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Popul Trends. 2009 Autumn;(137):33-40.

Older international migrants: who migrates to England and Wales in later life?

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  • 1Centre for Research on Ageing and ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton.


Over the past half century, two major demographic phenomena have risen to prominence: population ageing and international migration (United Nations, 2005). It has recently been estimated that there are over 200 million international migrants in the world (International Organization for Migration, 2008). This comprises around 3 per cent of the current world population (U.S Census Bureau, 2008). The increasingly mobile global population is also ageing. In 2006, the UN estimated that 11 per cent of the world's population was aged 60 and over (United Nations, 2006); in the UK those aged 60 and over accounted for 21 per cent of the total population (Office for National Statistics, 2006). Previous UK research on migration in later life has primarily focused on international migration from England and Wales to foreign destinations in retirement (Williams et al, 1997; King et al, 1998; Warnes and Guy, 1998; King et al, 2000; Casado-Diaz et al, 2004) and there has been little research on migration to the UK at older ages. This article contributes to the latter literature by beginning to create a profile of those individuals who migrate to England and Wales from outside the UK at retirement age.

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