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Socio-economic dislocation and inter-war emigration to Canada and the United States: A Scottish snapshot

Harper, Marjory; Evans, Nicholas J.


Marjory Harper


During the 1920s emigration from Scotland exceeded the natural growth of population. Yet relatively little attention has been paid to the mechanisms of relocation, the regional and occupational origins and destinations of the emigrants or their demographic profile. This article draws on the recently compiled Scottish Emigration Database to provide a quantitative snapshot of the circumstances of 18,512 passengers who embarked on the lower Clyde in the first four months of 1923. The first section explains the rationale, methodology and historiographical context of the database. Then, after outlining the economic, social and political climate in inter-war Scotland, the article investigates the extent to which decay, dislocation and disillusionment - or alternatively opportunity and ambition - provoked transatlantic emigration. Reference is made to local and regional issues within Scotland, notably in the urban-industrial central belt and the crofting communities of the Hebrides. Setting the Scottish experience within the wider framework of British emigration policy between the wars, it also evaluates the effectiveness of empire settlement legislation in recruiting and retaining settlers for Canada against the competing attractions of the United States. © 2006 Taylor & Francis.


Harper, M., & Evans, N. J. (2006). Socio-economic dislocation and inter-war emigration to Canada and the United States: A Scottish snapshot. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 34(4), 529-552.

Journal Article Type Review
Online Publication Date Nov 28, 2006
Publication Date Dec 1, 2006
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2019
Journal Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Print ISSN 0308-6534
Electronic ISSN 1743-9329
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 4
Pages 529-552
Public URL
Publisher URL

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