The Civic Roots of Political Participation among Immigrants in the United States

Project Date:
Jun 2005
Award Amount:
Project Programs:

Many scholars of immigration and political science fear that, politically speaking, recent immigrants to the United States lag behind the pace set by early twentieth century immigrants. However, there are other ways in which immigrants gain access to the political system, besides holding electoral office. Today’s immigrants show strong involvement with neighborhood associations and labor unions. In so doing, they may develop the skills and leadership experiences that subsequently enable them to engage in other, more conventional forms of political participation.


Political scientist Karthick Ramakrishnan has received a grant from the Foundation to examine the relationship between immigrant status, volunteerism, and political status. He will work with focus groups in six metropolitan areas to examine immigrants’ reasons for participating in volunteer organization and political activities. He will also conduct case studies that will involve interviews with local elected officials, journalists in ethnic and mainstream media, and the leadership and outreach staff of civic organizations. The goal of these interviews is to determine the links between civic organizations and various institutions and processes of local governance.


Reports and Publications


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.


Join our mailing list for email updates.