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Civic Engagement Among California High School Teens

December 18, 2018

Policy Brief

Authors: Susan H. Babey, PhD, Joelle Wolstein, PhD, MPP, MA

​This policy brief describes civic engagement among California adolescents in high school. Using data from the 2013-14 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the study found that the most common civic engagement activity among high school teens in California is volunteering. Latino teens and those from low-income families have lower rates of civic engagement. Higher rates of civic engagement are associated with better health status, fewer days of missed school due to health, better grades and greater perceived likelihood of attending college.

Strategies to increase adolescent civic engagement could help promote healthy developments. Policymakers, schools, and community organizations can promote civic engagement among all youth by expanding programs, encouraging youth participation in school and community organizations and engage youth who have not traditionally been included in civic activities.

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