YPP Network Description

The MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors.

Youth Participatory Politics Survey Project
  • Project Description

    The Youth Participatory Politics Survey Project (YPPSP) has collected multiple waves of survey data from nationally representative samples of young people in the United States.  The survey project is led by Principal Investigators Cathy Cohen  (University of Chicago) and Joseph Kahne (University of California, Riverside). Our surveys include questions that examine the quantity, quality and equality of youth new media practices, political and civic attitudes and behavior and engagement in something we have labeled “participatory politics.” These data provide researchers with a unique opportunity to investigate how youth from a variety of backgrounds participate in and experience public life, online and off.

     

    The first wave of data collection took place in early 2011 and included 2,920 respondents ages 15-25. The Wave 1 dataset is available for download here. The second wave took place in 2013 and was completed by 2,343 respondents between the ages of 15 and 27.  The third wave of the survey was administered in 2015 to a sample of 2,772 respondents between the ages of 15 and 29.  All three waves of data collection have included oversamples of African American and Latino respondents, in order to facilitate analyses both within and between racial and ethnic groups.  In addition, a portion of the respondents in the second and third waves also participated in the previous waves of the survey, allowing us to assess how these young people’s attitudes and behaviors have developed over time.

     

    Wave 1 survey data described the quantity, quality and equality of youth engagement in participatory politics. They indicate that participatory politics are an important dimension of youth political engagement and that engagement is equitably distributed across different racial and ethnic groups. Our findings indicate that in 2011 40% of youth had engaged in at least one act of participatory politics. In addition, young people of color in general are actively engaged with new media. Our report, “Participatory Politics: New Media and Youth Political Action” (available here), describes the findings from the Wave 1 survey in full.

     

    The Wave 2 and Wave 3 surveys have updated these findings and provide additional detail about young people’s involvement in online communities and their educational experiences.  YPPSP researchers are using the panel data from these waves to gain a deeper understanding of how young people from different racial, ethnic, and social economic groups engage in participatory politics, the pathways into participatory politics, and different aspects associated with the quality of engagement in participatory politics.

     

    For phase 1 research findings see - Participatory Politics: New Media and Youth Political Action 

     

    To download wave 1 (2011) of the Youth and Participatory Politics Survey click Download Data

     

    Cathy Cohen and Joe Kahne - Mapping Youth Participatory Politics