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Centre for Earth and Environmental Science Research

Population Change in Mid-Wales, 1960s to 1990s

Executive Summary
ResearchersProf. N. S. Walford (Principal Investigator): CEESR
Funding Body/SourceNuffield Foundation
DurationAug 1996-Sep 2007
Project SummaryIn the 1960s the Beacham Report pronounced that Mid-Wales, like other rural areas, would probably experience continued population decline during the closing decades of the 20th century. This did not occur and Mid-Wales became one of the fastest growing areas in terms of net population change through migration and subsequently natural growth.

This research project, which started in the mid-1990s with a survey of households in the beacham Mid-Wales area has charted the migration histories residents and explored the reasons for the reversal in population growth and the effect on the local areas. The project included a time-series analysis of Population Census statistics, which provided an initial demonstration that digital boundary data files of 1981 Census Enumeration Districts and 1971-81 Census Tracts could feasible be created from scanned microfilmed maps.

The original research project has been extended by incorporating analysis of interaction data for migration flows as recorded by the 1981, 1991 and 2001 Population Censuses. These data have been combined with neighbourhood classification data to explore the geodemographic nature of migrational linkages between Mid-Wales and other parts of Wales and England. This research is providing important new insights into the enduring and infrequent connections formed by migrants moving between small spatial units (wards) over recent decades. A combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches, the latter involving the application of spatial analytic techniques, allows the research to explore inter-settlement migration and to investigate continuing localised population decline within a generally re-populating rural area.


2001 Walford, N. S. Reconstructing the small area geography of Mid-Wales for an analysis of population change 1961-95, International Journal of Population Geography, 7: 311-338.

2004 Walford, N. S. Searching for a residential resting place: population in-migration and circulation in Mid-Wales, Population Space and Place, 10: 311-329.

2007 Walford, N. S. Geographical and geodemographic connections between the origins and destinations of migrants to Mid-Wales, Journal of Rural Studies, 23, 318-331.

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