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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.

The impact of social mobility and migration to new towns on health inequalities in Glasgow

Research overview

By analyzing a range of information such as where people live and where they have lived before, what social class they belong to, how they performed on a mental ability test and health information, the researchers want to find out what impact people’s social and economic circumstances as well as their environment has on their health in the Glasgow region.


By better understanding the effects of migration and social mobility on health in Glasgow, the government can use this research as a basis to inform policies to create a better health expectancy for the people of Glasgow in particular, but also around the UK.

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 health and social mobility in Glasgow.
In 1947, 11 year olds in Scotland sat a mental ability test, the Scottish Mental Survey. A subset of this data has been previously linked to mortality records in order to study how early childhood circumstances impact later health. We are proposing to extend the linkage to include region of residence, health outcomes and social class in childhood. We will compare the social mobility of those who stayed with those who moved both in and out of Glasgow. We will look at who moved from Glasgow to regions with new towns. We will compare the adult health of those who moved with the health of those staying in Glasgow and also those who moved into Glasgow. These comparisons will show the effect and impact of migration and social mobility on health in Glasgow.

Government departments

Scottish Government

Date approved

January 2017

Lead Researcher

Lynne Forrest, University of Edinburgh

Image: Cumbernauld. Taken by BJ Smur and published via Wikimedia Commons under licensCC BY-SA 2.0

Page last updated: 24/10/2017