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Local-level immigration and life satisfaction: The EU enlargement experience in England and Wales

Ivlevs, Artjoms; Veliziotis, Michail


Michail Veliziotis


© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. The 2004 European Union enlargement resulted in an unprecedented wave of 1.5 million workers relocating from Eastern Europe to the UK. We study the links between this migrant inflow and life satisfaction of native residents in England and Wales. Combining the British Household Panel Survey with the Local Authority level administrative data from the Worker Registration Scheme, we find that higher levels of local immigration were associated with a decrease in life satisfaction among older, unemployed and lower-income people, and with an increase in life satisfaction among younger, employed, higher-income and better educated people. These findings are driven by the initial ‘migration shock’ – the inflows that occurred in the first two years after the enlargement. Overall, our study highlights the importance of local-level immigration in shaping the life satisfaction of receiving populations. We also argue that our results help explain the socio-demographic patterns observed in the UK Brexit vote.


Ivlevs, A., & Veliziotis, M. (2018). Local-level immigration and life satisfaction: The EU enlargement experience in England and Wales. Environment and Planning A, 50(1), 175-193.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 9, 2017
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2017
Publication Date Feb 1, 2018
Journal Environment and Planning A
Print ISSN 0308-518X
Electronic ISSN 1472-3409
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Issue 1
Pages 175-193
Keywords immigration, life satisfaction, spatial correlation approach, United Kingdom, 2004 EU enlargement
Public URL
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