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Scotland's Diaspora and Overseas-Born Population



4.1 From the data considered, Scotland's diaspora, defined as people born in Scotland, but resident overseas, numbered in excess of 1 million. From the initial analysis undertaken here, Scotland appears to be similar to New Zealand and Ireland in so far that it has a lot of people who were born in Scotland living outside Scotland. The evidence considered here suggests that in this respect, relative to total population, Scotland's diaspora is larger than for many of the other countries in this analysis and may even be greater than that for New Zealand and Ireland. Over two-thirds of Scotland's diaspora was living in England in 2001 and from this analysis, much of the remainder was concentrated in other English-speaking countries.

4.2 In 2001, Scotland's reverse diaspora - people not born in Scotland, but resident in Scotland - numbered 651,611 (including the rest of the UK). This was almost 13% of Scotland's total resident population. Of these, 191,571 people living in Scotland were born outside the UK. However, in this respect, Scotland differs from New Zealand as fewer people appear to come to Scotland as migrants .

4.3 From the information considered here, it appears as if Scotland is more a sender than a receiver when it comes to the movement of people. Since 2001, an average of 72,000 have left Scotland each year to live outwith Scotland. The implications of this are becoming increasingly understood and the Scottish Government has introduced a population target as part of its Economic Strategy in order to address Scotland's demographic challenge. 14

4.4 For diaspora engagement policy, these findings could help direct and inform thinking. For instance, in New Zealand, attention has focused on ideas of the lived and reverse diaspora. With so many living New Zealanders around the world, Kea has been established, a global talent network that stays in touch with 25,000 New Zealanders overseas. Its funding is 50/50 public and private. 15 The reverse diaspora has also been highlighted by New Zealand because it has been argued that links with traditional, historic partners, eg the UK, are well-established and there may be considerable scope to reach out to its Asia-Pacific neighbours via people originally from those countries who now live in New Zealand.

4.5 Scotland already has developed a number of approaches to Diaspora engagement, such as the 2009 Year of Homecoming and the GlobalScot network, which have been recognised internationally as examples of innovative practice when it comes to Diaspora policy. 16

4.6 As the New Zealand paper notes, this type of analysis based on population numbers provides only a part, albeit important, of the information required to understand these aspects of Scotland's diaspora and the links between Scotland and other countries both within and outside the UK.

4.7 The recent research on Scotland's diaspora has highlighted the need for a better understanding and more research information on this subject. 17 The Scottish Government has undertaken research in recent years about people who have come to Scotland 18 and, particularly with international students 19, people who wish to live and work in Scotland. However, there are clear gaps around the drivers and factors involved in decisions to leave or stay and the extent to which a diaspora link actually matters when it comes how people behave.

4.8 Additional analysis on, for example, the characteristics of Scotland's lived diaspora such as length of stay, age, occupation, income and skills/education could also add to understandings of Scotland's lived diaspora (both overseas and in Scotland through the reverse diaspora) and inform policy development in this area.