Americans today appear more divided along partisan lines than ever, and this polarization extends to where they choose to live. Stanford University scholar Iris Hui found that political party affiliation can change desirability of a residential location by as much as 20 percent. As a result, legislative districts may become more lopsided, creating more partisan legislatures. In an interview, Hui points out that the most important factors continue to be safety, amenities, schools, and distance to workplaces. Political affiliation serves as a “tiebreaker” of sorts to the more primary reasons for neighborhood choice….
….Effect on legislatures
The findings present real-world implications beyond the neighborhoods themselves. Hui points out, “residential segregation by partisanship” has been increasing since the 1990s and has contributed to legislative polarization—a sort of “Red” vs. “Blue” effect at local, state, and federal levels. (Red refers to Republican and Blue to Democrat.) “Even if a small fraction of partisans make choices on a political basis, the cumulative effect in the long run can greatly augment population differences across space,” she says. But the effect should not be overstated. People are not moving simply for political reasons primarily, she says. At any given time only a modest measure of residential sorting by party occurs. And even the allure of like-minded partisans does not compensate for limited job prospects or bad schools…..
Seeking politically compatible neighbors? The role of neighborhood partisan composition in residential sorting
Source: James G. Gimpela, Iris S. Huib, Political Geography, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 12 February 2015
From the abstract:
High rates of internal migration throughout the United States offer opportunities to examine the factors underlying residential selection and neighborhood choice. We devise a survey experiment where respondents are shown photographs of properties and information about the local socioeconomic environment. By providing and varying additional information about the neighborhood partisan composition, our survey experiment explores how political information affects property evaluation. We find that the same property will be evaluated more favorably by partisans when they learn that it is situated in a predominantly co-partisan neighborhood. A second experiment examines how people make judgments about neighborhood partisan composition in the absence of readily available information. We learn that correct inferences about the politics of a locale can be drawn from non-political information about it, even without exposure to direct information about its partisan balance.