The Impact of Race and Ethnicity, Immigration and Political Context on Participation in American Electoral Politics

Jennifer Darrah, Harvard University
Sookhee Oh, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Publication Date:
Jan 2012
Published In:
Project Programs:

This study uses national survey data in federal election years from 1996 through 2004 to examine voter registration and voting. It shows that racial/ethnic disparities in socioeconomic resources and rootedness in the community do not explain overall group differences in electoral participation. It contradicts the expectation from an assimilation perspective that low levels of Latino participation are partly attributable to the large share of immigrants among Latinos. In fact net differences show higher average Latino participation than previously reported. The study focuses especially on contextual factors that could affect collective responses of group members. Moving beyond past research, significant effects are found for the group’s representation among office holders, voting regulations and state policies related to treatment of immigrants.


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