White Flight? Opposition to Diversity and Mobility Decisions in Britain, 1991-2012

Eric P. Kaufmann, University of London
Gareth Harris, University of London

Tests of the white flight hypothesis have employed subjective surveys or objective mobility data, but not both. British work has yet to distinguish between the material and cultural aspects of neighbourhoods which are associated with white outflow and avoidance. This study combines data from the British Household Panel and Understanding Society surveys with UK longitudinal census data and findings from a specially commissioned survey of retrospective mobility. It assesses the impact of ethnic diversity and change on white British mobility decisions at ward level between 1991-2012. This is arguably the first study to link individuals' subjective attitudes with mobility data at several points in time, permitting a fuller assessment of the white flight hypothesis than has hitherto been possible. We find that white ethnocentrism and xenophobia matter, but exert only an indirect and marginal effect on white British residential mobility.

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Presented in Session 193: New Directions in the Study of Neighborhoods and Residential Segregation