Kaufmann, E. (2013) Immigration Studies Initiative, University of Texas at Austin, USA. 21 March 2013 [ONS LS]
Other information: Abstract:
The paper asks whether white attitudes to immigration affect the decision of respondents to leave - or avoid - diverse wards. Is white flight related to white nationalism? This analysis uses the 1991-2008 British Household Panel Survey and 2009-13 Understanding Society datasets, linked to decennial census data, to help answer a puzzle that emerges from 2007-12 Citizenship Survey data: why white UK-born residents appear to be more tolerant towards immigration in more ethnically diverse areas compared to those who live in more homogenous wards. This pattern has been found in the vast majority of studies of attitudes to immigrants, minorities and immigration in the US and Europe. Rarely does a dataset permit the analyst to track the demographic, geographic and attitudinal properties of respondents. The BSPS/Understanding Society is an important exception due to its longitudinal nature, large size (permitting geocoding) and inclusion of political and attitudinal items.The leading explanation for such a pattern is contact theory, which claims that a larger share of minorities/immigrants in the locale increases opportunities for interpersonal contact between members of different ethnic groups. At larger geographies such as local authority, county or metropolitan area, the reverse (more minorities increasing white threat perceptions) appears to be the case in the literature because segregation may limit opportunities for localised inter-ethnic contact.