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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 18:52 GMT
Island exodus under spotlight
Leaving Anglesey graphic
Low wages and poor jobs prospects are driving young people out of Anglesey, according to a report by the University of Wales, Bangor.

It warns that 10 per cent of the population will have left the island by the year 2016

A half day conference at Llangefni Town Hall on Friday examined ways to stop the exodus.

University of Wales, Bangor
The research has been carried out at the university in Bangor

The meeting came at the end of a year in which controversy has raged over the issue of inward migration into Wales.

In the 1960s and 1970s Anglesey had the fastest growing population in Wales - but throughout the last decade of the century, people left to seek higher education and other opportunities.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show the greatest decline is in the 20 to 24 year-old-age group.

In 1992 there were 4,360 people in that age group living on Anglesey.

By the year 2000, however, that number had dropped dramatically, to just 2, 645.

But as the young leave there has been an increase in the number of people aged over 50 - as incomers head for retirement there.

The chair of the conference Anglesey's Councillor W J Williams, said: "In Anglesey we have serious concerns at the drop in the population of the island and the impact that's having on our economy and communities."

Beach on Anglesey
The island's beaches are attracting the over 50s

"In Gwynedd the population is perhaps not falling, but other changes are causing a concern about the future well being of traditional communities, their languages and culture.

"We hope that we all may have something to learn from an objective review of the subject."

The new research was commissioned jointly by Anglesey and Gwynedd Councils and aims to increase understanding of issues concerned with population migration

The conference is to hear from a speaker from Ireland about the experience of migration change across the Irish Sea.

Workshops are also being held to discuss actions and solutions to the depopulation issues raised.

Afterwards, the authority is to put together a strategy to tackle the problem and will ask the Welsh Assembly for support.

The row over inward migration into north Wales was ignited in February by Gwynedd's Plaid Cymru councillor Seimon Glyn.

He said English people settling in north Wales were a "drain on resources" who were replacing Welsh culture with their own.

Arguments over the issue continued into the National Eisteddfod in Denbigh in July.

A campaigning group, Cymuned, was formed in the summer with the objective of protecting Welsh heartlands affected by inmigration.

BBC Wales's Colette Hume reports
"It should be an idlyllic place to call home"
BBC Wales's Colette Hume reports
"Growing numbers of young people are leaving the island"
See also:

15 Nov 01 | UK
UK population set to rise
10 Aug 01 | Wales
Language protests at Eisteddfod
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