Political Participation Among Latinos in the United States: The Effect of Group Identity and Consciousness


  • *Direct correspondence to Zulema Valdez, Department of Sociology, Texas A&M University, 4351 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4351 〈zavaldez@libarts.tamu.edu〉. The author thanks the participants of the Latino National Survey Junior Scholar Conference held at Cornell University and the anonymous reviewers for their comments. Data and program codes for replicating this research can be obtained from the author on request.


Objective. How do group identity and consciousness affect Latinos' political participation in the United States? Recent studies that examine this relationship generally focus on a single ethnic group, for example, Mexicans, or the panethnic group, Latino/Hispanic, which limits the scope of their results. This study investigates how group identity and consciousness affect the political participation of differently identified Latinos.

Methods. Using the unique 2007 Latino National Survey (LNS), a telephone survey of 8,500 Latino respondents, I investigate how group identity and consciousness affect political participation, as measured by electoral and nonelectoral activities.

Results. Findings suggest that Latinos who self-identify as American are more likely to engage in political action; however, a sense of group consciousness among ethnic, panethnic, and racial-identified Latinos alters this effect.

Conclusion. The type of and extent to which Latinos engage in political action is contingent on primary self-identity and specific aspects of group consciousness.