Cornwall is arguably the poorest county in England, but since the 1960s it has been the recipient of some of the highest levels of in-migration. The result of this has seen Cornwall experience some of fastest rates of population growth. This has taken place in the context of counterurbanisation, a process that has been argued to be economically beneficial. Cornwall therefore seems to provide two paradoxical conditions; first, comparative economic poverty has not deterred large numbers of people wishing to live in the county and second, sustained population growth seems to have failed to lift Cornwall from economic poverty. This thesis is an empirical piece of research that analyses the underlying processes of in-migration in Cornwall. This explores the characteristics of in-migrants drawing predominantly on secondary data from the ONS Longitudinal Study and the Census. It also considers a range of additional sources of socio-economic data to contextualise Cornwall's in-migration. By comparing the processes of in-migration in Cornwall with other areas it is clear that environmental reasons underpin the strategies of many in-migrants and they are often characterised by low levels of economic dynamism. However the analyses also examine in-migrants at a number of spatial scales and this reveals a high level of heterogeneity of migrant flows within the county. The findings of the thesis serve to highlight some of the complexities and multidimensionality of counterurbanisation particularly in regard to how causal processes may be spatially and temporally variable and how the effects may be unequally distributed across time, space and for different sub-groups.

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