Scottish Longitudinal Study
Development & Support Unit

Current Projects

Project Title:

Residential location, migration and occupational achievement in Scotland 1991-2001

Project Number:



Maarten van Ham (University of St Andrews)
Allan Findlay (University of Dundee)

Start Date:

Approved on 24-05-2007


Research consistently shows that residential location and migration are important in understanding labour careers. The idea is that residential location is instrumental in occupational achievement. Those who live on a location with good access to employment opportunities are most likely to experience upward job mobility. In addition it can be expected that those who invest in spatial mobility (migration) are more likely to experience upward social mobility compared to those who are not mobile. Most research uses cross sectional data, or limited longitudinal data. To assess the effect of location and migration on labour careers a longitudinal approach is needed. This projects aims to explore the role of location and mobility on occupational mobility in Scotland using the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS).

The main research question is: To what extent do residential location (access to jobs) and migration help workers advance their careers in Scotland?

The hypotheses to be tested are:

  • Good access to employment (living in a large city like Glasgow or Edinburgh) pays off in terms of occupational achievement. We will compare the changes in occupational status (1991-2001) between those living in different regions in Scotland. We will also compare rural and urban regions and zoom in on Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • Those who move over long distance within Scotland are most likely to advance their career, especially if they move to a large city. We will compare the changes in occupational status (1991-2001) between those who have not moved at all, those who move over short distance and those who moved over long distance. We will also include the destination of the move in our analysis (large city or not).
  • Those who moved to Scottish Cities from England in 1991 (place of birth and migration one year ago) will have experienced greater upward occupational mobility (1991-2001) than Scots (non-migrants) living in those cities and than Scots migrants to those cities.
  • Scotland born migrants to Scottish cities from an address in England one year prior to the 1991 Census experience less upward occupational mobility (1991-2001) than England born migrants moving to Scottish cities prior to 1991. Rationale: Return migrant Scots are more likely to return for non-labour market reasons. English migrants are more likely to be driven to move by occupational advancement. We will focus on those who moved to Scottish cities in general, and if numbers permit, we will zoom in on those who moved to Edinburgh.

Related Outputs (viewable on CALLS Hub):

Explore the variables held in the SLS data dictionary.

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