.36)0.94 (0.89, 1.00)1.75 (1.62, 1.90)
Tenure
Owner-occupier1.001.001.00
Private renter2.55 (2.48, 2.61)1.39 (1.32, 1.46)1.18 (1.11, 1.26)
Social renter1.32 (1.29, 1.34)0.76 (0.72, 0.80)1.05 (0.97, 1.13)
Car ownership
Access 2+ (ref.)1.001.001.00
Access 11.08 (1.06, 1.10)0.66 (0.64, 0.69)1.05 (1.00, 1.10)
No access1.22 (1.19, 1.25)0.35 (0.33, 0.37)1.10 (1.01, 1.20)
HRP NS-SEC
Professional (h/l) (ref.)1.001.001.00
Intermediate1.08 (1.05, 1.10)1.06 (1.00, 1.12)0.92 (0.85, 1.00)
Own account workers0.95 (0.93, 0.97)1.20 (1.14, 1.27)0.62 (0.58, 0.66)
Lower supervisory1.01 (0.98 ,1.03)0.97 (0.92, 1.03)0.73 (0.68, 0.79)
Routine0.98 (0.96, 1.00)0.98 (0.94, 1.02)0.63 (0.59, 0.67)
Not working0.97 (0.94, 1.00)0.92 (0.85, 1.00)0.56 (0.50, 0.62)
FT students0.94 (0.85, 1.04)1.60 (1.36, 1.88)1.08 (0.78, 1.51)
Unclassified0.90 (0.85, 0.94)1.15 (0.97, 1.35)0.55 (0.46, 0.66)
Health status
No LLTI (ref.)1.001.001.00
With LLTI1.03 (1.01, 1.05)1.02 (0.97, 1.07)1.12 (1.05, 1.20)
Table 3. Logistic regression odds ratios for likelihood of (i) migrating (Model 1: Move), (ii) migrating from an urban to rural area (Model 2: Destination Rural), and (iii) migrating from a rural to urban area (Model 3: Destination Urban), by age.
Age group (years)Odds ratios (95% confidence intervals)
Model 1: MoveModel 2: Destination RuralModel 3: Destination Urban
  1. Source: Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study.

0–150.89 (0.86, 0.91)1.25 (1.18, 1.33)0.77 (0.71, 0.84)
16–291.42 (1.39, 1.46)1.06 (1.00, 1.12)1.33 (1.24, 1.43)
30–39 (ref.)1.001.001.00
40–490.52 (0.51, 0.54)0.78 (0.73, 0.83)0.99 (0.91, 1.07)
50–640.36 (0.35, 0.37)0.73 (0.68, 0.77)0.90 (0.82, 0.98)
65–740.28 (0.27, 0.29)0.58 (0.52, 0.64)0.99 (0.88, 1.12)
75+0.40 (0.38, 0.42)0.66 (0.56, 0.78)1.58 (1.31, 1.90)

Setting aside age for the time being and focusing on Table 2, the characteristics of movers from an urban to a rural area (Model 2: Destination Rural) are broadly in line with the known attributes of movers. Females show a marginal increase in the likelihood of making such a move compared with males (although note that this effect is not statistically significant for urban to rural moves). Those who are married are more likely to move to rural areas than individuals who are separated, widowed, or divorced, who are in turn more likely than single people to move to rural areas. Compared with married individuals, those separated, widowed, or divorced are more likely to move than not (Model 1: Move) and, along with single people, are more likely to move from rural to urban areas than within rural areas (Model 3: Destination Urban). In line with the migration literature, private renters have the highest odds of moving in all three models. For Model 2 (Destination Rural), social renters have a large and significant [OR 0.76 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.72, 0.80)] decreased likelihood of moving from urban to rural areas when compared with owner occupiers, who act as the reference category. This is most likely explained by the lower availability of social housing in rural as compared with urban areas; in Northern Ireland, social or public sector housing is largely concentrated within urban centres (Department for Social Development, 2010). Unsurprisingly, car access has a positive effect on the likelihood of moving from urban to rural locales (Model 2), although, interestingly, the reverse is the case for moves in general (Model 1). Those without access to cars are more likely to move from rural to urban areas than to another rural locale (Model 3). As discussed earlier, it was necessary to include as a control the NS-SEC of the HRP rather than on an individual basis. Residents in households headed by those in more professional occupations are more likely to move to rural areas than those in lower NS-SEC categories, likely a result of a greater willingness and financial ability to commute further distances in order to attain a ‘place in the country’ (although note the lack of significance for some NS-SEC categories). The largest relative difference from the reference category in Model 2 is for full-time students [OR 1.60 (CI 1.36, 1.88)]. The finding that full-time students are more likely to move to rural areas is in sharp contrast to the expected norm whereby further and higher education institutions are commonly located in urban areas. It might be perceived as a consequence of edge of town university campuses, for example, the Coleraine and Jordanstown campuses of the University of Ulster. However, neither campus is classified as rural in our dataset. Instead, the finding is explained by understanding the nature of our data. Because the full-time student classification is based on the individual's status in 2001, whereas the move modelled may have taken place at any time during the period 2001–2008, it is likely that the finding includes graduates who have returned to a rural parental home address following completion of their studies. As shown in Model 3, compared with those with a household head in the most professional group, individuals in all other occupational categories (except full-time students) are less likely to move from rural to urban areas than within or between other rural locales. With the exception of the ‘top end’ of the rural housing market (accessible to higher earners), the urban property market has been traditionally more expensive. It may therefore be difficult for lower earners to make the transition into an urban property market. This is exacerbated by the fact that the period under study (2001–2008) corresponds to rapidly rising house prices within Northern Ireland. Given their greater economic resources, those in the very highest occupational classifications are, for the most part, most likely to move compared with those in other professions (Model 1). Somewhat surprisingly, those with a limiting long-term illness (LLTI) in our sample are marginally more likely to move than those without an LLTI (it may be that their illness necessitates a move to a more suitable property or to be nearer family support).

Having established trends broadly in line with our expectations, we now turn our attention to variations in the likelihood of moving from urban to rural locales by age. For context, Table 3 shows the ORs for all move types. The coefficients for age are part of the model outputs presented in Table 2; that is, the models presented in Table 3 also include as covariates sex, marital status, tenure, car ownership, HRP NS-SEC, and health status. Those aged 30–39 years act as the reference category (selected given that it is the first age group where migration patterns have ‘settled’ from initial high mobility at the new household formation/education/employment stage of the life course). From Model 2 (Destination Rural), it is clear that those in the youngest age groups are more likely than the older groups to move from urban to rural areas; individuals in the 0–15, 16–29, and 30–39 years age groups were most likely to make such a move, whereas those in older age groups (40–49, 50–64, 65–74, and 75+ years) were less likely. Compared with 30- to 39-year-olds, those at a possible retirement transition life course stage (age group 50–64 years) are considerably less likely to migrate in this way [OR 0.73 (CI 0.68, 0.77)]. There is, therefore, a rather convincing ‘downward’ gradient with an increase in age corresponding to a decrease in the likelihood of making an urban to rural move: there is a steady decline in the odds of migrating to rural areas from children to the very old. Those at or immediately above the state pension age of 65 years (young-old) are the least likely [OR 0.58 (CI 0.52, 0.64)] to make an urban to rural move in Northern Ireland. The group with the highest odds of moving in this direction are children aged 0–15 years, of which most moves will take place with their parents (i.e., those in the next three older age categories for whom the likelihood of migrating is also high, with an OR of one or above). Individuals in their 40s are less likely to make this kind of move than those in their 30s, and this decrease in likelihood with increasing age can be seen along the age ranges to the over 75-year-olds.

To assess how unique this urban to rural migration pattern by age may be within the wider internal migration system in Northern Ireland, we now turn our attention to models for the likelihood of moving to an urban area (for those who made a move and originated in rural areas) and the odds of moving at all (for the whole population in the NILS sample) in Table 3. The likelihood of moving (Model 1: Move) shows no surprises and is similar to many migration schedules produced elsewhere (Rogers et al., 1978), with a typical peak in migration among those in their late teens and 20s, associated with leaving the parental home, higher education, joining the labour force, and for marriage or cohabitation. After this, migration likelihood falls steadily (and is lowest for those in the 50–64 and 65–74 years age groups) until a slight rise in the oldest age group.

Odds of migrating to urban areas for originally rural dwellers (Model 3: Destination Urban) tend to follow migration pattern up to and including the 30- to 39-year-olds, but then, rather than decreasing in older years, the likelihood of moving to urban areas remains steady for those aged 40–49 years, then dips slightly for the pre-retirement age group (50–64 years), before rising in the older age groups (65 and older). However, the results for age groups 40–49 and 65–74 years for this model are not statistically significant. It should be remembered that the populations in question differ for these three types of move (see Table 1), so they cannot be compared directly; however, it is interesting to note that it seems that for rural dwellers, it is urban areas that attract most migrants in the oldest age group (perhaps moving to be closer to required services and facilities and involving, no doubt, those moving into largely urban-based pensioner-type housing and care homes).

The findings point to several age-related migration trends, some of which were expected given the relationships identified from the general migration and life course literature whereas others were more surprising. First, as expected, we found evidence to support that the likelihood of moving declines with increasing age. Migration theory acknowledges that young adults are most mobile. Second, the likelihood of making a rural to urban move shows two peaks across the life course: among young adults and at post-retirement age (especially among the over 75s). Again, such a pattern was largely expected. In contrast, the likelihood of making an urban to rural move declines with increasing age. This too was largely expected; however, the ‘peaks’ among young adults (up to and including those in their 30s) are perhaps contrary to the literature on young adult mobility, whereby moves associated with higher education, first employment, and household formation are generally thought to display an urban bias. We also anticipated the existence of a (slight) increased likelihood of an urban to rural move among those aged 50–64 years and therefore at a retirement transition stage or at the retirement stage of their life course. The literature suggests that migration undertaken at these life course stages has been an important driver of the counterurbanisation phenomenon evident in other areas. Little evidence is obtained to support this among Northern Ireland's internal migrants during the period 2001–2008. Focusing specifically on the 50–64 and 65–74 years age cohorts, Table 3 demonstrates that it is these ages that are consistently amongst the least likely to make a move (of any type) and, of adult movers, are least likely to make a rural to urban move specifically. The latter, however, is not mirrored by a corresponding greater likelihood to make an urban to rural move that the counterurbanisation and life course migration literature might have led us to expect.

A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE
  5. DATA AND METHODS
  6. FINDINGS
  7. A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS
  8. CONCLUSIONS
  9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  10. REFERENCES

Although most of the patterns shown in Table 3 accord with the migration literature, one stands out as being largely unexpected – it is those in younger age groups that are more likely than older age groups to move from urban to rural areas. Accordingly, in Northern Ireland, it is those at the union and family formation life course stages that display the greater likelihood of participating in an urban to rural migration flow. There are several possible explanations for this pattern, which reflect a ‘Northern Ireland effect’ rooted in its unique geography. This geography includes its settlement hierarchy, rural planning policy, family farming traditions, and, most recently, its economic performance and the subsequent impact this has had on the regional housing market.

First, Northern Ireland possesses a distinctive settlement hierarchy for a country/region with a population of less than two million. Belfast, the largest city, had a population of just under 280,000 at the time of the 2001 Census, with the Greater Belfast Metropolitan Area (which includes a number of smaller settlements and district towns) possessing a population of just less than 600,000. Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland's second city, had a population of approximately 90,000. Below that the country's settlement hierarchy is characterised by a further 24 district towns (including some within the Greater Belfast Metropolitan Area) whose populations (in 2001) ranged from approximately 5,000 (Ballycastle) to 30,000 (Ballymena and Newry). Each district town includes a sizeable rural hinterland within a discrete district council area. For a country where one can drive either north to south or east to west in approximately 2 hours, this represents a somewhat unique settlement hierarchy, where longer distance commutes and other necessary day-to-day mobility may preclude one's need to move home. The key settlements (the district towns) represent important centres for employment and service provision (at least, until recently when there is more instability due to government centralisation policies, funding cuts, and the economic downturn). Since at least the mid-1970s, successive regional development strategies have focused on the growth of district towns (Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning, 1975; Department for Regional Development, 2001). All possess, to varying degrees, public sector services (and associated employment opportunities) in health, education, and local government. Notably, Northern Ireland's dependency on public sector employment is the highest in the UK. District towns, therefore, ‘represent loci of employment and commuting to these areas is evidently very much a part of living in a rural area’ (Moss et al., 2004: 126). Further evidence from the Moss et al. (2004) study suggests that in the absence of local employment opportunities and in order to compensate for lower wage rates in rural labour markets, men, in particular, move out into the wider regional labour market and commute to district towns and larger urban centres. What this means in practice is that those working in Belfast, for example, will include daily commuters from as far afield as Londonderry, Newry, and Enniskillen. Similarly, with the dispersed concentration of employment (and services) in each of the district towns, even a rural residence is likely to be only a short commute to a choice of urban centres. Therefore, in contrast to the literature (Millington, 2000) that emphasises the importance of labour market stimuli for younger age migration (and economically active life course stage migration), this does not necessarily hold true in Northern Ireland where its settlement hierarchy is such that there is a reduced need to move at the onset of a new life course stage. Indeed, within Northern Ireland, on average, only 5–6% of the population change address per year (Shuttleworth and Barr, 2009), and the median distance moved is only 3.58 km (Shuttleworth et al., 2013).

A second possible explanation (in addition to graduates returning to the parental home) for the fact that the likelihood of moving to a rural location declines with age (or rather is greater among those in their 20s and 30s, ages that correspond to the household and family formation stages of the life course) can be offered via rural planning policy alongside a strong tradition of small-scale family farming (Jack et al., 2009). Although an urban containment and protection of the countryside approach to rural planning in England has ‘acted as a crucial arena for class formation and social exclusion … operating generally in the interests of the privileged and against poorer, marginalised groups’ (Shucksmith, 2011: 609), in Ireland (north and south), a very different and relaxed rural planning approach has been evident (Gallent et al., 2003; Gkartzios and Scott, 2010). In Northern Ireland, specifically, this more liberal approach (Sterrett, 2003; Scott and Murray, 2009), relative to other parts of the UK, has arguably privileged those from family farming backgrounds and led to a distinctive rural housing feature comprising single detached properties often of bungalow style and commonly referred to as ‘one-off housing in the countryside’. Such housing is also common in Ireland (Gkartzios and Scott, 2009). In Northern Ireland, 89% of (6,756) planning applications for single dwellings in the countryside was approved during the year 2002–2003 (Department of Environment, 2004), and Sterrett (2003) estimates that 2,000 single houses are built each year in the open countryside of Northern Ireland, which may account for as much as 40% of all private sector residential development taking place outside the Belfast City region.

The ease with which planning permission for one-off housing in the countryside was obtained allied with a strong family farming tradition (Magee, 2002) to farm small holdings (Jack et al., 2009) has meant that a (new build) rural house was often the least expensive mode of entry onto the property ladder for young adults from a family farming background. Indeed, according to Sterrett (2003:139) ‘… in rural culture the offering of a site to a newly married couple has long been regarded as almost an obligation’. Given the broad definition of urban/rural (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), 2005) used in our analysis, it is likely that one of the partners at this household formation stage of the life course will have moved from an urban settlement, and this helps to explain the greater likelihood of an urban to rural move. This represents a form of parental contribution to help adult children achieve owner-occupation unique to Northern Ireland. The availability of such sites has meant that young adults (at the household formation stage of the life course) have not needed to move away from rural areas for housing needs towards more urban centres (in contrast to other regions/areas of the UK and Ireland). It has been possible to live in the countryside and commute to the nearest (or other) district town for employment. Although Gkartzios and Scott (2010: 76) acknowledge that ‘[s]elf-building is a common activity in rural areas and a common pathway to home ownership in Ireland’, they do not make an explicit connection to family farming. Important also, in Northern Ireland, is that this practice is not necessarily restricted to one adult child – instead, a number of adult children from the one family may build on the family farm unit reinforcing Northern Ireland's dispersed settlement character. Furthermore, the new build is frequently constructed with future life course stages in mind (for example, family formation) thus reducing a need to move at the onset of subsequent life course stages. The long-term intention, at least initially, is to live in close proximity to the parental home. In this respect, similarities can be drawn with the observations of Helderman and Mulder (2007) and Barban and Dalla-Zuanna (2010) in the Netherlands and Italy, respectively.

It is important to acknowledge that a more restrictive countryside planning policy in Northern Ireland has recently been introduced (Department of Environment, 2010), one whereby planning permission will only be granted to build one new house on a farm unit within any 10-year period. This new policy has already led to a 53% reduction in the number of planning applications submitted for one-off housing in the countryside, in 2010–2011 compared with 2002–2003, (Department of Environment, 2012).

Third, the wider economic context in which migration decisions were being made during the period of study (2001–2008) also deserves comment. This context helps to reinforce the potential role of a parental gift in the form of a building site as an explanation for the urban–rural life course migration patterns evident from Table 3. The period 2001–2007 corresponds to an unprecedented period of economic prosperity and rapid growth in the residential property market. Northern Ireland was frequently referred to as the UK regional hotspot for house prices (University of Ulster, 2005a, 2005b, 2006). Land prices rose dramatically (Jack et al., 2009), and house prices soared, rising by 20% and 37%, respectively, during 2005 and 2006 (according to the University of Ulster's House Price Index for 2005 and 2006). Such increases made Northern Ireland a particularly difficult housing market for first-time buyers (commonly those at the union and family formation stages of the life course). The parental ‘gift’ of a building site therefore greatly helped adult children attain home ownership at a time when many were simply out-priced in a rapidly rising regional property market. Any associated housing mortgage by the young couple was limited to self-build costs as opposed to the hugely inflated house purchase prices at that time. Those at the household formation life course stage building on family-owned land were not, however, an explicit temporal response to the rapidly rising house prices in the region. One-off house building in the Northern Irish countryside has been a strong feature for some time, albeit the magnitude of which may have intensified during this period of economic prosperity.

Fourth, there are also a number of data limitations that need to be considered when interpreting our findings. As highlighted in the Data and Methods section, data on changes of address based on health card registrations rely on individuals informing their health practitioner that they have moved home. Work using the NILS by Barr and Shuttleworth (2012) has highlighted the demographic and social variations in late and non-reporting of address changes by individuals to health professionals, most commonly by men, the healthy and owner-occupiers, those in urban areas, and those in deprived areas. We have noted that the covariates included in the model are derived only from 2001 Census returns (and of course the analysis could be expanded when the 2011 Census data are matched to the NILS database) and that we have not been able to account for some potentially important factors because of either the nature of the study (individual level NS-SEC and education status) or other potentially important socio-economic, demographic, or perhaps cultural factors that are not included in the Census. We do not know, for example, anything about the motivations for migration, or barriers that prevent mobility, and how these may affect age groups differentially. We model only the first move of any individual; however, their age (and socio-economic characteristics) is as at census enumeration (2001). For some individuals, they may have moved to an older age category by the time they change address. Our modelling procedure has not allowed the full extent of migration to be captured; multiple migration events or return moves are not accounted for. The fact that migration (at least after the young adult life course stage) tends to be undertaken by households, rather than individuals, may mean that our models underestimate or overestimate the amount of migration to rural areas for different age groups. Some of these data and methodological issues will be more important than others but may nonetheless have an impact on the results and their interpretation.

We might also ask, are the same age-related migration patterns evident at other spatial scales? The definition of urban and rural that we have adopted is, of course, somewhat coarse and will inevitably miss some of the detail of the settlement hierarchy of Northern Ireland. For example, prior research suggests that ‘rurality’ and, accordingly, gradations of rural are important when investigating migration to rural areas (Bures, 1997; Stockdale, 2006). The broad urban–rural classification (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), 2005) used here does not distinguish between degrees of rurality – it is based solely on population size. Likewise, might the findings be repeated if we substituted urban to rural migration for a coarser scale, such as migration between and within Belfast versus the rest of Northern Ireland? Although this would provide an interesting avenue for further research, a higher geographical scale such as a major city and other regions risks masking the age-related migration patterns that we have found here and that were a focus of our research in this paper. Moreover, it potentially undermines the importance of Northern Ireland's unique settlement hierarchy and the structural factors at play (as detailed previously). There is a danger that this would simply ‘smooth out’ the geographies of migration, which we have been able to capture through our urban to rural migration analysis. One might also consider using distance of move rather than analysing migration between origin and destination types. We have not used this for two main reasons; firstly, the type of environment moved to (town or rural destination) is ignored, which is obviously central to our investigation. Secondly, in Northern Ireland, the distance between an area classified as urban and that classified as rural can often be very small. If we were to focus on, say, long-distance and short-distance moves (or even a finer-grained classification of distances moved), we could miss the transition between these two settlement types (urban and rural) for moves that are short in physical distance. The findings offered by our urban to rural migration analysis enables us to identify explanatory structural factors that otherwise have gone unreported.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE
  5. DATA AND METHODS
  6. FINDINGS
  7. A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS
  8. CONCLUSIONS
  9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  10. REFERENCES

Although our findings support many of the age-related migration patterns evident from the migration and life course literature, they also highlight some unexpected patterns. Most surprising is, first, the identification of the greater odds of participating in an urban to rural flow among those in their 20s, 30s, and children compared to older age groups and, second, the apparent lack of evidence to support an increased likelihood of making an urban to rural move by those at the mid-life and retirement stages of the life course. The involvement of young adults (at the household formation life course stage) in urban to rural migration has led us to consider ‘unique’ features of Northern Ireland's geography and planning context as possible explanations. These include the peculiarities of Northern Ireland's settlement hierarchy, rural planning policy, and family farming tradition, alongside a strong tradition of rural ‘self-build’ homes (intended for life) by those at the household formation stage of their lives. The relationships between migration and age displayed in Table 3 are likely the collective outcome of these influences, rather than being explained by any one contributory factor.

If we assume that the data limitations associated with the use of NILS are no more problematic than in other regions of the UK and Ireland, then, collectively, our findings and their possible explanations demonstrate the need to pay due regard to the geographies of migration (as demonstrated here through a ‘Northern Ireland effect’). The relationship between migration and age (or life course stage) may not always play out in accordance with our expectations (as informed by the migration or life course literature). Local circumstances will often explain such discrepancies. But even when the relationship between migration and age is as expected, the explanation may lie once more in local circumstances as opposed to any set of ‘one size fits all’ reasons. The local geography of an area, including its settlement hierarchy, its culture of migration (in terms of migration direction and decision-making), and local structures (for example, rural planning policy), needs to be considered. Collectively and individually, they represent powerful influences on internal migration flows, as has been shown in the case of Northern Ireland.

Our findings are significant for other reasons too. First, they have relevance to the study of counterurbanisation. Traditionally, counterurbanisation has been associated with mid-life and older age groups, with many studies concentrating on their migration flows, decision-making processes, and consequences. Our analysis suggests that such cohorts may represent only a small component of urban to rural migration flows and that traditional counterurbanisation research may have failed to capture the full range of migrants involved. The evidence from Northern Ireland is that younger age groups (and those at earlier life course stages) also participate in counterurban migration flows. Second, the findings provide a positive outlook for rural demographic ageing. Not only are young families settling in rural areas but also, importantly, adult children and their families through their close residential proximity to the parental home offer a potential source of future family support for ageing parents. Third, our findings demonstrate the significant role of planning in shaping residential mobility patterns. Most recently, Shucksmith (2011) has reported on planners as agents of rural gentrification; nevertheless, the relationships between planning and population change/migration patterns would appear to warrant greater empirical study. A particular opportunity for such research in Northern Ireland has been presented by the recent revision to rural planning policy. Will this supposedly more restrictive policy to one-off housing in the Northern Ireland countryside lead to very different (age-related) migration patterns emerging in the future? Linked to this, there is also a question to be asked about the occupants of one-off housing. Many are as described earlier (adult children of farm families at the household formation stage of the life course); however, it would be naïve not to at least acknowledge – especially during a time of high land and property prices – that some farm families will have sold building sites as a useful source of extra income (Finnerty et al., 2003) and perhaps also homes built by family members. Surprisingly, to date, there has been no research on this issue undertaken in Northern Ireland.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE
  5. DATA AND METHODS
  6. FINDINGS
  7. A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS
  8. CONCLUSIONS
  9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  10. REFERENCES

The analysis undertaken for this paper was a specific component of a larger project funded by the ESRC (RES-062-23-1358). A much earlier draft of this paper was presented at the 2012 British–Irish Population Geography Conference (sponsored by the RGS-IBG) in Belfast, and the authors are grateful for the constructive comments received from the delegates and more recently the Journal referees. The help provided by the staff of the NILS and the NILS Research Support Unit is acknowledged. The NILS is funded by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency (HSC R&D Division) and NISRA. The NILS-RSU is funded by the ESRC and the Northern Ireland Government. The authors alone are responsible for the interpretation of the data, and any views or opinions presented are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of NISRA/NILS.

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  1. Top of page
  2. ABSTRACT
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIGRATION AND AGE/LIFE COURSE STAGE
  5. DATA AND METHODS
  6. FINDINGS
  7. A ‘NORTHERN IRELAND EFFECT’ TO EXPLAIN LIFE COURSE MIGRATION PATTERNS
  8. CONCLUSIONS
  9. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  10. REFERENCES
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