Jennifer Darrah-Okike

Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Chapter Member: Hawaii SSN

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About Jennifer

Darrah’s research relates to housing policy, land-use policy, and political participation with focus on the impacts of voter identification requirements. She has studied how local communities in Hawaiʻi use laws and regulations to manage urbanization and preserve natural and cultural resources. She also studies housing policy and residential mobility to understand how policy can mitigate racial segregation and neighborhood disparities. New research explores policy responses to homelessness in Hawaiʻi. Finally, she studies political participation and the impacts of policies such as voter ID requirements with focus on impacts to racial and ethnic minorities and immigrants.   


Additional, Rigorous Evidence that Voter Identification Laws Suppress Voting

  • Jennifer Darrah-Okike
  • Nathalie Rita
  • John Logan

In the News

Guest to discuss Town Square: Panel on Planning, Community Involvement, and Oahu's Future on Hawai'i Public Radio, Jennifer Darrah-Okike, May 2015.
Jennifer Darrah-Okike's research on a housing voucher program in Baltimore discussed by Emily Badger, "What Happens When the Government Tries to Help Poor People Move to Better Neighborhoods?," The Washington Post, March 24, 2014.
Jennifer Darrah-Okike's research on the Baltimore Mobility Program discussed by Jill Rosen, "Leaving Poor Neighborhoods Can Change a Family's Perspective, Study Suggests," The Hub, March 21, 2014.


"The Suppressive Impacts of Voter Identification Requirements" (with Nathalie Rita). Sociological Perspectives (2020).

Examines the impact of voter identification laws on electoral participation in the US from 2000-2016, using large-scale social survey data. Shows that voter ID laws have a negative impact on all racial and ethnic groups, especially Latinos.

"Contesting the Right to the City Under Scarcity: The Case of Micronesians in Hawaiʻi’s Public Housing.” Housing and Society" (with Nathalie Rita, Rachel Engel, and Philip Garboden). Housing and Society 47, no. 3 (2020): 165-188 .

Focuses on how residents of public housing in Hawaii view immigrants from Micronesia, a geographic region of Oceania. Draws on in-depth interviews with an ethnically diverse sample of public housing residents.  Shows how residents stigmatize Micronesian community members, especially as they were viewed as gaining unfair access to a limited supply of affordable housing units.

"'It Was Like I Lost Everything”: The Harmful Impacts of Homeless-Targeted Policies" (with Susan Nakaoka, Sarah Soakai, Tai Dunson-Strane, and Karen Umemoto). Housing Policy Debate (2018).

Finds that policies prohibiting sitting, lying, sleeping, and storing property in public places harm homeless households by: creating feelings of dehumanization, confiscation of property, and creating increased anxiety and fear.

"Disrupting the Growth Machine: Evidence from Hawaiʻi" Urban Affairs Review (2017).

Reveals how local communities as well as advocates for natural resources and native Hawaiian rights leverage land-use regulations in Hawai‘i to contest luxury residential development. 

"‘It Changed My Whole Perspective’: How Escaping Inner-City Poverty Shapes Neighborhood and Housing Choice" (with Stefanie DeLuca). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 33, no. 2 (2014): 350–384.

Uses data from fieldwork with 110 participants in the Baltimore Mobility Program to demonstrate how residential preferences can shift over time as a function of living in higher opportunity neighborhoods. 

"The Impact of Race and Ethnicity, Immigration, and Political Context on Participation in American Electoral Politics" (with John R. Logan and Sookhee Oh). Social Forces 90, no. 3 (2012): 1993-102.

Uses national survey data in federal election years during 1996-2004 to examine voter registration and voting. Shows that racial/ethnic disparities in socio-economic resources and rootedness in the community do not explain overall group differences in electoral participation.

"The Political and Community Context of Immigrant Naturalisation in the United States." (with John R. Logan and Sookhee Oh). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 38, no. 4 (2012): 535-554.

Uses microdata from Census 2000 in conjunction with other measures to examine aspects of the community and policy context that influence the choices made by individuals. The results confirm previous research on the effects of individual-level characteristics on attaining citizenship.

"The Political Impact of the New Hispanic Second Generation" (with Sookhee Oh and John R. Logan). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35, no. 7 (2009): 1201-1223.

Shows that the effect of the rapid growth of the Hispanic population in the United States is diminished by several factors, and it is a challenge for public policy to reduce the lag between population growth and political representation.

"Tangible Evidence, Trust and Power: Public Perceptions of Community Environmental Health Studies" (with Madeleine Scammell, Laura Senier, Phil Brown, and Susan Santos). Social Science and Medicine 68, no. 1 (2009): 143-153.

Presents findings from three focus groups conducted in communities north of Boston that have been the subject of two different environmental health studies. 

"The Suppressive Effects of Voter ID Requirements on Naturalization and Political Participation," (with John R. Logan and Sookhee Oh), Report of the American Communities Project, Brown University, 2008.

Finds that U.S. states that require voters to present identification before casting ballots have lower levels of political participation. Also shows that voter I.D. policies discourage legal immigrants from becoming citizens, particularly for blacks and Hispanics, reducing odds of naturalization by over 15 percent.