Aug 4, 2015 9:55 am

70 years after Hiroshima, opinions have shifted on use of atomic bomb

Memorial for Hiroshima
Visitors look at a photograph of the area surrounding the Atomic Bomb Dome, captured after the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, Japan. Credit: Junko Kimura/Getty Images

On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing tens of thousands of people – many instantly, others from the effects of radiation. Death estimates range from 66,000 to 150,000.

Declining Support in Both the U.S. and Japan for America's Bombing of Hiroshima and NagasakiThis first use of a nuclear weapon by any nation has long divided Americans and Japanese. Americans have consistently approved of this attack and have said it was justified. The Japanese have not. But opinions are changing: Americans are less and less supportive of their use of atomic weapons, and the Japanese are more and more opposed.

In 1945, a Gallup poll immediately after the bombing found that 85% of Americans approved of using the new atomic weapon on Japanese cities. In 1991, according to a Detroit Free Press survey conducted in both Japan and the U.S., 63% of Americans said the atomic bomb attacks on Japan were a justified means of ending the war, while only 29% thought the action was unjustified. At the same time, only 29% of Japanese said the bombing was justified, while 64% thought it was unwarranted. Read More

Topics: Foreign Affairs and Policy, Wars and International Conflicts

Aug 4, 2015 7:00 am

In the news industry, diversity is lowest at smaller outlets

Minorities Especially Underrepresented at Low-Circulation NewspapersThe past two years have seen Dean Baquet become the first black executive editor of The New York Times and Lester Holt become the first black solo anchor of a weeknight network news program. But minorities are still underrepresented at U.S. news organizations, especially when it comes to the places that would-be journalists traditionally try to break into the business: smaller local TV and newspaper outlets.

Although minorities (including black, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American and multiracial populations) make up over a third of the U.S. adult population (35%), they make up only 22% of the local television news workforce, according to a study by the Radio Television Digital News Association. The figure is even lower for newspapers, where only 13% of newsroom employees are minorities, according to an annual survey of newsroom employment by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE). These figures have changed little over the past two decades. Read More

Topics: News Media Trends, Newspapers, Newsroom Investment and Resources, Race and Ethnicity, State of the News Media

Aug 3, 2015 12:44 pm

Partisans differ sharply on power plant emissions limits, climate change

President Barack Obama today unveiled stricter environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions from power plants, an issue over which there is a deep partisan divide. The new guidelines are part of the White House’s larger push to combat climate change and promote renewable energy sources.

Sharp Partisan Divides over Moves to Limit Power Plant EmissionsOverall, a majority of Americans support stricter limits on power plant emissions, but as with climate change, the views of Democrats differ markedly from those of Republicans, both in the public and among elected officials. Even before the formal announcement, GOP leaders vowed to mount a number of challenges to Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults favor stricter limits on power plant emissions to address climate change, while 31% oppose such regulations, according to a Pew Research Center survey from November 2014. These opinions, however, vary greatly by party.

Fully 78% of Democrats and those who lean Democratic back stricter emissions limits, compared with only half of Republicans and those who lean Republican. Tea Party Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) are especially resistant to stricter emissions limits for power plants, with 71% opposing stricter guidelines.

In addition to partisan differences, opinions vary by age, gender and educational attainment. Women are more inclined than men to approve of stricter emissions standards, while younger adults are more likely than their older counterparts to say they support curbing power plant emissions. College-degree holders are more supportive of curtailing power plant emissions than are those with lower levels of educational attainment. Views vary little by race or ethnicity. Read More

Topics: Energy and Environment, Political Attitudes and Values

Aug 3, 2015 7:00 am

The real value of a $15 minimum wage depends on where you live

Where Paychecks Stretch the Most, and Least

The movement for a $15-an-hour minimum wage has scored several high-profile victories lately. New York state plans to phase in a $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers over the next few years. Los Angeles County will raise its minimum to $15 for all workers by 2021, following a similar move by the city of Los Angeles. Seattle is phasing in the $15 minimum that was adopted last year. And the huge University of California system will raise the minimum wage for its workers to $15 by 2017.

While Americans generally support higher minimum wages – a Pew Research Center survey in January 2014, for instance, found 73% in favor of a then-current proposal to raise the federal minimum from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour – wide disparities in local living costs, familiar to anyone who’s relocated for a career, create practical complications. For example, a national $15 minimum would yield $17.08 worth of purchasing power in Macon, Georgia, but only $12.26 in New York City, once the differing price levels in the two cities are taken into account. Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Economics and Personal Finances, Work and Employment

Jul 31, 2015 7:00 am

Democratic edge in Hispanic voter registration grows in Florida

Florida has long been a battleground state in presidential elections, with Hispanic voters playing a growing role in determining the outcome of the state’s presidential vote. If current trends hold, Hispanic voters will make up an even larger share of the state’s registered voters next year than in past years, but the profile of the Latino electorate has shifted over the past decade or so, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of state voter registration data.

Democrats Now Hold Registration Advantage Among Florida HispanicsDue to the state’s large Cuban voting bloc, the Latino vote had been reliably Republican. For example, President George W. Bush won both the Hispanic vote and the state in 2004. But 2008 represented a tipping point: More Latinos were registered as Democrats than Republicans, and the gap has only widened since then. This has led to the growing influence of Democrats among the state’s Hispanic voters in 2008 and 2012, two presidential elections in which Barack Obama carried both Hispanics and the state. At the same time, the number of Latino registered voters in Florida who indicate no party affiliation has also grown rapidly during this time, and by 2012 had surpassed Republican registrations.

Today, 4.5 million Hispanics live in Florida, making it the third-largest Hispanic population in the nation, behind California and Texas. It is also growing faster than Florida’s population. Today 24% of Floridians are Hispanic, up from 17% in 2000. Overall, 1.7 million Hispanics were registered to vote in Florida as of October 2014, according to the state’s Division of ElectionsRead More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Vote

Jul 30, 2015 11:00 am

Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they’re still a small group

Most Americans believe a woman will be elected president within their lifetime, a milestone that would add the U.S. to a growing list of countries that have had a female leader. But the overall number of countries that have been led by women still remains relatively small, and in most of these countries, women haven’t held power for long.

Most of the World's Nations Have Never Had a Female Leader

There are currently 18 female world leaders, including 12 female heads of government and 11 elected female heads of state (some leaders are both, and figurehead monarchs are not included), according to United Nations data. These women account for about one-in-ten of today’s leaders of United Nations member states. Half of them are the first women to hold their country’s highest office. Read More

Topics: Gender, International Governments and Institutions, Non-U.S. Political Leaders

Jul 29, 2015 7:00 am

Major U.S. metropolitan areas differ in their religious profiles

The religious face of America is largely a Christian one, with roughly seven-in-ten Americans belonging to that faith. But some of the nation’s biggest metropolitan areas have a very different look.

Only about half of the residents in the Seattle (52%) and San Francisco (48%) metropolitan areas identify as Christians, as well as roughly six-in-ten or fewer of those living in Boston (57%) and New York (59%).

The Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study was designed to look at the religious affiliations of Americans overall as well as those in all 50 states and the 17 largest metropolitan areas in the country. While Christians make up between 65% and 75% of adults in most of those metro areas – and people with no religious affiliation generally make up roughly 20-25% of the population – some cities stand out for a variety of reasons.

Boston, Seattle and San Francisco Have Relatively Few Christians

Seattle, San Francisco and Boston are notable not only because they have relatively few Christians, but also for their considerable populations of religious “nones” (atheists, agnostics and those who say their religion is “nothing in particular”). A third or more of people in each of those metropolitan areas (37% in Seattle, 35% in San Francisco and 33% in Boston) are religious “nones.” Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Jews and Judaism, Mormons and Mormonism, Religious Affiliation, Religiously Unaffiliated

Jul 28, 2015 9:32 am

15% of Americans don’t use the internet. Who are they?

Who's Not Online?For many Americans, going online is an important way to connect with friends and family, shop, get news and search for information. Yet today, 15% of U.S. adults do not use the internet, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of survey data.

The size of this group has changed little over the past three years, despite recent government and social service programs to encourage internet adoption. But that 15% figure is substantially lower than in 2000, when Pew Research first began to study the social impact of technology. That year, nearly half (48%) of American adults did not use the internet.

A 2013 Pew Research survey found some key reasons that some people do not use the internet. A third of non-internet users (34%) did not go online because they had no interest in doing so or did not think the internet was relevant to their lives. Another 32% of non-internet users said the internet was too difficult to use, including 8% of this group who said they were “too old to learn.” Cost was also a barrier for some adults who were offline – 19% cited the expense of internet service or owning a computer.

The latest Pew Research analysis also shows that internet non-adoption is correlated to a number of demographic variables, including age, educational attainment, household income, race and ethnicity, and community type.

Seniors are the group most likely to say they never go online. About four-in-ten adults ages 65 and older (39%) do not use the internet, compared with only 3% of 18- to 29-year-olds. Household income and education are also indicators of a person’s likelihood to be offline. A third of adults with less than a high school education do not use the internet, but that share falls as the level of educational attainment increases. Adults from households earning less than $30,000 a year are roughly eight times more likely than the most affluent adults to not use the internet. Read More

Topics: Demographics, Generations and Age, Income, Internet Activities, Technology Adoption

Jul 27, 2015 11:00 am

The most and least racially diverse U.S. religious groups

The nation’s population is growing more racially and ethnically diverse – and so are many of its religious groups, both at the congregational level and among broader Christian traditions.  But a new analysis of data from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study also finds that these levels of diversity vary widely within U.S. religious groups.

We looked at 29 groups – including Protestant denominations, other religious groups and three subsets of people who are religiously unaffiliated – based on a methodology used in our 2014 Pew Research Center report on global religious diversity. This analysis includes five racial and ethnic groups: Hispanics, as well as non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians and an umbrella category of other races and mixed-race Americans.

How Racially Diverse are U.S. Religious Groups? Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Hindus and Hinduism, Jews and Judaism, Muslims and Islam, Race and Ethnicity, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation

Jul 24, 2015 10:45 am

5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S.

The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has stabilized in recent years after decades of rapid growth. But there have been shifts in the states where unauthorized immigrants live and the countries where they were born.

President Obama’s executive action on immigration, announced Nov. 20, 2014, would among other things expand deportation relief to almost half the unauthorized immigrant population, though this part of the program is on hold due to a lawsuit to stop the move. While executive actions on immigration have a long history, Obama’s recent action was the most significant protection from deportation offered to unauthorized immigrants since 1986, when Congress passed a law that allowed 2.7 million unauthorized immigrants to obtain a green card.

Here are five facts about the unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Unauthorized Immigration