Residential Mobility Constraints and Immigration Restrictionism

  • Yamil Ricardo VelezEmail author
Original Paper


Prevailing theories of public opinion toward immigration posit that responses to immigration are partially a function of local area demographics. However, evaluations of these theories suffer from the critique that local immigration patterns and attitudes toward immigrants are endogenous due to residential self-selection. Recent efforts attempt to address this problem by using experimental designs that reduce the possibility of selection bias. Instead of viewing residential mobility as a source of bias, I develop a theory that treats residential mobility and political behavior as interconnected strategies for responding to demographic change. Across two large sample studies, I find that residents who live in diversifying communities and face residential mobility constraints are more likely to express dissatisfaction with immigration and less likely to report desires to move than those who reside in more exit-friendly destinations.


Context Immigration Residential mobility Political behavior 



I would like to thank Ben Newman, John Kane, Stanley Feldman, Leonie Huddy, Jason Barabas, Oleg Smirnov, Ryan Enos, Daniel Hopkins, Howard Lavine, Vesla Weaver, Brad Jones, Bryan Wilcox-Archuleta, Eric Kaufmann, Logan Dancey, Erika Franklin Fowler, and Matthew Hall for their helpful comments and feedback. I am also grateful to anonymous reviewers, editors, department colleagues, and discussants for helping improve the manuscript. The author declares that they have no conflict of interest. Data and supporting materials necessary to reproduce the numerical results in the article are available in the Political Behavior Dataverse (

Supplementary material

11109_2018_9517_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (290 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 289 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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