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New report examines young people’s involvement in politics


A new report, released recently by the Advancement Project California, finds that young people of color participate in political activities at significantly less rates than Whites.

“Unequal Voices: Who Speaks for California?” part II is an analysis of an original telephone survey of 2,600 Californians and more than 900 young people ages 18-34. It examines political participation beyond voting, including contacting public officials, contributing money to campaigns, attending public meetings, protesting, engaging in consumer activism, and signing petitions in person or online. This report confirms that, while California has been a majority minority state since 2000, Latinos and Asian Americans are largely shut out of the political process. And, without intervention, those racial disparities will persist into the next generation. Among its key findings:

•Despite comprising only 35 percent of the millennial survey population, White millennials made up the majority of youth who reported taking part in political activities.

•Asian American and Latino millennials are least likely to engage in a wide variety of political activities, including contacting public officials, supporting campaigns, and engaging in consumer activism.

•White millennials also are twice as likely as Blacks and three times as likely as Latinos and Asian Americans to make political contributions.

• Blacks outpace Whites participating in protest activity (14 percent compared to 12 percent) although they fell behind in terms of consumer activism (31 to 25 percent).

• Whites contacted elected officials at 26 percent, whereas Blacks contact them at 18 percent.

• Blacks contributed to campaigns at 27 percent versus 33 for Whites and Blacks attended public meetings at a higher rate 30 verses 26 percent.

In this current national political landscape, California is poised to be a beacon for democracy. But that can only happen, if we are able to ensure that all Californians can participate in the political process.