This study explores whether boys and girls differ in their levels of political orientation and the extent to which race/ethnic heritage mediates such an association. We analyze survey data for 14,855 children across 20 states using a fixed-effects analytical technique that confines the children to their immediate environments. We find that girls surpass boys in political interest and activity, and this persists without a significant drop in teen years as might be expected. This pattern is evident whether political orientation is measured as a composite indicator or as discrete items tapping specific activities and opinions. Within subgroups, White and Native American girls consistently displayed higher levels of orientation than comparable boys. Among Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans, observed advantages for girls attenuate with full specification of control variables; at worst, Black, Hispanic, and Asian girls are equally as political as comparable boys. These findings have implications for theorizing about political orientation in childhood.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science