Human rights familiarity and socio-economic status: A four-country study

James Ron, David Crow, Shannon Golden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


After decades of mobilization and advocacy, how familiar are ordinary people with human rights, and how is this familiarity shaped by socio-economic status? We explore these questions with new data from the Human Rights Perception Polls, representative surveys conducted in four countries. We find that public exposure to the term "human rights" is high in Colombia, Mexico and parts of Morocco, but more moderate in and around Mumbai, India. Th e public's rate of personal contact with rights activists, workers and volunteers, however, is much more limited. For both indicators, moreover, socio-economic status is a meaningful statistical predictor. People who are more educated, wealthier, reside in urban areas and enjoy Internet access also tend to be more familiar with the term "human rights," and to have met a human rights worker, activist, or volunteer. Th ese findings should concern human rights strategists keen to promote ties with the poor. To address this challenge, human rights groups should develop more popularly oriented models of engagement and resource mobilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-351
Number of pages18
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2014


  • Colombia
  • Elites
  • Grassroots
  • Human rights
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Public opinion
  • Survey data


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