Migration in the UK has shown many patterns since the 18th century. But until the 19th century there was very little migration in Britain. This was due to many things at the time. Unlike today back then infrastructure was very basic. Travel was difficult across difficult, which meant that, if you did want to migrate to another region of the UK, it would have been very difficult. Unawareness was a great factor in the little migration. Many people, especially in northern England were very ignorant about places that were not local, as everything they needed was there for them, people did not want to know about other cities in the country, what was there for them etc. Agriculture was the main industry at this time, so many people did not have a reason to want to migrate, jobs were good, money was steady, and people were happy.

The 19th century saw the beginning of something huge in British history, the industrial revolution. This resulted in huge scale migration, most of which was internal rural to urban. For agricultural workers the invention of mechanical machines meant labour forces were reduced, therefore people ere forced really to migrate to the urban areas, where factories and works needed labourers, and where money was good. Massive industrial towns, the likes of Sheffield, Manchester and Birmingham were developed due to their locations to raw materials.

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All these aspects saw the migration in the UK turned up on its head. Masses of people travelled to Wales for coal mining which was a huge industry the, which due to this saw basically the abolition of the welsh language in South Wales. All the migration at this time was helped massively by the introduction and invention of better transport and infrastructure. The development of trains allowed transport to these heavy industrial towns for migrants.

Since the 1920s however, there has been a steady drift away from the northern towns of industry and south Wales down to the south, and south east. There are many reasons to this. Exhaustion of raw materials in many of these places was a big factor. Due to decades of hard working, the materials just ran out, forcing workers to move elsewhere for work. In these industrial towns were ever increasing birth rates, which then meant more potential job seekers, meaning people would again, have to migrate.

Post war industries, which tended to be footloose were a great factor of the migration to the south and south east. Many industries such as car manufacturing, and electronics were developing in the south, attracting many people, these industries did not have to be located near raw materials unlike many of the other industries in Britain, and since the 1980’s many hi-tech businesses have started to spring up, again attracting a huge number of workers to the south east. Finally infrastructure in the south east was far better than anywhere also, due to the relief of the land. Land was flat, meaning that motorways, railways, airports etc were far easier to construct.

During 1961 and 1971 the population in the UK increased by 5.1% and many regions also increased quite rapidly. The South East of England along with the North West, Merseyside are increased by approximately 15%. This was due to many reasons, the South east of England offered many jobs to people, with good salaries, in comparison to the rest of the UK, which was a huge economical pull factor.

Although the trends at this time seemed to be masses of people moving down from the north west, to south east, this was not entirely true. Since around the 1930’s urban to rural migration, a complete reverse to what had been occurring, was taking place. Many families had been moving counter urbanely, out of the inner cities into the suburbs, and only commuting in the inner cities. This was all because the quality of living in suburbs is higher than in CBD’s and inner cities. As well as this, housing cost was lower, and a lot of the time of better quality, pollution was much less, crime was low, and many inner city areas were becoming neglected and this was a huge push factor for people to move away.

I believe that counter urbanisation will, in years to come still be on the increase, this is due to, as I said before areas becoming more and more neglected, crime rates at the moment are reasonably high, and this will push residents to the suburbs. I think that this will, in turn cause a knock on effect and this whole scenario could come around again in the suburbs. High cost of housing, high population densities will result in an increase in crime and pollution and in turn people will want to move back into the cities, basically I think a viscous circle will occur.

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Kylie Garcia

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