Does frequent internet use increase the propensity to change address? UK evidence from Understanding Society on mobility preferences, expectations and moves

Neil Rowland*, Ian Shuttleworth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Long-term declines in rates of internal migration have been widely documented in many developed economies. Accompanying this decline has been a proliferation in the everyday use of new technologies such as the internet. New communication technologies have been theorised to influence migration decisions, but the direction of this influence is ambiguous, with some studies finding that they decrease migration, others that they increase it. Using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, this paper assesses the relationship between internet use and preferences/expectations to change address as well as the decision to move. Although frequent users of the internet tend to be more mobile on average, longitudinal analysis offers no evidence that internet use influences migratory preferences and expectations or actual moves. This paper contributes to the literature by studying a developed country with high levels of internet penetration, by engaging not only with actual moves but also with preferences and expectations to move, and by drawing on longitudinal data to address unmeasured confounding in so far as possible. More broadly, it provides a reference point for future studies which might consider whether internet use plays a different role in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2755
Number of pages12
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Early online date15 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 15 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development

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