What is net migration?

Net migration is the sum of the number of people who move to the UK to live for at least a year minus the number that leave. Because more people come to the UK than leave, net migration tends to be positive. Although there are some questions over the precise accuracy of the data, between 2010 and 2019 net migration hovered between around 200,000 and 300,000 per year. Since the Brexit referendum, it has remained within this range, but the make-up has changed significantly. In June 2016, net migration from the EU was higher than from non-EU countries, but this has since reversed. Population growth is the sum of natural change – births minus deaths – and net migration. In recent years, net migration has been the main driver of population growth in the UK.

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