Participation patterns in industrialized democracies have changed considerably since a couple of decades. While institutionalized forms of participation (e.g., party membership) are declining, we can observe a rise in the occurrence of non-institutionalized forms of political participation. In this article we pose the question what the effect of this trend has been for patterns of political stratification during the period 1974-2002.
It can be observed that gender differences have been substantially reduced and in some cases even reversed for non-institutionalized participation and women tend to be more active in these forms than men. Younger age groups also clearly have a preference for non-institutionalized forms. Stratification based on education level, however, remains on the same level as compared to the 1970‘s. These findings are conformed by a longitudinal analysis of Dutch Election Studies data for the period 1971-1998. We conclude that the emergence of new forms of political participation might have reduced age and gender based inequalities, it does not offer a solution for inequalities based on education level.