Topic: Migration experiences and tolerance towards immigrants
keywords: Migration – Immigration – Tolerance – Iceland
Previous research has yielded detailed information about the background, perceptions and experiences of those who are less tolerant of immigration and immigrants. While less is known about the effects of domestic and international migration experiences on the attitutes of the migrants themselves, there is some evidence that less mobile people are also less trusting, less open to change, and hold more conservative social and political attitudes. In Britan, people who still resided in their county of birth were thus more likely to vote in favour of Brexit and in the United States people who had never left their home town were more likely to vote for Trump, independent of race, income and education. In this study, we examine the effects of domestic and international migration experiences on tolerance towards immigation in three communities in Northern Iceland. While Iceland experienced massive internal migration to the Reykjavík capital area in the 20th century, internal migration has slowed considerably and rapid international immigration has contributed to both continued urban growth and the revival of stagnant or declining rural regions. Our results show that a large proportion of residents of Icelandic origin in Northern Iceland have lived in other regions or abroad. Controlling for factors such as gender, education, employment, and generalised trust, domestic in-migrants and local return-migrants hold considerably more favorable attitudes towards international immigration to the local community than those who have never lived elsewhere. These results are discussed in the context of changing patterns of mobilities and immobilities in western societies.