Study Shows High School Math and Civics Predict Voting Behaviors in Midlife

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Study Shows High School Math and Civics Predict Voting Behaviors In Midlife


Newswise — Montréal — High-level math and engaging civics lessons in high school increase the likelihood of casting a ballot later in life, according to research by sociologists at The University of Texas at Austin, begging the question of how schools might increase political participation in future generations.


The United States voter turnout is below most other advanced democracies, with only about 60 percent of eligible voters participating in the past four presidential elections and about 40 percent participating in midterm elections. While prior research indicates that those with higher levels of education are more likely to vote, high school education also has a powerful connection to midlife voting behavior.


“Adolescence sets the stage for skill development and status attainment across the life course, and the inequalities in learning during high school shape where students end up later in life,” said sociology Ph.D. candidate Jamie Carroll, who will present her findings with her co-authors at the American Sociological Association annual meeting on August 13 in Montréal, Quebec.


In their working paper, UT Austin sociologists matched data from the High School & Beyond 1980 cohort with Catalist voting records to determine how 8,400 registered voters in the 2012 presidential election and the 2014 midterm election were influenced by their academic preparation in high school math and civics.


On average, students who completed Algebra I or higher were more likely to vote in both the elections than those who completed only general math. Nearly 40 percent of eligible voters who completed only general math abstained from casting a ballot…

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