Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 2013

Abstract

Immigration to the United States has increased markedly in the past two decades, including significant growth in rural areas. Using General Social Survey data we compare rural and urban attitudes toward immigration in the United States. Our analyses reveal that, first, overall opposition is more pronounced in rural areas. Second, notions of a distinct American identity matter for urban, but not rural, residents. Third, beliefs about immigration are salient predictors in both regions. Fourth, political ideology is a determinant exclusively among rural residents, whereas political affiliation is a determinant solely among urban residents. Fifth, race and education level are significant determinants of immigration attitudes among both rural and urban individuals. Finally, when holding key factors constant, community residence does not predict immigration attitudes. Our findings suggest cohesion among Americans when it comes to beliefs about the "costs" of immigration, yet differences between rural and urban regions shaped by American identity and political persuasion.

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