In a new article, political scientists Sunshine Hillygus, Seth McKee, and McKenzie Young show that whites who have moved to the South are more likely to be Democratic than lifelong Southerners.
They draw this conclusion by looking at data going back to the 1970s from the American National Election Studies survey. Since 1968, the survey has asked respondents where they grew up. This allowed Hillygus and her colleagues to categorize white residents of Southern states as “natives” (people who grew up in the region) and “migrants” (people who grew up elsewhere). It’s important to note that their analysis focuses only on whites, so it cannot speak to the region’s growing diversity.