English title: To vote or not to vote? Electoral participation of immigrants from different countries of origin in 24 European countries of destination.

Author(s): Stéfanie André - Jaap Dronkers - Ariana Need -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2009


Electoral participation of immigrants is an important issue in Europe. Immigrants vote less often in national elections than non-immigrants; this may suggest a lack of political integration of immigrants into their host society. Besides, a low electoral participation rate of immigrants might also result in proportionately lower representation in parliament. This reflects on the legitimacy of the democracies concerned. This research analyses the electoral behaviour of 8132 immigrants from 62 countries and regions of origin in the 24 countries included in this study- the countries of destination. The data that we used are the second and third round of the European Social Survey. We find that although the largest differences in electoral participation of immigrants are at the level of the country of destination, the characteristics of the country of origin are more powerful for the explanation of differences in electoral participation of immigrants from certain countries of origin in countries of destination. We conclude that immigrants from countries with more political opportunities, social-economic opportunities and that are prevalently Roman-Catholic or Protestant have a higher propensity to vote. Also immigrants who live in countries with a higher economic level will vote more often. To heighten the electoral participation of immigrants it is suggested that the political integration together with the social-economic integration of immigrants should be advanced in the countries of destination, promotion of education might do part of the trick.

Conference name: ECSR conference ‘Changing societies in the context of the European Union enlargement’

Location: Paris

Start date: Dec 11, 2009

Type: Paper

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