Measuring destination attractivity: A migration example

A. Stewart Fotheringham, Tony Champion, Colin Wymer, Mike Coombes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The power of places to draw migrants is a topic of fundamental interest in geograhical and related social studies and also in policy circles. This paper describes and demonstrates the utility of a measure of migration attractivity which is considered superior to those most widely used previously. Following a review of the importance now attached to measuring place attractiveness, the paper documents the deficiences of the most commonly used methods involving numbers and rates of inmigration and net migration. It goes on to argue for a measure of the relative intrinsic attractivity (RIA) of places which takes account of the spatial context of each place in terms of its accessibility from all the other places that are 'at risk' of supplying residents to it. It applies this approach to migration that took place in 1990-91 between all the local authority districts of mainland Britain, as recorded by the 1991 Census. The resultant ranking of these 451 places on the basis of their migration attractivity for all persons is compared with the patterns indicated by more traditional measures. The paper then explores the characteristics of places to see what features are most closely associated with high and low levels of migration attractivity. Finally, RIA scores are calculated separately for two age groups thought to have different views about what makes for an attractive place to live, namely young adults, and people at the peak of the family-building stage of their lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-421
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Population Geography
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Census data
  • Destination attractivity
  • Great Britain
  • Migration
  • Spatial interaction modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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