December 23, 2013

13 data milestones for 2013

In the course of conducting public opinion surveys and demographic analyses, the Pew Research Center found a wide range of data milestones, breakthroughs, peaks and valleys in 2013, including record support for same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana; record levels of distrust of the federal government; record numbers of mothers who were the primary breadwinners for their families; and record numbers of Millennials living with their parents. Here is a look at the highs and lows Americans reached this year, according to our data.

1Just over half (51%) of the public now favors same-sex marriage, while 42% are opposed.

2A majority of Americans (52%) now favor legalizing the use of marijuana.

3A majority agrees the U.S. should mind its own business internationally, the highest measure in nearly a half century of polling.

4The share of Americans saying they do not want their own representative in Congress reelected – 38% – is at its highest point in two decades.

5For the first time, a majority of the public (53%) says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.

636% of the nation’s young adults ages 18 to 31—the so-called Millennial generation— now live in their parents’ home, the highest share in at least four decades.

7A record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family.

8The U.S., which has a total population of 317 million, is now home to a record 40.4 million immigrants.

9A record seven-in-ten (69%) Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall, two percentage points higher than the rate (67%) among their white counterparts.

10The percentage of Americans who say the U.S. plays a more important and powerful role as a world leader than it did 10 years ago has fallen to a 40-year low of just 17%.

11The percentage of American Catholics calling themselves “strong” Catholics is at a four-decade low.

12For the first time since Pew Research Center began tracking smartphone adoption, a majority of Americans now own a smartphone of some kind.

1350% of the public now cites the internet as a main source for national and international news.

Browse all Pew Research Center 2013 reports by topic area and read our timeline of the year in public opinion.

  1. Photo of Andrea Caumont

    is the social media editor at Pew Research Center.


  1. Dr Raj Thamotheram4 years ago

    Great piece. It would be useful to track understanding about climate change and satisfaction with government action.

  2. m.s. Russo4 years ago

    Always amazed how much is overlooked by the news media and those in government when reading these statistics. Do 60% of all high school graduates really need to attend college-level programs to have a useful skill to offer the US workplace – shouldn’t much of this be offered as High School work as it was in the 1950’s and 60’s? The huge percentage of women as sole/principal “breadwinners” is a horrible bad precedence…the US “Standard of Living” almost requires a two-income if a family is to have any disposable or investable income.

    1. MrSonet4 years ago

      I will say it more emphatically….Most High School Graduates should NOT attend college because they are not interested in education. They are more interested in continuing HS frolicking with even more freedom from oversight like those pesky educators, parents and police. Perhaps 30% of HS grads should pursue some type of occupational (skill) training and 30% should actually go into a serious higher education program. The great majority of current public and private colleges and universities are not serious about higher education. They are only serious about one thing…….Generating Cash. Look at the unbelievable amounts of cash in college endowment funds, some have billions, yes billions, of dollars. The colleges cost a lot and the product they provide is a second rate education which does not prepare their graduates to survive in this complicated high tech world.