Jan 23, 2018 7:00 am

Americans see both good and bad in trends that are changing the workplace

Among the trends reshaping the U.S. workplace, more Americans see outsourcing of jobs, more immigrant workers and imports as negative rather than positive forces when it comes to their livelihoods, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in August and September 2017.

But U.S. workers also see a bright side in some trends, with more Americans citing the growing emphasis on diversity, the increase of women in the workforce and more U.S.-made products being sold abroad as positive rather than negative. Views on the automation of jobs through new technology are divided.

Among Americans who are employed or have been looking for work, increased outsourcing of jobs to other countries tops the list of trends they say have hurt their job or career. Three-in-ten say this is the case, compared with roughly one-in-five (22%) who say the same about the growing number of immigrants working in the U.S. and 20% who blame a rise in imports. Overall, however, majorities say these factors haven’t made much difference in their job or career.

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Topics: Work and Employment, Business and Labor

Jan 22, 2018 7:00 am

American religious groups vary widely in their views of abortion

More than four decades after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, most Americans (57%) are supportive of legal abortion, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. But a substantial minority (40%) says abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and within some U.S. denominations and religious groups, this figure is much higher.

For instance, most Jehovah’s Witnesses (75%) and Mormons (70%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, a survey of more than 35,000 Americans in all 50 states. The same holds true for members of some evangelical churches, including the Pentecostal denominations Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) (77%) and Assemblies of God (71%), as well as America’s largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (66%). Indeed, among all those who are part of the evangelical tradition, nearly twice as many say they oppose legal abortion as support it (63% to 33%).

By comparison, only 35% of those who are part of the mainline Protestant tradition say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, with 60% in support of keeping abortion legal. Members of the Episcopal Church (79%) and the United Church of Christ (72%) are especially likely to support legal abortion, while most members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the mainline Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (65%) also take this position.

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Topics: Religion and Society, Abortion, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Social Values

Jan 19, 2018 3:00 pm

Public backs legal status for immigrants brought to U.S. illegally as children, but not a bigger border wall

The American public has clear-cut opinions on both issues at the center of the current debate on immigration policy. A large majority (74%) favors granting permanent legal status to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children, but 60% oppose a proposal to “substantially expand the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico” – a longtime goal of President Donald Trump.

When the two policies are taken together, 54% of Americans both favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and oppose greatly expanding the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 10-15.

There are substantial partisan differences in opinions about both policies: About nine-in-ten (92%) Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children should be granted permanent legal status. Republicans and Republican leaners favor this approach as well, though by a much more modest margin: 50% support this, while 40% are opposed.

This question addresses all unauthorized immigrants who meet this description and does not specifically mention those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), whose fate has emerged as a key issue in last-minute congressional negotiations aimed at avoiding a government shutdown.

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Topics: Immigration, Unauthorized Immigration, Immigration Attitudes, Immigration Trends

Jan 19, 2018 7:00 am

Very liberal or conservative legislators most likely to share news on Facebook

The most ideological members of Congress shared news stories on their Facebook pages more than twice as often as moderate legislators between Jan. 2, 2015, and July 20, 2017, according to a new Pew Research Center study that examined all official Facebook posts created by members of Congress in this period.

The analysis included links to national news websites that members of Congress linked to at least 25 times overall in the time studied.

Members of Congress with very conservative or very liberal voting records shared news links in about 14% of all their posts. But members with more moderate ideology scores shared links to news stories in just 6% of their posts. (Ideology measures are derived from an analysis of congressional roll call votes compiled by Voteview.com. Moderate members were defined as those with scores in the middle 20% of Voteview’s DW-NOMINATE measure, while very liberal or conservative members had scores in the 10% most liberal and 10% most conservative ends of the measure.)

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Topics: Congress, Social Media, Political Polarization

Jan 18, 2018 12:00 pm

Naturalization rate among U.S. immigrants up since 2005, with India among the biggest gainers

Youdelyn Momperemier, originally from Haiti, becomes an American citizen during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Hialeah, Florida, on Jan. 12. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Youdelyn Momperemier, originally from Haiti, becomes an American citizen during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Hialeah, Florida, on Jan. 12. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Most of the United States’ 20 largest immigrant groups experienced increases in naturalization rates between 2005 and 2015, with India and Ecuador posting the biggest increases among origin countries, according to Pew Research Center estimates of immigrants eligible for U.S. citizenship.

This trend came during a period when the total number of naturalized immigrants in the U.S. increased from 14.4 million in 2005 to 19.8 million in 2015, a 37% increase.

By 2015, eligible immigrants from India had one of the higher naturalization rates (80%) due to a 12-percentage-point increase in its naturalization rate since 2005. Only eligible immigrants from Ecuador (68% in 2015) had as large an increase. This is a bigger increase than for U.S. immigrants overall, among whom naturalization rates jumped from 62% in 2005 to 67% in 2015. (Eligible immigrants from Vietnam, 86%, and Iran, 85%, had the highest naturalization rates of any group in 2015.)

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Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Citizenship

Jan 18, 2018 10:00 am

Is U.S. fertility at an all-time low? It depends

U.S. fertility rates have reached another record low, at 62.0 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age, according to the most recent government figures. To some, this is cause for hand-wringing, as concerns arise that low fertility will spell problems for the nation’s economy; while others, concerned about limited natural resources, may look positively on the decline.

But aside from this debate, the question remains: Is this really a record low? The short answer is: It’s complicated.

That’s because there are different ways to measure fertility. Three of the most commonly used indicators of fertility are the general fertility rate (GFR); completed fertility; and the total fertility rate (TFR). All three reflect fertility behavior in slightly different ways – respectively, in terms of the annual rate at which women are presently having kids; the number of kids they ultimately have; or the hypothetical number they would likely have based on present fertility patterns.

None of these indicators is “right” or “wrong,” but each tells a different story about when fertility bottomed out.

The latest report from the National Center for Health Statistics used the general fertility rate to show that U.S. fertility in 2016 was at an all-time low. For every 1,000 women of childbearing age – typically defined as ages 15 to 44 – there were 62.0 births.

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Topics: Research Methods, Population Trends, Birth Rate and Fertility

Jan 17, 2018 12:00 pm

Half of Americans think young people don’t pursue STEM because it is too hard

Teaching assistant Camille Lombard talks with students Bijan Ameli, left, and Mike Feigenbaum in a chemistry class at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 2015. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Teaching assistant Camille Lombard talks with students Bijan Ameli, left, and Mike Feigenbaum in a chemistry class at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 2015. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

When Americans are asked why more students don’t pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), they are most likely to point to the difficulty of these subjects, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. About half of adults (52%) say the main reason young people don’t pursue STEM degrees is they think these subjects are too hard.

Policymakers and educators have long puzzled over why more students do not pursue STEM majors in college, even though those who have an undergraduate degree in a STEM field of study earn more than those with other college majors – regardless of whether they work in a STEM job or a different occupation. Yet only a third of workers (33%) ages 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree have an undergraduate degree in a STEM field, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

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Topics: Education, Work and Employment, Science and Innovation

Jan 17, 2018 7:00 am

Americans interested in the environment are the most likely to feel civic obligation to follow science news

While there are many reasons that Americans get science news, the most common driver of attention to science news is curiosity, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center study. But people are also motivated to seek out science news for different reasons depending on the issues they care about most, with the environment being a prime example.

About eight-in-ten Americans (81%) cited curiosity as a major or minor reason they follow science news, far higher than any of the other six reasons asked about (all but one of which are personal, such as science’s relevance to one’s everyday life, hobbies or children).

However, one notable driver for seeking out science news is a sense of obligation to the broader community: About half (48%) of those surveyed said they follow science news because they feel a civic obligation to do so.

Those with a high interest in energy and the environment stand out as particularly likely to say that feeling a social or civic obligation is a reason they follow science news (73%) – though nearly all of them (95%) also cited curiosity as a reason. The higher sense of civic obligation in this group holds true regardless of party identification, even though they are more likely to be Democrats (67% are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents) than those who prefer other science topics.

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Topics: Energy and Environment, News Interest, Science and Innovation

Jan 16, 2018 11:31 am

Many people in other countries closely follow news about the U.S.

A man in Tokyo reads an extra edition of a newspaper featuring a report on the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 9, 2016. (Yuya Shino/Getty Images)
A man in Tokyo reads an extra edition of a newspaper featuring a report on the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 9, 2016. (Yuya Shino/Getty Images)

Substantial shares of people around the globe say they closely follow news about the United States, according to a new Pew Research Center report.

Across 37 countries surveyed in the spring of 2017, a median of 48% say they closely follow news about the U.S., compared with 50% who do not. (While interest in U.S. news is high in many countries, overall, people around the world follow national and local news more closely than international news.)

Interest in news about the U.S. is highest in Canada, where 78% say they track it closely. Next highest is the Netherlands (75%), followed by some of America’s closest allies: Japan, Germany and Australia. Across 10 European nations, a median of 51% say they follow news about America closely.

Many Latin Americans, on the other hand, are not particularly interested in what happens in the U.S. Roughly four-in-ten or fewer in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Peru follow U.S. news closely. However, a 55% majority of Mexicans follow American news closely.

Besides the countries surveyed in Latin America, interest in U.S. news is lowest in Jordan (26%), Indonesia (29%), Hungary (32%) and Lebanon (34%).

For the most part, people in the countries surveyed who have a favorable view of the U.S. are no more likely than those with an unfavorable view to closely follow events in the U.S. One exception is in Russia, where 57% of those with a favorable view of the U.S. follow U.S. news closely, compared with 44% among those with an unfavorable opinion.  Read More

Topics: News Media Trends, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Foreign News

Jan 16, 2018 7:01 am

Congress has long struggled to pass spending bills on time

Nearly four months into fiscal 2018, Congress has passed none of the dozen spending bills it’s theoretically supposed to enact every year. Instead, lawmakers are on their third stopgap measure, which keeps government operations funded until Jan. 19. Failure to enact full-year spending bills by that date – or, failing that, another short-term measure – would force big chunks of the federal government to shut down.

If all this sounds familiar, it should. Far from being a new symptom of present-day Washington dysfunction, Congress’ chronic inability to follow its own appropriations process goes back decades. In fact, in the four decades since the current system for budgeting and spending tax dollars has been in effect, Congress has managed to pass all its required appropriations measures on time only four times: in fiscal 1977 (the first full fiscal year under the current system), 1989, 1995 and 1997.

The “standard” appropriations process, as laid out in the 1974 Congressional Budget Act, goes like this: After the president submits his budget proposal, the House and Senate adopt their own budget resolution. While it doesn’t have the force of law, the budget resolution sets out the overall spending framework for the coming fiscal year and serves to guide lawmakers as they address specific tax and spending decisions.

But agreeing on a budget resolution has itself often proven problematic. Although the Congressional Budget Act establishes April 15 as the target date, Congress frequently misses that deadline (this year, for example, the resolution wasn’t agreed to till Oct. 26) – or, as in six of the seven most recent fiscal years, never adopts a formal budget resolution at all.

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Topics: Congress, Government Spending and the Deficit