civic engagement; immigrant; assimilation; race and ethnicity


Prior research suggests that immigrants in the U.S. are less likely to civically engage than the native-born, but few studies have systematically examined whether levels of expressive engagement differ by immigrant generational status – particularly in the case of contacting a public official and boycotting or buycotting products for political or social reasons. Using the Current Population Survey, November 2011 and 2013 Civic Engagement Supplements, this study examines whether these forms of expressive engagement differ across immigrant generational status, and by race and ethnicity within immigrant generations. In accord with classical assimilation theory, the findings show that the first generation is less likely than the third+ generation to participate in either form of engagement. However, the second generation is more likely to boycott or buycott and as likely to contact an official compared to the third+ generation. While whites tend to be more likely than blacks, Hispanics and Asians to participate in both forms of engagement across all immigrant generational statuses, there is a notable exception. Second-generation blacks are as likely as second-generation whites to contact an official and to boycott or buycott.