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August 03, 2008 

Homeownership in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Linked
to Increased Political Participation

Sociological research suggests that homeownership promotes political involvement

BOSTON — Homeowners in disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to vote than renters and those who own homes in more privileged communities, according to research to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

A University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill research team led by sociologist Kimberly Manturuk investigated the relationship between homeownership and political participation and found that as neighborhood disadvantage increases, homeowners become more likely to vote while renters are less likely to do so.

"In distressed and downtrodden neighborhoods, homeownership is a catalyst for political participation and neighborhood revitalization," said Manturuk, the study's primary investigator and a research assistant at the Center for Community Capital. "By engaging residents in local issues, homeownership contributes to the re-empowerment of urban communities."

Manturuk studied a sample of 1,088 owners and 1,530 renters in 30 metropolitan areas from the Community Advantage Panel (CAP) study. The CAP study follows a group of low- and moderate-income homeowners and a matched comparison group of renters, collecting data on household and community characteristics to assess the social and economic impacts of homeownership. The CAP study is funded by the Ford Foundation through a grant to the Center for Community Capital at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The paper, "Contextual Factors Moderating the Relationship between Homeownership and Voting among Low-Income Households," will be presented on Sunday, Aug. 3, at 10:30 a.m. in the Boston Marriott Copley Place at the American Sociological Association's 103rd annual meeting.

To obtain a copy of Manturuk's paper; for more information on other ASA presentations; or for assistance reaching the study authors, contact Jackie Cooper at jcooper@asanet.org or (202) 247-9871. During the annual meeting (July 31 to Aug. 4), ASA's Public Information Office staff can be reached in the press room, located in the Sheraton Boston's Exeter AB room, at (617) 351-6853, (617) 351-6854 or (301) 509-0906 (cell).

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About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.