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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 June, 2004, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
'If I could move back North, I would'
Michelle Preston
Michelle loves her job but misses home
The first academic analysis of the 2001 census concludes that more and more skilled people are moving south. Graduate Michelle Preston, 22, tells BBC News Online about her experience.

I was born in Bishop Auckland, a small town in County Durham.

Last year I moved to Bristol to work as an editorial assistant at an animal rights vegetarian organisation.

It's been quite strange coming from a small town in the North East and the atmosphere is completely different.

At home you can say 'hi' to anyone walking down the street and everyone's friendly.

People seem funnier and everyone has a story to tell. But in Bristol you're a bit of a nobody, which can be nice but it can also feel quite lonely and serious.

I've bought some Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and The Likely Lads videos to remind me of home
Michelle Preston

The cost of living is a lot higher here. It would be nice to think about buying a house but that thought is not even in the air yet.

Back home, friends are starting to buy but I'm sharing a rented house and trying to save up.

I sold my car because I needed the money and I'm having to go without things I would have had in Durham, such as new clothes and music.

I also miss my family, especially when I go back to visit, but I've bought some Auf Wiedersehen Pet and The Likely Lads videos to remind me of home!

On the positive side, I've got the job I always wanted and it's great
Michelle Preston
It didn't feel like there was a North-South divide when I first arrived, but since I've been going back and forth it hits you more that there's a change in atmosphere.

There's something more romantic about Bishop Auckland.

In Bristol there are more problems such as homelessness and drugs, and physically it looks more run-down than Bishop Auckland, which is green and leafy.

But on the positive side, I've got the job I always wanted and it's great. There aren't these types of organisations in the North East.

It's a matter of settling in, but if I could live in the North East, I would.

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