Journal of Social Sciences

Rural and Urban Attitudes toward Immigrants in the U.S. Midwest and Great Plains

Miguel Ceballos, Oksana Yakushko and Courtney Lyons

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2014.150.161

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 10, Issue 4

Pages 150-161


Recent immigration has transformed much of the Midwest and Great Plains regions of the United States, affecting its rural and urban areas through dramatic increases in the foreign-born population and in particular Latino immigrant populations. This study examines three theories of prejudice: Perceptions of threat, contact with immigrants and a cosmopolitanism outlook, in predicting rural and urban attitudes toward immigrants in Nebraska, a state experiencing a substantial rise in immigrant populations. We use a large, randomly drawn sample of individuals across the state of Nebraska. Using ordinary least squares methods we show that the effects of perceived threat, contact and a cosmopolitan outlook vary within and between rural and urban areas of the state. Perceived threat was found to have the greatest negative effects on attitudes toward immigrants for those who live in small cities and the open country or on farms, while contact with immigrants and a cosmopolitan outlook was found to have the greatest positive effect on attitudes for those living in large cities and for towns. Implications for growing the Latino population are discussed.


© 2014 Miguel Ceballos, Oksana Yakushko and Courtney Lyons. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.