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Migration: key data sources

Scotland’s Census

Data from the 1991, 2001 and 2011 census are available on this website.

The Census in Scotland asks people to give their usual address one year before the Census. This provides information about migrants within Scotland and to Scotland from the rest of the UK and from the rest of the world. The Census returns for England, Wales and Northern Ireland identify migrants from Scotland to the rest of the UK. But the UK Censuses cannot provide any information about migrants from Scotland who move to places outwith the UK.

National Records of Scotland (NRS)

National Records of Scotland (NRS) is the main source of routine migration estimates in Scotland. Most of their estimates and reports are available on the migration pages of their website. 

The Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS)

This is a large-scale linkage study which will be a resource in the future for migration analysis. The study is based on a 5.5% sample of the Scottish population (around 274,000 individuals) for whom administrative records are linked. The study data are held anonymously and access is governed by strict confidentiality rules. Information is gathered from the 1991 and 2001 Censuses and from vital events data (births, deaths, marriages etc.) and National Health Service Central Register (migration in or out of Scotland). It is also possible to link information from the cancer registry and hospital admissions episodes.

The Longitudinal Studies Centre - Scotland is operational and provides help to researchers in accessing the data. The web site (link provided above) provides information on how the study data can be used and accessed.

Scottish Government - Population and Migration

This part of the Scottish Government website provides summary information on new statistical releases and publications.

Page last updated: 14 November 2017

© Scottish Public Health Observatory 2014