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ERIC Number: ED457122
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 22
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Will They Engage? Political Knowledge, Participation and Attitudes of Generations X and Y.
Soule, Suzanne
Most data support the thesis of declining civic engagement among Generations X and Y. If levels of civic engagement remain depressed across the life cycles of Generations X and Y, U.S. democracy may be threatened, for there will be fewer engaged people to fulfill the obligations of democratic citizens. The hope is that youths' indifference to politics will change as they mature. This paper presents a portrait of these generations based on available cross-sectional data. The paper explores Generations X and Y's political knowledge and political participation and their political attitudes and values. Research suggests that, in contrast to previous U.S. generations, young people today have fewer opportunities to practice politics in high school student government (Highton and Wolfinger, 2001). The data provide some basis for the charge that youth bear responsibility in part for the decline in U.S. social capital. There are some significant differences between Generations X and Y and previous generations. For example, Generations X and Y possess less information about public affairs and are less interested in politics. Data presented here capture Generations X and Y at the low point of their projected life cycle of political engagement. The paper calls for more studies, especially longitudinal, to determine which factors will motivate Generations X and Y to engage in politics. Contains 9 tables and 20 references. (BT)
Center for Civic Education, 5146 Douglas Fir Road, Calabasas, CA 91302-1467. Tel: 818-591-9321; Fax: 818-591-9330; e-mail: For full text:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Civic Education, Calabasas, CA.