Over the course of Nelson Mandela’s 95 years, South Africa evolved from a white-ruled British dominion to a republic representative of its majority-black population. But while the country has changed politically and demographically, economically it still looks much as it did nearly a century ago, divided along racial lines.
This infographic from The Economist shows how economic disparities between South Africa’s major racial groups (measured in real per-capita income) have grown over time. The gap between whites and all other groups grew wider till about 1970; white income growth flattened out in the 1970s and 1980s, as sanctions hobbled the country’s economy. But as sanctions were lifted after the collapse of the apartheid regime, whites and Asians (mostly of Indian descent) have benefited the most while black incomes have been nearly flat. Read More →
Category: Chart of the Week
Topics: Sub-Saharan Africa
After Pope Francis was elected in March, 70% of U.S. Catholics said that addressing the abuse scandal should be “a top priority” for him.
Pope Francis is creating a new commission to advise the Vatican on how to deal with the ongoing clergy sex abuse scandal, which continues to make headlines in the U.S.
Effects from the scandal continue to ripple across the U.S. Catholic landscape. On Thursday, the same day Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley announced the commission’s formation, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released a list of more than 30 priests it says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.
The Vatican’s announcement comes after some recent criticism of the pope’s response to the sex abuse scandal for not moving more forcefully to confront the problem.
Category: Daily Number
President Obama took on a topic yesterday that most Americans don’t like to talk about much: inequality. There are a lot of ways to measure economic inequality (and we’ll be discussing more on Fact Tank), but one basic approach is to look at how much income flows to groups at different steps on the economic ladder.
Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at UC-Berkeley, has been doing just that for years. And according to his research, U.S. income inequality has been increasing steadily since the 1970s, and now has reached levels not seen since 1928. (The GIF file at the top of this post, created by Dorsey Shaw of Buzzfeed, compares growth in average income of the top 1% of Americans with everyone else.) Read More →
The issue of income inequality is back in the news at a time when the U.S. public believes there is a growing gulf between rich and poor that is likely to continue, according to recent Pew Research Center surveys.
President Obama focused on the issue in a Wednesday speech in which he said there was “a dangerous and growing inequality” in the nation which now stood as “the defining challenge of our time.”
A substantial majority of Americans (65%) said in an July 2012 Pew Research survey that they believed the income gap between the rich and poor had widened over the last decade. Just 20% said it had stayed the same and 7% said it was smaller. Most of those (57%) who believed the gap had grown said it was a bad thing for society.
Republicans and Democrats have sharply different views about America’s role in the world and on some key questions – such as whether the U.S. is more or less respected than in the past — their opinions depend on whether their party controls the White House, according to a new Pew Research Center survey released this week.
About three-quarters (74%) of Republicans surveyed in November said the U.S. now plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than 10 years ago —more than the overall public (53%) and far more than Democrats (33%).
The partisan gap on whether the U.S. is less respected in the world than in the past is smaller than the gap on the question about the U.S. as a world leader: Eight-in-ten Republicans hold that view compared to 56% of Democrats. But the survey shows a big shift in sentiment among Republicans and Democrats over the years depending on whose party held the White House. Read More →
When President Obama was elected in 2008, he reaped 66% of the vote among Millennials, and in his re-election campaign last year, he came away with 60% of their vote. Obama isn’t going to be running again, but a new survey of young Americans’ attitudes conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics suggests that 18-to-29 year olds now have a more negative view of his presidency.
The survey, conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 11, finds that 54% of Millennials disapprove of Obama’s performance as president while 41% approve — an 11-point drop since Harvard’s April survey and the lowest approval rating for Obama among this group since he took office. (Harvard has conducted its surveys of young Americans 24 times since 2000).
The level of disapproval is about the same (56%) for younger Millennials ages 18 to 24 and older ones (53%), ages 25 to 29. But his ratings have fallen in every subgroup, the survey finds. His approval rating among college students is down 11 points since last spring to 39%; among young male voters 9 points; and, among young female voters 15 points.
Obama also suffered declines in approval numbers since last spring of 10 points among young white voters; 18 points among Hispanics; and 9 points among blacks. (However, his approval among blacks still stood at 75%).
While the fall-off in Millennial support has attracted attention because that group has been a key component of Obama’s constituency, it is important to note that Pew Research Center surveys over the same period as the Harvard polls show his losses among 18 to 29 year-olds are no greater than in any other age group. In the Harvard survey, the drop in Obama’s ratings tracked a decline in the number of young Americans who believe the country is heading in the right direction. Just 14% of those surveyed said the country was headed in the right direction, 49% said it was headed in the wrong direction and the remainder was unsure. This trend was particularly pronounced among 18 to 29 year-old women.
The survey also included findings on a range of issues, including mostly negative views on Obama’s health care law. As next year’s midterm elections approach, the survey found that younger Millennials, those under 24, were trending less Democratic. About 3-in-10 (31%) of this group identified with the Democrats, down from the 36% that did so in the last three surveys dating back to March 2012. A quarter of the younger Millennials identified with the Republicans. The share of older Millennials (25 to 29 year olds) remained fairly steady at 38% who identified with Democrats compared to 22% who sided with the GOP.
Congressional Democrats are pushing a bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum to $10.10/hour from $7.25 and index it to the Consumer Price Index. But the measure faces little chance of passing the Republican-led House, where many members argue that a higher minimum wage would lead businesses to cut jobs.
Meanwhile, states and cities are taking up the issue. On Tuesday, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted to raise the capital city’s minimum wage to $11.50/hour from $8.25 by 2016. Last month, New Jerseyans voted to raise their state’s minimum wage to $8.25/hour and index future increases to inflation. Massachusetts’ state Senate voted last month to raise its hourly minimum wage to $11.00 from $8.00. Read More →
Category: 5 Facts
Topics: Economics and Personal Finances
Promoting democracy abroad was cited as a top foreign policy priority by just 18% of Americans.
U.S. political leaders have long spoken of America’s democracy as pivotal to its role in the world, whether it was Woodrow Wilson declaring in 1917 that the U.S. must enter World War I to make the world “safe for democracy,” or George W. Bush saying, on his re-election in 2004, that “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.”
But promoting democracy in other nations in recent decades has not been a top priority for the American public. A new Pew Research Center survey on “America’s Place in the World” found that just 18% of those surveyed cited this as a top foreign policy objective, putting it at the bottom of a list of priorities. Since 1993, the share of Americans saying promotion of democracy was a top priority has never topped 29%.
Just under three-in-ten (27%) Democrats saw promoting democracy abroad as a priority, with much less support coming from Republicans (16%) and independents (13%).
Category: Daily Number
A dozen years after 9/11 and the start of the war in Afghanistan, the public has mixed opinions about whether certain policies have made the U.S. safer from terrorism.
A new survey of the general public — as part of the quadrennial America’s Place in the World survey conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 6 — asked whether government surveillance programs, the use of military drones and the war in Afghanistan have made the country safer.
Of these three issues, Americans are most in agreement when it comes to military drones that target extremists in Pakistan and elsewhere. Among those we surveyed about these anti-terrorism policies, half say the policy has made the U.S. safer. Just 14% believe drones have made the U.S. less safe and 27% say they have not made a difference.
This balance of opinion is largely consistent across partisan lines—55% of Republicans and 49% of Democrats say the program has made the country safer. Women are more skeptical than men about the impacts, with 57% of men saying this, compared with only 43% of women. (Internationally, however, the drone program is widely unpopular; at least half of the public disapproved in 31 of 39 nations surveyed this spring by the Pew Research Center.) Read More →
Topics: National Security
There are nearly 591 million internet users in China.
China has more internet users than nearly all other countries have people. (The lone exception is India.) According to the latest semiannual report from the official China Internet Network Information Center, 590.56 million people in China were using the internet at mid-2013, an increase of nearly 53 million (or 9.85%) from a year earlier. By comparison, the U.S. has the second-most internet users — 254 million, according to the Harvard Business Review, but that’s less than half as many as China.
Internet penetration in China continues to rise, but is still just 44.1%, according to the center’s report; a year earlier it was 39.9%. By contrast, according to the Pew Research Center, almost everyone in the U.S. who wants to be online already is: 85% of Americans ages 18 and older (and 95% of teens) use the internet or email, and only 8% of those who don’t say they’re interested in starting.
The center, which manages the .cn top-level domain and allocates domestic IP addresses, also reported that 78.5% of China’s internet users, or 464 million people, access it via their mobile phones (including 70% of new users). By contrast, 69.5% of Chinese users used desktops, down from 70.6% at the end of 2012.
Category: Daily Number