One explanation of the results of the UK EU Referendum and the US Presidential Election in 2016 has been as a triumph of citizens of ‘somewhere’ – localised and rooted – over the cosmopolitan and spatially mobile citizens of ‘anywhere’, placing residential mobility and its effects on political attitudes at the heart of debates about the causes of populist voting. This paper contributes to these debates by using Understanding Society to examine how residential mobility shaped Referendum voting intentions with a particular focus on the differential impacts of short- and long-distance moves. It also explores how the effects of migration vary by age. It finds that for an all-age sample those respondents who made at least one address change of 50km or more were less likely plan to vote Leave relative to those who did not move at all. Restricting the analysis to those aged 25 or older, residential mobility became statistically insignificant; Brexit voting could be explained without reference to residential mobility. However, analysing only 16-24 year olds, long-distance residential mobility was again statistically significant even in the fully-specified model. It is concluded that residential mobility is most important and formative for the attitudes of younger people but has little or no impact on older sections of the population.
- Residential Mobility