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The Political Socialization of Adolescent Children of Immigrants

Authors


  • This author will share all data and coding information for replication purposes. This research was supported by a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation (RSF Project # 88–06–12, Chandra Muller, PI, and Rebecca Callahan, Co-PI), by grant 5 R24 HD042849, Population Research Center, awarded to the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Child Development (NICHD), from the grant 5 T32 HD007081, Training Program in Population Studies, awarded to the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin by the NICHD. This research uses data from Add Health, a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the NICHD, data from the AHAA study, which was funded by a grant (R01 HD040428–02, Chandra Muller, PI) from the NICHD and a grant (REC-0126167, Chandra Muller, PI) from the National Science Foundation. We would like to thank the Education and the Transition to Adulthood Group and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments in the development of this article. Opinions reflect those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the granting agencies.

Abstract

Objectives

This study aims to evaluate the adolescent political socialization processes that predict political participation in young adulthood, and whether these processes are different for children of immigrants compared to white third-plus-generation adolescents. We focus on socialization agents based in the family, community, and school.

Methods

We use a nationally representative longitudinal survey of adolescents to evaluate the predictors of three measures of political participation—voter registration, voting, and political party identification—and whether the process leading to political participation varies by immigrant status and race/ethnic group.

Results

We find that the parental education level of adolescents is not as predictive for many minority children of immigrants compared to white children of native-born parents for registration. Additionally, the academic rigor of the courses taken in high school has a greater positive estimated effect on the likelihood of registration and party identification for Latino children of immigrants compared to white third-plus-generation young adults.

Conclusions

The process of general integration into U.S. society for adolescent children of immigrants may lead to differing pathways to political participation in young adulthood, with certain aspects of their schooling experience having particular importance in developing political participation behaviors.

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