Political Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 341-371

First online:

The Effects of Age and Political Exposure on the Development of Party Identification Among Asian American and Latino Immigrants in the United States

  • Janelle S. WongAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, Yale University, University of Southern California

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This article seeks to understand the development of partisanship among the largest of contemporary immigrant groups, Asian Americans and Latinos. Identifying the processes that underlie the acquisition of partisanship is often complicated because the associated concepts are not easily isolated from one another. In particular, among those born in the U.S., distinguishing between the separate effects of age and political exposure on partisan development is especially difficult since age usually serves as an exact measure of exposure to the political system and vice versa. Because immigrants' length of residence does not correspond directly to their age, tracking the acquisition of party identification represents one way to untangle the effects of age and exposure on partisanship. A strong relationship between the number of years an immigrant has lived in the U.S. and the acquisition of partisanship is found. Further analysis shows that naturalization, gains in English language skills, and media use also contribute to immigrants' acquisition of partisanship. This study reveals that a process of reinforcement through exposure to the political system underlies the development of political attitudes across diverse immigrant groups.

immigrants party identification Asian Americans Latinos