Age Group Identity and Political Participation

02 February 2021, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Young adults are underrepresented in American politics, but political scientists have devoted little attention to age bias in political participation and public policy. Drawing on arguments that groups vary in their cohesiveness, and that groups with stronger shared identity participate in politics at higher rates, we explore the relationship between age identity and political participation. Using data from a survey of a nationally-representative sample of adults, we measure how strongly citizens identify with others in their age group. We find that young adults do tend to have weaker age identity than senior citizens, but also that their average age identity is as strong as their political party identity. Second, we explore whether age identity is associated with two forms of political participation: voting and participating in protests related to climate change. We find that age identity is a strong predictor of both forms of political participation, especially for young adults.


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.