Nativity status and voter turnout in the early twentieth-century urban United States

Peter Tuckel, Richard Maisel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Running counter to both theoretical expectations and the results of previous empirical studies, recent research has shown that European immigrants voted at higher rates than native-born Americans in urban areas of the United States during the beginning of the twentieth century. The explanation offered for this research finding, based on aggregate-level data, is that the numerical superiority of the immigrants in cities discouraged the native-born population from voting. However, a number of competing explanations could also be offered to account for this same finding. If this finding is valid, it could be attributable to the political machines spurring the immigrants to vote. Or this finding could be a spurious one caused by either the ecological fallacy or a census undercount of the foreign born. The authors, using both aggregate- and individual-level data, confirm that immigrants were more electorally active than the native born in one northeastern city. Their study reinforces the notion that the higher voter turnout of the immigrants was rooted more in demography than other factors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)99-108
    Number of pages10
    JournalHistorical Methods
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2008


    • Data collection
    • Early twentieth century
    • Immigration
    • Statistics
    • United States
    • Urbanism
    • Voting

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History


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