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Connecting, Serving and Giving: Civic Engagement among Mid-life and Older Hispanic/Latino Adults

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This study presents the findings of a survey of Hispanics/Latinos ages 50 and older regarding several key areas of social and community involvement, including:

  • Their perceived level of influence in making a difference on problems that exist in their community.

  • The number of groups and organizations to which they belong.

  • Their level of involvement in civic and community activities.

  • The frequency with which they vote in Presidential and local elections.

  • Their rate of volunteering—for organizations and/or on their own.

  • Their rate of charitable giving.

  • Demographic and other factors that influence their level of civic engagement.

Key findings include the following:

  • Top predictors of civic engagement among Hispanics/Latinos ages 50 and older are:

    • household income;

    • perceived levels of influence on community problems when joined with others; and

    • whether living in the Northeast census region.
  • The percentage of 50+ Hispanics/Latinos who feel they have a lot or moderate amount of influence on community problems when they act alone (20%) or when they are joined with others (40%) declined by double digits from 2009 (i.e., 31% and 59%, respectively).

  • Memberships with discount stores or clubs (41%) and religious organizations (38%) are of greatest appeal to 50+ Hispanics/Latinos.  However, fewer than half hold memberships with these types of organizations.

  • Just under half (47%) of 50+ Hispanics/Latinos volunteered in 2015—a decline of 7 percentage points from 2009 (54%).

  • Speaking English primarily at home and having a strong connection to the Hispanic/Latino culture are positively associated with one or more forms of civic engagement (e.g., civic and community involvement, charitable giving) among this group. 

This national address-based telephone survey of 725 Hispanics/Latinos ages 50 and older was conducted in August 2015 by AARP’s research partner (SSI) as part of AARP’s Attitude, Trend & Opinion Monitor (ATOM).  Interviews were 20 minutes in length on average and data were weighted by age, gender and other key characteristics.  For more information contact Alicia Williams at ARWilliams@aarp.org.

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