Border Crossings: The Impact of Migration on the New Hampshire House of Representatives


This paper studies the political effects of population migration to New Hampshire. Data suggest that, although migration from Massachusetts caused significant “suburbanization” effects in New Hampshire over the last four decades, demographic changes have not yielded commensurate changes in voting behavior, or party registration in the state. But the New Hampshire House of Representatives reveals more impact from the dramatic population increase. Population migration has led to suburbanization of the composition of the 400-member lower chamber. Citizen-legislators native-born to New Hampshire now compose just slightly over a third of the House, a proportion far lower than that in other New England states. Also, levels of education among legislators have increased significantly. White-collar professionals and retirees now dominate the House delegations of both major parties. A review of selected roll-call votes over the past two decades reveals that party line voting on legislative bills has been on the rise in several significant issue areas. A more highly educated, white-collar citizen-legislature has not led to moderation and bipartisanship. Instead, House legislators are increasingly polarized over a series of ideologically charged issues.


Political Science

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Journal Title

New England Journal of Public Policy


University of Massachusetts

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