Wales, in common with many locations in the British Isles, had a mixed career during the economic and demographic upheavals of the late eighteenth century. Rural west Wales was especially prominent in the emigration account; it also vividly manifested some of the classic conditions making for mobility. Increased mobility in rural Wales was marked also by particular episodes of emigration which entered the folk memory. The demographic and economic career of the upland Swaledale region in the North Yorkshire Pennines demonstrates with unusual clarity several typical sequences within the long-term decline of its rural population. The Swaledale economy remained dominated by agriculture, and productivity increases were impressive, especially in dairying. Swaledale was a classic case of rural change associated with migratory adjustments to demographic and economic pressures, and was a regional variant of the common experience in rural Britain.