Latino Heterogeneity and the Politics of Education: The Role of Context*

Kenneth J. Meier, Erin K. Melton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: The sheer size of the Latino population in the United States has resulted in increased scholarly attention to the role Latinos play in the U.S. political system. A less-studied phenomenon, however, is whether the diversity of Latinos matters for electoral representation. This analysis tests how Latino homogeneity might influence representation by evaluating three contingencies: Latino majority versus minority status, electoral structure, and partisan versus nonpartisan election rules. Methods: This study combines original survey data with data gathered by the U.S. Census on the national origin of Latinos in the United States. Results: Latino homogeneity affects the chances of gaining representatives; however, this impact is evident only when Latinos constitute a numerical minority, hold at-large elections, and engage in nonpartisan contests. Conclusion: Theories of representation must move beyond traditional assessments of context and examine how the seemingly negligible characteristics of minority populations might affect their prospects for politics.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)732-749
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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