The Desi Bloc? Socialization and Transnationalism in South Asian American Politics
Laferriere, Elizabeth Finnigan
Today in the United States, single-race Asian Indians number 2.8 million, nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. Asian population, and represent the second largest Asian subgroup after Chinese Americans. Yet, despite this population surge, little work has been done to understand the complex motivations, idiosyncrasies, and behavioral patterns of the Indian American, or even more broadly the South Asian American, voting bloc. Using data from the Pilot National Asian American Political Survey (PNAAPS), this analysis attempts to address this gap in the Asian American politics literature. Among its findings are the following: (1) South Asians are more likely to be interested in politics than other Asian Americans; (2) active religious practice was significant and positively related with electoral engagement; (3) years in the United States was significant and positively related with electoral engagement for non-South Asians but not for South Asians; (4) interest in politics was significant and positively related to having voted; and, finally, (5) South Asian women were much more likely to be interested in politics than South Asian men. Although the South Asian American community already participates in politics at relatively high levels, this study has uncovered some important gaps keeping it from full participation. It recommends that South Asian American organizations work to increase South Asian men's interest in politics and to ensure that eligible voters are able to participate without interference. By following these suggestions, the South Asian American community will move one step closer to its maximum electoral potential.
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