Secularization and migration in Scotland: a test of the modernization hypothesis

Peteke Feijten, University of St Andrews
Jasper van Dijck, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Paul J. Boyle, University of St Andrews

Drawing on modernization theory, this study investigates whether secularization is associated with rural-urban migration on an individual level. The hypothesis is tested for Scotland, using data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study, a 5.3% population sample linking the 1991 and 2001 censuses. It is analysed whether individuals who became secular over the 10-year period had higher migration rates into cities. The findings confirm that individuals who have become secular are more likely to have moved from a rural to an urban settlement. This finding does not explain the direction of causality, however. Are secularized individuals more likely to move to a city because they feel more at home there than in a rural area? Or do those who move to cities become secular more often, because they are subject to the modern and diverse urban environment? Difference-in-difference models are applied to gain insight into this matter. We also look at possible differences between Protestants and Catholics (who became secular), and at regional differences (of both origin and destination). Our results show that religion is still an important factor in internal migration in contemporary Scotland.

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Presented in Session 9: Internal migration, regional and urban issues