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The Impact of Non-Citizen Population in Regional Differences in Non-Voting in the USA


  • Ray Achintya

    (Ph.D. in Economics, Professor of Economics, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN, USA)


Given that voting is the bedrock of any functional democracy, it is an intriguing puzzle as to why many eligible voters often choose not to vote. The rational choice theory posits that voters might decide to stay away from voting, especially if they believe that their votes are inconsequential and not enough to change the outcomes of an election, especially involving many unrelated voters. However, other socioeconomic factors may modify that belief as voters may respond to the environment they live in and vote accordingly just to make a statement. Also, affinity to other fellow citizens and the presence of social capital may lead the voters to vote in higher numbers to signal voter solidarity. Using the US Census Bureau’s voting participation and citizenship composition data at the state levels for the year 2020, this paper shows that citizens feel positively inclined to participate in voting if a larger percentage of citizens are registered to vote. Furthermore, controlling for voter registration and regional indicator variables, non-voting (by the registered voters) seems to decline (voting seems to increase) as the percentage of non-citizens increases in the population. The first result seems to point to the non-trivial role played by social capital and voter affinity in increasing turnout, while the second and the key result of this paper seems to indicate that larger immigration numbers may energize the citizens to vote in higher numbers, thereby reducing the percentage of citizens who do not vote. Further evidence regarding regional variations suggests that controlling for voter registration and percentage of non-citizens in the population, non-voting may be lower in the North-Eastern and Western regions of the USA compared to the Southern and Mid-Western regions. Asymmetries in regional immigrations, voter registration and voter engagement present a very interesting dynamism for future elections and public policy formulation in the USA.

Suggested Citation

  • Ray Achintya, 2022. "The Impact of Non-Citizen Population in Regional Differences in Non-Voting in the USA," Business Ethics and Leadership, Sciendo, vol. 6(3), pages 113-119, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:belead:v:6:y:2022:i:3:p:113-119:n:3
    DOI: 10.21272/bel.63.113-119.2022

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    More about this item


    voting behaviour; immigration; voter absenteeism; regionalism and voting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • P5 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems


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