Those of you who aren’t on holiday will have noting the lack of posts – alas, once Westminsiter shuts down for the Summer the media stop conducting polls about what they are up to. There is no Populus poll this month and little else worth commenting on except for PR bumpf like 2% of people asking someone out because they liked the book they were reading and people in Brighton feeling luckiest (based on a sample of 50 or so).
The most interesting poll I’ve managed to find this week is one by ICM for the BBC that supposedly showed that 53% of people would consider emigrating (it was actually a rather strange multiple option question. The 53% seems to come from subtracting the 47% of people who said they would never consider emigration and the 1% of don’t knows from the total). Personally I dislike questions along the lines of “have you ever considered?”, since they give no guide of how seriously someone considering something. Strictly speaking I’m sure most people have pondered living abroad as some fleeting fancy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be on a plane next week. The more interesting answer was the 13% of people who told ICM they were hoping to emigrate in the near future.
It is likely that in mast cases this is a rather vague hope – annual emigration from the UK is around a quarter of a million, and it would be surprising were it to suddenly jump to 5 million – but it does indicate that a substantial proportion of the UK population would seriously like to emigrate. There was an obvious age disparity on the question – 25% of under 25s said they hoped to emigrate soon compared to only 3% of pensioners. Single people were also more likely to want to emigrate than those who were married or living with a partner.
The most popular locations for people who would consider emigration are, unsurprisingly, the white Commonwealth and Spain. Australia was top on 40%, followed by Spain on 31%, Canada on 24% and New Zealand on 22%. Then came the USA (21%), France (18%) and Italy (10%). No other country appealled to more than 9% of respondents.
Asked why they would like to emigrate (in what appears to be an open ended question), the most oft cited reasons were the generic “better quality of life” (37%) and “better weather” (32%). More critical reasons were the expense of living in Britain (24%), that they didn’t like what Britain had become (12%), to much government interference (5%) or too much taxation (5%).