Introduction Previous work in Scotland has shown that within deprived areas, declining populations have higher illness and mortality rates than stable or increasing populations. One possible explanation is that as healthy individuals move out, they are replaced by individuals in poorer health or not replaced at all, producing areas with higher concentrations of poor health. Little is currently known about the characteristics of migrants to and from these deprived areas or the populations remaining.
Methods Using data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS), which links individual level Scottish census data to vital events, we examine the socio-demographic characteristics and health status of individuals aged 16–74 who moved in and out of deprived areas with declining populations in the year prior to the 2001 census. We also examine the characteristics of those left behind.
Results 1771 SLS members remained living in a deprived, declining area while 242 individuals moved in and 466 moved out. Compared to the residentially stable, those moving were more likely to be from a non-White ethnic group (p<0.001), unemployed but seeking work (p=0.001) and single (p<0.001) while those who moved out were more likely to be from a higher social class (p<0.001). Rates of poor general health, long term illness and some causes of death were highest for those who remained in these areas.
Conclusion People who remain in deprived and declining areas have a different socio-demographic and health profile from those who move into and out of these areas; non-migrants were in worst overall health.
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