Document Type



Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU)

Publication Date



Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Social class differences in civic engagement persist for both youth and adults. Although empirical evidence is mixed, several recent social changes pertaining to youth suggest that social inequalities in civic engagement may be growing over time for young people. Using data from the National Election Study, we compared trends for youth and older adults of varying education levels and tested the hypothesis of an increasing educational disparity in youth political participation. Results for voting supported our expectations: declines over time were found for less-educated youth only. Unexpectedly, participation in other political activities for more-educated youth declined more over time compared to other groups. Our findings highlight the need to create equal opportunities for youth civic engagement across social groups.

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© 2012 American Political Science Association

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