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This is from the BBC website. UK net migration hits all-time record

UK net migration hit 504,000 in the year to June.

As English is not my native language, I would probably say "until June this year" rather than "in the year to june."

Would it be not idiomatic if I said "until June this year"?

2 Answers 2

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Your suggested alternative does not mean the same as the original BBC text.

It has been pointed out by David K that 'the year to June' in the BBC story may be ambiguous. The source of the figure, the UK Government Office of National Statistics, says:

  1. Population change

Net migration for the UK in the year ending June 2022

Net international migration, which is the difference calculated between immigration and emigration within the same period, added to the UK population in the year ending (YE) June 2022. This was estimated to be at 504,000, an increase of 331,000 compared with the YE June 2021 (173,000).

'The year to June' in a story dated today 'November 24 2022' here means 'the 12-month period that ended with June 2022'. The graph included with the story makes this clear. It shows an increasing trend in 12 month periods ending in the months of June 2020, 2021, and 2022.

'Until June this year' would just mean 'an unspecified period of time that ended in June 2022'.

To clarify, in the 12 months to June 2022, the figure for people immigrating long-term into the UK was around 1,100,000. The figure for people emigrating long-term out of the UK was around 560,000. The net figure (around 504,000 immigrating) was obtained by subtracting the smaller figure from the larger one.

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    This may be a British English vs. US English thing, but I find "the year to June" ambiguous and (in the absence of other clues) would guess it probably meant the first six months of the current calendar year. For the 12-month period that ended with June I would say "the year ending in June."
    – David K
    Nov 25, 2022 at 15:12
  • @DavidK - Yes. The UK Office of National Statistics, from where the Guardian must have got the figure, says 'Net migration for the UK in the year ending June 2022: Net international migration, which is the difference calculated between immigration and emigration within the same period, added to the UK population in the year ending (YE) June 2022. ' (my bold emphasis) Nov 25, 2022 at 15:18
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    In light of that, maybe it's not so much a British/US thing as a difference between the precise language of a statistical publication and the (frequently) less precise language of a newspaper article.
    – David K
    Nov 25, 2022 at 15:22
  • @DavidK - I have added your point to the answer. Thanks. Nov 25, 2022 at 15:24
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    @DarthPseudonym - where I work (UK, finance) 'year to date', with or without hyphens, or 'YTD', means 'from the first day of the current year (whether the fiscal, tax, or calendar year, which is specified or understood in the context) to the present date', (that's what 'to date' means) and this seems to be the common usage elsewhere too. Nov 25, 2022 at 16:06
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Your version is incorrect, but it's a very common issue with "until".

"Until" means the complete main clause was true or happening continuously starting some time in the past and finishing at the time indicated, after which time it stopped doing it or it stopped being true.

In your example, this means UK net migration was continuously hitting 504,000 again and again for the 12 month period starting July 1 of last year and finishing June 30 of this year. After June 30, it either started hitting a different number, or stopped hitting any number.

Generally speaking, we use "until" to describe things that stopped being true or stopped happening at some specific time. We tend to use other forms to indicate time spans.

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  • I understand the point. Thanks that was informative. So, instead of until, can we say "UK net migration hit 504,000 by june this year."
    – Yunus
    Nov 24, 2022 at 16:50
  • @yunus Exactly.
    – gotube
    Nov 24, 2022 at 17:39
  • The figures mean that a net figure of 504,000 people immigrated into the UK between June 2021 and June 2022. Nov 24, 2022 at 21:06
  • Oh, I am confused. I thought it referred to 6 months from the start of the year 2021, ending in June. So, that was why I had said "...Until June this year", thinking that it would refer to the beginning of the year until the end of June. But now I understand, it would be wrong.
    – Yunus
    Nov 24, 2022 at 21:19
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    @yunus - They would write 'this year up to June' if that is what they meant. Nov 24, 2022 at 21:27

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