National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Migration Statistics Improvements

Migration Statistics Improvements

Since the early 2000s, and especially since Eastern European Countries joined the European Union in May 2004, migration has played a larger part in Scotland’s demographic change than in the previous decade. So it has become more important to have high quality statistics on migration and the population, for policy development and for planning and providing public services.

We are committed to continually improving our migration statistics. National Records of Scotland was part of an inter-departmental effort, led by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to improve the estimates of migration and migrant populations in the United Kingdom, both nationally and at a local level. More information on the Migration Statistics Improvement Programme including the programme’s final report can be found on the ONS website.

The new information provided by the 2011 Census, as well as rebasing our population estimates for mid-2011, has allowed us to review our methodology and make improvements to elements of the rolling-forward process. Further analysis of census data, particularly relating to migration, and continuing work to incorporate new data sources, will help us to improve our methods and be confident that we continue to capture population change into the next decade and beyond.

For mid-2015 onwards an improved method for estimating internal migration within the UK has been introduced. We are now using a direct extract of anonymised records from the NHS Central Register (NHSCR) to calculate the migration at a health board level. The improved methodology has had a small impact on both the within Scotland migration estimates and the in-migration from the rest of the UK. It has resulted in a slightly lower net migration gain from the rest of the UK. If this method had been implemented for the years to mid-2013 and mid-2014 there would have been approximately 1,500 (3.1 per cent) and 1,800 (3.6 per cent) fewer rest of UK to Scotland moves estimated for these years. We have investigated these differences extensively and have no reason to suspect that we are missing genuine rest of UK to Scotland moves. Further information on this in relation to the year to mid-2013 is detailed in Paper 10 PAMS (15) 10 from the May 2015 meeting of the Population and Migration Statistics Committee (PAMS).