Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CHE: Education and Income Levels Are Key Predictors of Civic Involvement, Report Says

According to the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the number of Americans civicly engaged in American life is alarmingly declining. Age, income, and level of educational attainment are significant factors in determining who is more likely to vote. Below is an excerpt from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Stratification by income and education levels may have dire consequences for the long-term health of civic activities like voting and volunteering, according to a new report released on Wednesday by the Educational Testing Service.

The report, "Fault Lines in Our Democracy: Civic Knowledge, Voting Behavior and Civic Engagement in the United States," explores demographic patterns of civic knowledge, voting, and civic engagement. Age, affluence, and education, the study found, are strong indicators of whether a person is civically engaged and interested in public affairs. The report is based largely on existing data, including federal education statistics and Census data.

Educational attainment, in particular, is a powerful predictor of civic engagement, the report says. In the 2008 presidential election, 83 percent of adults with advanced degrees voted, while only 39 percent of adults who did not finish high school did. Among young adults especially, education appears to shape not just the likelihood of voting, but also interest in civic issues: College graduates reported paying greater attention to public affairs than did people who did not finish high school.

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