The Landscape of Political Action

Our third pattern is political action, which has a regional pattern similar to that of volunteering, though with lower rates of participation (Map 2.3). There are slight differences between regions in proportions of residents who took political action in the past year. Northeasterners are more politically active than others (23 percent). There is no real difference between the political action participation rate of westerners (21 percent) and midwesterners (20 percent). The proportion of southerners taking political action is significantly lower, at only 16 percent. In comparison, the rate of political action among northeasterners is 1.4 times that of the South.

When we examine the amount of hours devoted to political action in the past month, the median for all regions is zero, much like volunteering. Among activists we find the same pattern as with volunteer hours: the Northeast averages significantly fewer hours in a month (11) than all other regions (17). Effectively, volunteering and political action in the Northeast are more widely distributed, with a greater number of people each contributing lower amounts of political action time. Outside of the Northeast there is virtually no variation in political activity across the United States.

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