Politic and Civically Active Youth End Up More Educated, With Higher Incomes

Participating in political activism may be good for our teenagers, according to a new research report.

In a study published this past January in the journal Child Development, late adolescents and young adults who voted, volunteered or engaged in activism ultimately went further in school and had higher incomes than those who did not mobilize for political or social change.

Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine, Fordham University and the University of Massachusetts  tracked close to 10,000 young people from a wide variety of ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds and measured the long-term implications of youth political and social engagement.

Fascinating enough, they discovered  a link between civic activity and better academic and financial outcomes. This result was regardless of early school performance and parental education levels, two factors that usually  are drivers in later success.

“Having meaningful opportunities to volunteer or be involved in activism may change how young people think about themselves or their possibilities for the future,”  study lead author Parissa Ballard, an assistant professor in the department of family and community medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, said.

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