Sun corrects net migration graph which didn’t reflect the latest data

31 May 2023
What was claimed

Annual net migration increased by 100,000 between June 2022 and December 2022.

Our verdict

Revised Office for National Statistics figures published recently show that net migration in the year ending June 2022 was around 606,000—the same as in the year ending December 2022.

The Sun has amended a graph published in an article on its website on 25 May showing net migration figures which did not accurately reflect the latest data, after being contacted by Full Fact.

The graph, titled “net migration hits record high”, showed how annual net migration to the UK (the difference between the number of long-term arrivals to the UK and the number of long-term departures from it) has increased since June 2020, reaching 606,000 in the year to December 2022.

The graph appeared to be based on previous quarterly figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), some of which have since been revised upwards. As a result, the graph suggested a lower level of net migration for several past quarters than shown by the ONS’s latest figures.

The graph's caption, which highlighted "a jump of 100,000 since June 2022", similarly did not reflect the ONS's latest data, which revised the net migration figure for the year ending June 2022 up from 504,000 to 606,000.

The ONS says that these revisions are due to an “improvement in methods” attributed to a number of factors, “most notably the inclusion of asylum seekers”.

In addition, despite having presented the data on a quarterly basis, the graph appeared not to include the quarterly figure for September 2022, which according to the ONS was 637,000.

As a result of these errors, the graph presented the inaccurate impression that net migration increased steeply between the year to June 2022 and the year to December 2022. In reality, ONS figures show that while net migration in the year to December 2022 was higher than a year previously—and, indeed, the highest recorded in a calendar year—it was in fact similar to levels in the year ending June 2022.

We often see graphs and charts which are inaccurate, and this can give an incomplete or misleading picture of matters of public debate. Where official data is presented in an inaccurate or misleading way, it is important that this is corrected as quickly as possible. We’re grateful to The Sun for correcting this error in a timely manner.

Image courtesy of dannyman

We took a stand for good information.

As detailed in our fact check, the Sun amended its graph after we got in touch.

Don’t put up with bad information.

Add your name and join the fight for higher standards.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.