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FEATURED: Extracurricular Activities May Increase Likelihood of Voting

By Reuben J. Thomas and Daniel A. McFarland

August 2010

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CIRCLE Working Paper #73 finds that participation in extracurricular activities, in general, promotes voting, though some activities (notably, some sports) decrease it. Authors Thomas and McFarland find that participation in high school performing arts is related to a higher rate of voting in early adulthood. Furthermore, some activities affect political ideology and party membership in adulthood, illustrating socialization into distinct political cultures. Additionally, they find patterns which suggest that religious attendance and a few sports steer students to the conservative end of the political spectrum and into the Republican party, while academic clubs, drama clubs, and honor society steer students towards the liberal end and/or into the Democratic party. Schools can create environments that encourage extracurricular involvement through funding and policy. But they can also discourage extracurriculars through neglect. These results demonstrate that which activities thrive and which shrink will have an impact on future voting behaviors of young adults.

*Download CIRCLE Working Paper #73 “Joining Young, Voting Young: The Effects of Youth Voluntary Associations on Early Adult Voting”

Suggested Citation:  Thomas, R.J. and McFarland, D.A. (2010). Joining young, voting young: the effects of youth voluntary associations on early adult voting. CIRCLE Working Paper No. 73. Retrieved from Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) website: http://www.civicyouth.org/featured-extracurricular-activities-may-increase-likelihood-of-voting/

2 Responses to “FEATURED: Extracurricular Activities May Increase Likelihood of Voting”

  1. CRF Blog » Blog Archive » The Performing Arts and Civic Participation Says:

    [...] performing arts activities is a great predictor of increased voting activity in early adulthood. In CIRCLE Working Paper #73, CUNY professor of sociology Reuben J. Thomas and Stanford professor of education Daniel A. [...]

  2. Quick Links | A Blog Around The Clock Says:

    [...] Extracurricular Activities May Increase Likelihood of Voting [...]

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