Internal Migration to and from Fife - 1841 census figures

The published census reports, available online at histpop, give information on the birthplaces of those who were resident in Scotland.

This allows us to see:

  • how many people lived in Fife but were born elsewhere (the first table given below)
  • where, within Scotland, people born in Fife had moved to (not possible for 1841)
  • by comparing the information for different census years, whether there were any changes to this internal migration over time. Figures for 1911.

It does not tell us:

  • the breakdown of birthplaces of the residents in each parish
  • the countries of birth of those born overseas
  • the counties of birth of those born in England, Wales and Ireland
  • where in the rest of the British Isles furth* of Scotland, those who were born in Fife were living
  • how many emigrated overseas (apart from a brief note in 1841)
  • when the people moved or how long they have been resident in Fife
  • if they lived elsewhere between birth and their 1841 place of residence

[* furth: Scots preposition, meaning: outside or beyond]

For 1841, only minimal information was collected about birthplace. The census asked whether a person was born in the county of Fife, in Scotland but outwith Fife, in England, in Ireland, in the British Colonies, or in Foreign Parts.

The following table is, therefore, the only one about internal migration which can be gained from the 1841 census.

How many moved into Fife?

RESIDENT IN FIFE, BORN IN: Males Females Total males Total females Total % of those living in Fife
  < 20 Years 20 Years + < 20 Years 20 Years +
Scotland         64421 73100 137521 98.1%
England & Wales         532 691 1223 0.9%
Ireland         413 391 804 0.6%
British Colonies or Dependencies         5 5 10 0.0%
Foreign Countries         134 44 178 0.1%
Birthplace Not Stated         210 194 404 0.3%
Total Inhabitants 33614 32101 33427 40998 65715 74425 140140 100.0%
Fife         57406 65527 122933 87.7%
Birthplace in Scotland but County Not Stated         7015 7573 14588 10.4%

In 1841, however, there was a published table giving, by parish, burgh and even village, the number of males and females over and under 20 years of age, plus the number of persons born "in this county" [i.e. Fife], or "elsewhere". That table is on the histpop site, under: Census --> 1841 Scotland Enumeration Abstract --> Fife.

As an example, for Scoonie parish:

Parish, Burgh, etc Houses Persons Ages Persons born
Inhabited Uninhabited Building Males Females Total of persons Males <20 years Females <20 years Males 20 years & upwards Females 20 years & upwards In this County Elsewhere
Scoonie (Parish *) 181 16 - 460 549 1009 239 269 221 280 927 82
Leven (Town) 431 9 2 831 996 1827 423 446 408 550 1612 215
The entire Parish of Scoonie contains 2836 inhabitants. The Return states that about 50 seamen were absent.
The Return for the Town of Leven (which is a Burgh of Barony) includes the Hamlet of Scoonie Burn containing 30 inhabitants.
[ * i.e. that part of the parish which is not included in Leven Town ]

Where did Fife people move to?

Included as a footnote to the table on page 33 of the census report is the following statement about emigration: "In the Returns for the County of Fife 74 males and 32 females are stated to have emigrated to the Colonies and Foreign Countries since 1831; besides which, several of the Returns mention emigration to have taken place, without stating the amount." The original remarks are usually to be found on the introductory pages of each census enumeration book.

Sources: histpop © University of Essex : Census of Great Britain, 1841, Abstract of the answers and returns made pursuant to acts 3 & 4 Vic. c.99 and 4 Vic. c.7 intituled respectively "An act for taking an account of the population of Great Britain," and "An act to amend the acts of the last session for taking an account of the population." Scotland. Enumeration Abstract. BPP 1843 XXII (498) 29-33,77-78.