Abstract We analyse the evolution of the distribution of dispersal distances in a stable and homogeneous environment in one- and two-dimensional habitats. In this model, dispersal evolves to avoid the competition between relatives although some cost might be associated with this behaviour. The evolutionarily stable dispersal distribution is characterized by an equilibration of the fitness gains among all the different dispersal distances. This cost-benefit argument has heuristic value and facilitates the comprehension of results obtained numerically. In particular, it explains why some minimal or maximal probability of dispersal may evolve at intermediate distances when the cost of dispersal function is an increasing function of distance. We also show that kin selection may favour long range dispersal even if the survival cost of dispersal is very high, provided the survival probability does not vanish at long distances.