International migration: estimating movement in and out of the UK and those living here now

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International migration: estimating movement in and out of the UK and those living here now

25 November 2021

Today the Centre for International Migration has published our best estimates of long-term international migration in 2020, as well as the population of the UK by country of birth and nationality for the year to June 2021. Alongside these releases, we have published a blog explaining the differences between these two sets of statistics, and when you should and shouldn’t compare them.

These are part of a series of releases this week, highlighting how we are transforming our population and migration statistics. We are sharing our research progress as well as providing timely insights into migration as we develop our statistics.

Tomorrow, we will publish our research on transforming our population and migration statistics. This will include explaining our proposed design for a transformed migration statistics system which will integrate modelled estimates with admin-based migration estimates (ABMEs), our development and understanding of our admin-based population estimates (ABPEs), and research into how the student population of England and Wales appears in administrative data.

About the releases:

Population of the UK by country of birth and nationality: year ending June 2021

The latest population estimates for the UK by country of birth and nationality, covering the period from 2004 to the year ending June 2021. Our best estimates show that while non-UK born and non-British populations remained broadly stable in the year-ending June 2021, the number of people living in the UK who were born outside of the EU (excluding the UK) increased, and those with EU nationality fell.

These estimates are based on the Labour Force Survey, which has used a new weighting methodology to reflect the change in survey operations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; data below UK, EU and non-EU level should be treated with caution and not be compared with previous years.

Read the bulletin

Long-term international migration, provisional: year ending December 2020

Our latest provisional modelled estimates of international migration flows reveal the likely impact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and Brexit had upon migration levels in 2020. While there is no evidence of an exodus from the UK in 2020, the figures suggest that UK migration fell to the lowest level seen for many years, with global travel restrictions meaning the movement of people was limited. These are our best current estimates for international migration over this period, however they are modelled figures based on experimental research and subject to a high level of uncertainty.

Read the bulletin

Experimental migration data: No evidence of UK exodus

The latest provisional modelled estimates suggest that although net international migration to the UK fell in 2020, there is no evidence of an exodus. In today’s blog, Jay Lindop explains what can be interpreted from today’s experimental statistics, why they shouldn’t be compared to population figures and ongoing improvements to build and refine them.

Read the blog

Other publications in this series


You may also be interested in our blog Providing faster and better estimates of the population published earlier this week which explains how we are improving population and migration statistics.


Related publications you may be interested in

How we are improving migration and population statistics - find out more about our population and migration statistics transformation journey.

Rich Pereira

Rich Pereira is the head of the Centre for Ageing and Demography. You can follow Rich on Twitter for the latest in population statistics news @RichPereira_ONS.


Becky Tinsley

Becky Tinsley is the Deputy Director for Social Statistics Transformation, Analysis and Research.

Jay Lindop

Jay Lindop is the head of the Centre for International Migration. You can follow Jay on Twitter for the latest in migration statistics news @JayLindop_ONS.


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