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Article Version


Publication Date



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.


Copyright 2003 Elsevier

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Social Science Journal. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in The Social Science Journal, 40(1), 1-18. DOI: 10.1016/S0362-3319(02)00255-0

Publication Title

The Social Science Journal

Published Citation

Alozie, Nicholas; Simon, James & Merrill, Bruce D. (2003). "Gender and political orientation in childhood." The Social Science Journal, 40(1), 1-18.



Peer Reviewed