• Neha Dubhashi

Declining Civic Engagement and its Impacts

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

Civic engagement is the core of our society. It’s what drives our laws, our functions, our capabilities. However, declining youth civic engagement has become a huge problem in the U.S. over the past decades. There is a veritable divide between youth and adult populations’ political and community involvement. There are several factors that play into this, one being education. In the United States, people with higher levels of education have historically participated in electoral politics and the civic affairs of their communities more than those with less education (Verba, Burns, & Schlozman, 2003). This civic divide has supposedly increased in recent years. The increasing separation between lower, middle, and upper class in economy impacts the education young teens are receiving.

Youths in poorer communities are less likely to be civically engaged, as well as youths with uneducated parents and minorities. Scholars suggest this is because the engaged youths have had more opportunities, support, and advice regarding the key civic tenets: voting, volunteering, and political discussion. In NCBI’s thirty-year study, the division in youth is recent. Up till 1990, civic participation and engagement was consistently high, recording an 83-90% of youths who had plans to vote. However, in the past two decades, high school seniors have been less likely to endorse civic activities and political discussion. Ironically, their numbers for volunteering have been at an all-time high.

When examining the reasons behind these results, one stands out. Colleges value volunteering, and students geared toward college-degree related careers are using volunteer hours to enhance their applications. Additionally, most high schools have certain hours-requirements for their students to graduate.

When trying not to fall into this cycle of target-based civics, ask yourself certain questions.

Why am I doing this?

Am I passionate about the opportunity, or am I trying to satisfy an arbitrary requirement?

Am I trying to contribute to my community or my future college application?

Am I feeling a sense of accomplishment through this work, or feeling drained and stressed out?

The next time you find a volunteering opportunity, ask yourself these questions.

Stay politically engaged by following reliable and unbiased news sources like Reuters and BBC. Find more at this article.

If you are interested in joining the Mayoral Internship, you can register here.

If you wish to be notified of events and our next conference, click here. Written by Neha Dubhashi

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

2020 Vice Presidential Debate

On October 7th, 2020, the first and only vice presidential debate took place in Salt Lake City, Utah. Susan Page from USA Today moderated the debate between Vice President Pence (Republican party) and

2020 Presidential Debate #1

The 2020 election is something American society has been anticipating for years, from the popular 2016 statement “Kanye West 2020,” which referred to rapper Kanye West running for president in 2020, t

Bloodworks Webinar

Last week the Pathway Bloodworks Project held their first webinar, hosting 40 attendees. We had the privilege of having Lynzie share her story about her two sons, Corbyn and Kai, who have Beta Thalass


 Get the Latest News & Updates

Contact Us

Have any questions or feedback? Fill out the form below and let us know.


© 2020 by Pathway Foundation