The Civic Opportunity Gap
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The Civic Opportunity Gap. A Generation of High Achievers?. These are some winning words from the National Spelling Bee, by year: 1932: knack 1940: therapy 1973: vouchsafe 1975: incisor 2001: succedaneum 2004: autochthonous (Strauss and Howe, Millennials Rising .).

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A generation of high achievers
A Generation of High Achievers?

These are some winning words from the National Spelling Bee, by year:

1932: knack

1940: therapy

1973: vouchsafe

1975: incisor

2001: succedaneum

2004: autochthonous

(Strauss and Howe, Millennials Rising.)


But National Scores are Flat

It’s the “long tail” of the achievement curve that is performing well.


College Attendance is also Flat

  • Half of Young Adults Have No College Experience

 Source: Census Current Population Supplement, tabulated by Abby Kiesa and Karlo Barrios Marcelo, "Youth Demographics--Youth with no College Experience," CIRCLE Fact Sheet, January 2009


People born 1980-84. National Longitudinal Study of Youth, Source: Analyzed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsyth.pdf


Low mobility: percent of each recent cohort is ever enrolled in college

Only 7 percent of students from the bottom quarter of the income distribution will obtain a bachelors degree by the age of 26, compared to 60 percent of those from the top quarter

(Susan M. Dynarski & Judith E. Scott-Clayton, Brookings, 2007)


Half of those who do not attend college are people of color
Half of Those Who Do percent of each recent cohort is ever enrolled in collegenot Attend College are People of Color

 Source: Census Current Population Supplement, tabulated by Abby Kiesa and Karlo Barrios Marcelo, "Youth Demographics--Youth with no College Experience," CIRCLE Fact Sheet, January 2009 (http://www.civicyouth.org/PopUps/FactSheets/FS08_YthDemo_CollExp.pdf)


 Source: Census Current Population Supplement, tabulated by Abby Kiesa and Karlo Barrios Marcelo, "Youth Demographics--Youth with no College Experience," CIRCLE Fact Sheet, January 2009 (http://www.civicyouth.org/PopUps/FactSheets/FS08_YthDemo_CollExp.pdf)


Voter Turnout Depends on Educational Level to Unemployment in Recessions

Census data, analyzed by CIRCLE


Source: Census Current Population Supplement data tabulated by Karlo Barrios Marcelo, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, and Emily Hoban Kirby for “Volunteering and College Experience,” CIRCLE Fact Sheet


  • For to Unemployment in RecessionsCollege-Educated Youth, Civic Engagement has Declined Since the 1970s

Source: General Social Survey data, tabulated in Flanagan, Levine, and Settersten, Civic Engagement and the Changing Transition to Adulthood (CIRCLE, 2009)


Source: General Social Survey data, tabulated in Flanagan, Levine, and Settersten, Civic Engagement and the Changing Transition to Adulthood (CIRCLE, 2009)


 Source: General Social Survey data, tabulated in Flanagan, Levine, and Settersten, Civic Engagement and the Changing Transition to Adulthood (CIRCLE, 2009)


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