Trends in Voter Participation among the Foreign-Born Population: Analysis of the Current Population Survey, 1996-2006

Edward N Trevelyan, U.S. Census Bureau

The Current Population Survey (CPS) provides the most comprehensive examination of demographic, social, and economic characteristics of the nation’s electorate. While it is left to other surveys and exit polling to examine political opinions, attitudes, and party identification, this nationally-representative survey is unsurpassed in its capacity to characterize the electorate on the basis of the fundamental question: “Did you vote?” While numerous studies document strong relationships between voting and socioeconomic variables, less is known about the roles of nativity and region of birth, factors that will increasingly affect voting trends as the foreign-born population grows in proportion to the whole. This paper reviews the literature on nativity and voting behavior, and then explores trends that appear in the CPS data over a ten-year period (1996-2006). A series of graphs compares immigrant and native voting behavior with respect to world region of birth and U.S. region of residence.

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Presented in Poster Session 7