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Soc Sci Q. 2013 Dec 1;94(5):1261-1282.

The Political Socialization of Adolescent Children of Immigrants.

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University of Texas, Austin.
State University of New York, Albany.



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 3rd-plus generation adolescents. We focus on socialization agents based in the family, community and school.


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.


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 3rd-plus generation young adults.


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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