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The Administrative Data Research Network is an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 - July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, to be launched later in 2018.

Migration to Scottish new towns and the impact on premature mortality in Glasgow

Research overview

By comparing mental ability and mortality risk of those who stayed and moved in and out of Glasgow in the 1950s and 60s, especially to regions with new towns, this project looks at what impact selective migration has had on premature mortality in the area.


By better understanding the social and economic implications of migration, government departments may be able to develop policies to reduce premature mortality rates.

More about the project

Glasgow residents have shorter lives than those living in other Scottish cities. Glasgow citizens also have shorter lives than residents of English cities with similar levels of poverty and deprivation. It is not clear why this is. One theory suggests that ‘selective migration’ from Glasgow may contribute. Selective migration is when the wealthier and healthier move out of a city leaving behind those who are poorer and less healthy.
Five Scottish new towns were built between 1947 and 1966. The purpose of the new towns was to rehouse those living in overcrowded Glasgow tenements, accommodate workers for planned industrial development, and rehabilitate depressed industrial communities. Government policy at this time was to move younger, more skilled workers and their families from Glasgow to the Scottish new towns. The aim of this research is to examine the impact of migration to new towns on premature mortality in Glasgow.
In 1947, 11 year olds in Scotland sat a mental ability test, the Scottish Mental Survey. This data has been previously linked to modern health records in order to study how early childhood circumstances affect health in later life. We are proposing to extend the linkage to include region of residence. We will compare mental ability and mortality risk of those who stayed and moved in and out of Glasgow, especially to regions with new towns. This will allow us to see what impact selective migration has had on Glasgow’s health.


Government departments

Scottish Government

Date approved

December 2016

Lead researcher

Lynne Forrest, University of Edinburgh

Image: Glenrothes,. Taken by Mcwesty and published via Wikimedua under license CC BY-SA 4.0

Page last updated: 24/10/2017