Retirement transition, migration and remote rural communities: evidence from the Isle of Bute

Lorna J. Philip, Marsaili MacLeod, Aileen Stockdale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores relationships between retirement and migration into and within remote rural areas. Rural areas in the UK are characterised by net population gain, with pre-retirement age migrants being an identifiable sub-group of rural in-migrants. This paper reports findings from a household survey which sought evidence for retirement transition migration into remote, rural areas. Drawing upon data collected on the Isle of Bute, Scotland, we show that the economic characteristics of migrant households and their motivations for moving vary by age group and by migrant status. Non-local moves were most common when the householder was aged 50–64. Early retirement has facilitated these moves onto Bute, allowing migrants to fulfil their residential preferences and satisfy quality of life aspirations when their place of residence is no longer tied to their place of employment. Local moves associated with retirement were most likely when the householder was aged 65+. Our findings reflect the complexity of retirement, an event individuals and households react to over an extended period of time, and demonstrate the importance of early retirement as a catalyst for bringing ‘young-old’ migrants into a remote rural area, acting as a counterbalance to the ongoing effects of outmigration by young adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-136
Number of pages15
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2013


  • rural migration
  • retirement transition
  • early retirement
  • Isle of Bute


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