By Reuben J. Thomas and Daniel A. McFarland
CIRCLE Working Paper #73 finds that participation in extracurricular activities, in general, promotes voting, though some activities (notably, some sports) decrease it. Authors Thomas and McFarland find that participation in high school performing arts is related to a higher rate of voting in early adulthood. Furthermore, some activities affect political ideology and party membership in adulthood, illustrating socialization into distinct political cultures. Additionally, they find patterns which suggest that religious attendance and a few sports steer students to the conservative end of the political spectrum and into the Republican party, while academic clubs, drama clubs, and honor society steer students towards the liberal end and/or into the Democratic party. Schools can create environments that encourage extracurricular involvement through funding and policy. But they can also discourage extracurriculars through neglect. These results demonstrate that which activities thrive and which shrink will have an impact on future voting behaviors of young adults.
Suggested Citation: Thomas, R.J. and McFarland, D.A. (2010). Joining young, voting young: the effects of youth voluntary associations on early adult voting. CIRCLE Working Paper No. 73. Retrieved from Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) website: http://civicyouth.org/featured-extracurricular-activities-may-increase-likelihood-of-voting/