Spanish-born population in the United Kingdom

Tony Morgan and Bronwen Walter, Anglia Polytechnic University

[Project number 30014]

The study was commissioned by the Migration Division of the Spanish Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs. In total the study targets the Spanish migrant population in 13 countries: UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Cuba. This is the first study of the Spanish migrant population since modern migration began in the 1960s. It aims to establish the living and working conditions of the Spanish population in each of the countries concerned, specifically assessing population size, geographical distribution, ethnic grouping, marital status, family composition, age profile, dependants, accommodation type and size, general health and care for incapacitated dependants, occupation, working hours, educational qualifications, social grade, car ownership, social security entitlement. It also aims to establish family income levels. This data will be sought via Census reports and via a direct study run by Anglia Polytechnic University. The small samples of Spanish-born in the Labour Force Survey and, hopefully, the ONS Longitudinal Study, will complement this data.

The broad rationale for the project is to trace the historic evolution of Spanish migration to the above countries, to establish past trends and probable future developments, including the likelihood of present migrant populations planning to return to Spain. One reason for the study is that the Spanish Government established a substantial outreach support system for its emigrant population back in the 1970s, and it wishes to review how appropriate this system is for the 21st century, what the needs of the current population are compared with a generation ago, and how best these might be met.

Although the sample of Spanish-born in the censuses from 1971 to 1991 will be quite small numerically, we hope that trends indicated by the LS in any of the above variables will illuminate some of the trends we already know from anecdotal evidence to be there e.g. decline of immigrant flow in the 1970s and 1980s, ageing of the remaining migrant population, occupational shifts across the sectors, significant variation of gender experiences, possible shifts in educational levels, insight into the shift in housing provision. In general, since there is virtually no available data on the evolving experience of Spanish immigrants in the UK in the last three decades, we would hope that the LS data will provide a small platform for us to extrapolate some interesting data as an adjunct to the main body of analysis we will be preparing from our other sources.

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