Nearly two-thirds of young Americans are disengaged from political and civic life and only a quarter regularly vote, a survey released on Tuesday showed.
The study also found an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment among Americans age 15 to 25 over the past four years and a drop in acceptance of homosexuals.
The survey of 1,700 people was carried out by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at the University of Maryland between April 27 and June 11. It had a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points.
Despite the large number of disengaged youths, the survey showed young people were more involved in civic and political life than was generally recognized.
"Young people are working in many ways to improve their communities and the nation by volunteering, voting, protesting and raising money for charity and political candidates," the center said in a statement.
Seventy-two percent of youths said they followed the news at least some of the time to see what was happening in government and public affairs.
Thirty-six percent said they had volunteered in the past year, 35 percent had tried to sway other people’s opinions about electoral issues, 30 percent had boycotted a product and 24 percent had raised money for charity.
Using a scale of 19 indicators of civic engagement, however, the survey found that 58 percent of youths 15 to 25 could not identify two in which they participated and were therefore considered not to be involved in the political and civic life of their community. And only 26 percent of those 20 to 25 voted regularly.
Black youths generally were the most politically engaged, the survey found, and Asian-Americans young people were heavily engaged in civic activities. Latinos had the highest level of disengaged young people, at 67 percent, but many had been involved in protests, the study found.
Young whites were the most likely to run, walk or bike for charity but were least likely to protest, donate money to a political candidate or talk to people about elections.
The study also showed a decline in the acceptance of homosexuals among young people over the past four years. Fifty-three percent of youths 15 to 25 said homosexuality should be accepted, down from 60 percent four years ago.
While most young people said immigrants strengthen the United States, the number of young people who said immigrants were a burden on the country rose to 35 percent from 29 percent four years ago.