Apr 24, 2015 7:00 am

Refugees stream into Europe, where they are not welcomed with open arms

Many in EU Want Less ImmigrationA humanitarian crisis is developing in Europe as refugees traveling through Libya and other countries seek to enter the European Union via the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in a tragic loss of life for those on overcrowded boats. Most people are fleeing countries in the Middle East and Africa, either because of civil war (Syria and Libya), poverty (sub-Saharan Africa) or other domestic troubles.

But two surveys last year of Europeans show that many, especially Greeks, Italians and others in the continent’s south, hold negative views of immigrants and are concerned about new arrivals from outside the EU.

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Topics: Europe, Immigration Attitudes, Wars and International Conflicts

Apr 23, 2015 1:30 pm

Why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group

The expected growth of Islam around the world is perhaps the most striking finding in the recent Pew Research Center report projecting the future of religious groups. Indeed, Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2010 and 2050 and, in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group.

Islam Growing FastestWhile the world’s population is projected to grow 35% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 73% – from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2050. In 2010, Muslims made up 23.2% of the global population. Four decades later, they are expected to make up about three-in-ten of the world’s people (29.7%).

By 2050, Muslims will be nearly as numerous as Christians, who are projected to remain the world’s largest religious group at 31.4% of the global population.

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Topics: Christians and Christianity, Demographics, Muslims and Islam, Population Projections, Population Trends, Religious Affiliation

Apr 22, 2015 10:00 am

Conservatives are among the most politically active Americans

Political Interest Highest at Ideological Extremes

As the 2016 presidential field starts to take shape, many on the Republican side are pitching themselves squarely to the most conservative wing of the GOP. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, in particular, has argued that the key to Republican victory next year will be nominating someone – presumably himself – who can inspire “millions of courageous conservatives” to vote. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Typology

Apr 22, 2015 7:00 am

America’s death row population is shrinking

Death row population falls since 2000

America’s complicated, conflicted relationship with the death penalty is once more in the news, for a couple of reasons. First, the penalty phase for convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev began this week. Although Massachusetts abolished capital punishment in 1984, Tsarnaev is being tried in federal court, where the death penalty is still an option for more than 40 federal crimes. Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Glossip v. Gross, in which three prisoners on Oklahoma’s death row are challenging the constitutionality of that state’s three-drug execution protocol.

While a majority of Americans continue to favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder – 56%, according to a new Pew Research Center survey – far fewer people are receiving death sentences nowadays than in years past. As a result, fewer U.S. prisoners are facing the possibility of execution than at any time in the past two decades.

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Topics: Criminal Justice, Death Penalty

Apr 21, 2015 7:00 am

By 2050, India to have world’s largest populations of Hindus and Muslims

In the coming decades, India will have the distinction of having the largest populations of two of the three largest religions in the world – Islam and Hinduism – according to new religious projections data from Pew Research Center.

India is already home to most of the world’s Hindus. In 2010, 94% of the world’s Hindus lived in India, and this is expected to remain true in 2050, when 1.3 billion Hindus are projected to live in the country.

But India also is expected have 311 million Muslims in 2050 (11% of the global total), making it the country with the largest population of Muslims in the world. Currently, Indonesia has the world’s largest number of Muslims. Read More

Topics: Hindus and Hinduism, Muslims and Islam, Population Projections, Religion and Society

Apr 20, 2015 12:41 pm

The numbers behind the broadband ‘homework gap’

Since the dawn of the internet, there’s been much talk about the digital divide – the gap between those with access to the internet and those without. But what about the “homework gap”?

In recent years, policymakers and advocates have pushed to make it easier for low-income households with school-age children to have broadband, arguing that low-income students are at a disadvantage without online access in order to do school work these days. Later this year, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to begin a rule-making process to overhaul the Lifeline Program, an initiative that subsidizes telephone subscriptions for low-income households, so that it would also cover broadband.

In 2013, the Lifeline program provided $1.8 billion worth of telephone subsidies for qualified low-income people. The FCC has not yet provided estimates of how much it would cost to add broadband subsidies to the program, but the debate will undoubtedly focus on overall program costs and how many households would be covered.  Read More

Topics: Broadband, Internet Activities

Apr 20, 2015 9:30 am

5 facts about online dating

A lot has changed since Match.com launched (pdf) on April 21, 1995. Then, only 14% of American adults were internet users, and online dating options were scarce. Today, nearly nine-in-ten Americans are online, and dating on the Web has grown in both popularity and acceptance. Although several dating sites have launched since Match.com’s debut, the company remains the most visited online dating site, attracting significantly more visitors than its closest competitor, according to July 2014 comScore data.

As Match.com celebrates its 20th anniversary, here are five facts about online dating from Pew Research Center’s 2013 survey:

1Online dating has lost much of its stigma. A majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people, when that hasn’t always been the case.

FT_online-dating-attitudesWhen we first studied online dating habits in 2005, most Americans had little exposure to online dating or to the people who use it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people. Today, almost half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating—and their attitudes towards online dating have grown progressively more positive.

To be sure, there are still lots of people today who don’t really understand why someone would want to find a romantic partner online—21% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate”—but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was just eight years ago. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Online Dating

Apr 17, 2015 1:48 pm

5 facts about the BP oil spill

On April 20, 2010, an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and sending oil gushing into the water. By the time the well was sealed months later, about 5 million barrels of oil had spilled into the Gulf. Here are five key facts about the oil spill and its aftermath:

Favor or Oppose the Government Allowing More Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling in U.S. Waters?1Support for offshore drilling plummeted after the 2010 spill, but has largely recovered since. Between February and May of 2010, the share of Americans who favored more offshore oil and gas drilling fell from 63% to 54%. By June, support dropped another 10 percentage points and more people opposed increased drilling (52%) than favored it (44%). But support rose subsequent years, though not to the same heights. Last December, 56% said they favored the government allowing more offshore drilling and 40% opposed the practice. In that survey, about three-quarters of Republicans (77%) favored more drilling, as did 55% of independents. Only 41% of Democrats favored more drilling, including just one-in-three liberal Democrats (33%). Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Energy and Environment, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Interest

Apr 17, 2015 9:00 am

Running for president, and announcing it with a tweet

In today’s digital era, what’s the best way to announce that you’re running for president: a tweet, a speech or a media appearance?

Historically, speeches have been by far the most popular way to announce a candidacy. But so far in the 2016 race, two candidates (Hillary Clinton on Sunday and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in March) went online to make their big announcements, while two others (GOP Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida on Monday and Rand Paul of Kentucky on April 7) took the traditional approach with a speech.

Clinton made her announcement with an online video posted on her campaign website (as she did for the 2008 election), while Cruz declared in a midnight tweet: “I’m running for president and I hope to earn your support!” Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Campaign Outreach and Strategy, Internet Activities, Social Media, U.S. Political Figures, U.S. Political Parties

Apr 17, 2015 7:00 am

Despite lower crime rates, support for gun rights increases

For most of the 1990s and the subsequent decade, a substantial majority of Americans believed it was more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun owners’ rights. But in December 2014, the balance of opinion flipped: For the first time, more Americans say that protecting gun rights is more important than controlling gun ownership, 52% to 46%.

A shift in favor of gun rightsWhy has public opinion shifted about gun control? As my colleagues at Pew Research Center have documented elsewhere, some of this is related to politics, as Republicans have become far more supportive of gun rights during the Obama years. The rise in support for gun rights has also spanned many other regional and demographic groups.

But there may be another factor behind this shift: Americans’ changing perceptions about crime. Over the past 25 years or so, there has been a divergence between American perceptions about crime and actual crime rates. And those who worried about crime had favored stricter gun control; now, they tend to desire keeping the laws as they are or loosening gun control. In short, we are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership – not gun control – makes people safer. Read More

Topics: Gun Control, Violence and Society