Immigration and well-being

The effect of immigration on the welfare of the UK-born population is the subject of intense political debate. In public discourse, immigration is often associated with adverse effects on employment opportunities for those born in the UK, as well as additional burdens on taxpayers through rising health care costs and demand for social services. However the existing evidence suggests that immigration has had few, if any, negative effects on the economic outcomes of those born in the UK.

This study will move beyond ‘objective’ measures of welfare such as wages and employment, and investigate if immigration affects the well-being of the UK-born population (either positively or negatively) as captured by ‘subjective’ indicators of well-being. By spatially linking the British Household Panel Survey and its successor, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, with immigration statistics and indicators of diversity from the Office of National Statistics, it will look at the effect of immigration on indicators such as life satisfaction, mental health, happiness and perceptions of safety, and examine variation over time and by individual and place characteristics.

The study will provide policy-relevant findings on immigration and integration policies.

This project is one of three funded by the Nuffield Foundation that will be working closely together to better understand the drivers of individuals’ well-being. The other projects are: The impact of ethnic diversity on wellbeing and health and Investigating people-place effects in the UK