Has the population tide already begun to turn?
The regeneration of Tyneside and the healthy regional economy could be attracting people back to the North-East, experts claimed yesterday.
Tony Champion, professor of population geography at Newcastle University, believes that the two years since the census was taken has seen people coming to region to retire, take advantage of the housing market and economic recovery.
"The census is already two years old and the data refers to a 10-year period between 1991 and 2001, and a lot can happen in two years," he said.
"In the early 1990s we were in a national economic recession and since then we have seen quite a good economic recovery and that is always seen first in London and the South-East before it ripples out across the rest of the country, but it usually happens that as the North is feeling the benefits of an economic upturn the first signs of a recession are being seen in London.
"If the jobs are available then you may get people who are out of work in London returning the region. There are also older people who are nearing retirement age and move to the North to take advantage of the house prices.
"I would guess that the net migration figure is much lower than the average in the census."
His opinions were echoed by relocation agent Joyce Douglas of Northumbria and Cumbria Estates, who said she had arranged for more people to move into the North-East than move out.
"There are a lot of people from the South who are moving North at the moment and I honestly think the information in the census is dated already."
Barry Wilkinson, marketing manager for Connexions Tyne and Wear, which helps young people find jobs, said that training and education in the North-East is equal to the South and the region could hold onto its young talent.
"With the decline of the engineering industries many people left the region to continue their skilled work elsewhere and that was usually older men who would take their families with them," he said.
"However, with the success of Swan Hunters shipyard that may attract some people back."
The Journal: The Voice of the North
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