Political Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 195–231 | Cite as

Political participation of ethnic minorities in the 1980s

  • Carole J. Uhlaner
  • Bruce E. Cain
  • D. Roderick Kiewiet


Currently political participation, especially voter registration and turnout, varies substantially with ethnicity. Blacks and non-Hispanic whites participate at roughly equal rates, while Latinos and Asian-Americans are substantially less active. This variation may be the direct product of cultural factors, or it may reflect differences in the distribution of various determinants of participation, most notably education, citizenship, and age. Using data collected in 1984 on samples of California's black, Latino, Asian-American, and non-Hispanic white populations, we conclude that such variables fully account for lower Latino participation rates. Even with these controls, however, Asian-Americans remain less likely to vote. Because ethnic group consciousness is one of the variables related to activity, we conclude that ethnicity does have an indirect effect on participation as a basis for mobilization. In addition, we establish that noncitizens engage in nonelectoral activities, and we project future political participation rates of Latinos and Asian-Americans under several scenarios.


Ethnic Group Indirect Effect Ethnic Minority Participation Rate Direct Product 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carole J. Uhlaner
    • 1
  • Bruce E. Cain
    • 2
  • D. Roderick Kiewiet
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaIrvine
  2. 2.California Institute of TechnologyUSA

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