Jul 13, 2018 11:01 am

Key public opinion findings on Trump, Putin and the countries they lead

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in Danang, Vietnam, in November 2017. (Jorge Silva/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet next week in Finland for their first bilateral summit (though they have met in less formal settings on other occasions). Issues on the table could include the NATO military alliance, U.S. sanctions against Russia, the conflict in Syria and the status of Ukraine. Ahead of the summit, here are key findings about Trump and Putin – and the countries they lead – from Pew Research Center surveys.

1Earlier this year, most Americans (68%) expressed an unfavorable opinion of Putin, but Russians have a relatively positive view of Trump. Just 16% of Americans saw Putin favorably, according to a survey conducted in early 2018, before Putin’s re-election. A quarter of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (25%) said they had a favorable view of Putin, compared with just 9% of Democrats and Democratic leaners. These views have changed little since last year.

For their part, Russian views of both the United States and its president improved dramatically last year compared with the end of the Obama administration, according to a spring 2017 survey. Trump received a higher confidence rating (53%) in Russia than either of his two predecessors ever did. And U.S. favorability more than doubled among Russians between the end of the Obama era (15%) and last year (41%).

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Topics: Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Bilateral Relations, Global Balance of Power, International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, International Governments and Institutions, Donald Trump

Jul 12, 2018 12:11 pm

Key findings on the rise in income inequality within America’s racial and ethnic groups

Income inequality – the gap in incomes between the rich and poor – has increased steadily in the United States since the 1970s. By one measure, the gap between Americans at the top and the bottom of the income ladder increased 27% from 1970 to 2016. However, the rise in inequality within America’s racial and ethnic communities varies strikingly from one group to another, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

In this analysis, which draws on data from the American Community Survey and U.S. decennial censuses, income inequality is measured using the 90/10 ratio – the income of those at the high end (90th percentile) of the income distribution relative to the income of those at the low end (10th percentile). “Income” refers to the resources available to a person based on the income of their household, whether the person had personal earnings or not. Thus, people’s incomes are represented by their household’s income adjusted for household size. (See the report methodology for details.)

Here are five key findings from the report:

1Income inequality in the U.S. is now greatest among Asians. In 2016, the latest year for which data are available, Asians near the top of their income distribution (the 90th percentile) had incomes 10.7 times greater than the incomes of Asians near the bottom of their income distribution (the 10th percentile). The 90/10 ratio among Asians was notably greater than among blacks (9.8), whites (7.8) and Hispanics (7.8).

2Income inequality among Asians in the U.S. nearly doubled from 1970 to 2016. The top-to-bottom income ratio among Asians increased 77% from 1970 to 2016, a far greater increase than among whites (24%), Hispanics (15%) or blacks (7%). As a result, Asians displaced blacks as the most economically divided racial or ethnic group in the U.S. In 1970, income inequality among Asians was roughly on par with whites and Hispanics and significantly less pronounced than it was among blacks. The Asian experience with inequality reflects the fact that the incomes of Asians near the top increased about nine times faster than the incomes of Asians near the bottom from 1970 to 2016, 96% compared with 11%. These were the greatest and the smallest increases in incomes at the two rungs of the ladder among the racial and ethnic groups analyzed.  Read More

Topics: Asian Americans, Income Inequality, Income, Race and Ethnicity

Jul 12, 2018 10:00 am

5 key takeaways about populism and the political landscape in Western Europe

Populist movements have gained ground in many Western European countries, from the United Kingdom’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union to Italy’s formation of a populist government this spring. A new Pew Research Center report explores the attitudes that underlie some of these movements, based on interviews with more than 16,000 adults in eight Western European nations.

In the surveyed countries – Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK – people with populist views (as measured by two questions on anti-establishment attitudes) are more likely than those with mainstream views to distrust traditional institutions, such as the national parliament and the news media. They are also more likely to be frustrated with the economy and to hold negative views toward immigrants. Still, populist sympathies play less of a role in many aspects of European politics than traditional left-right divides do. People in Western Europe, for example, still tend to back political parties that reflect their own ideological preferences.

Below are five key takeaways from the survey:

1Populist attitudes are not confined to one particular end of the ideological spectrum in Western Europe – they exist on the left, center and right. In some cases, populist views are a more significant dividing line on political issues than ideology is. For example, Dutch adults with populist views are less likely than those with mainstream views to say membership in the EU has been good for their country’s economy – and this difference exists whether respondents are on the ideological left, center or right. (For the specific definitions of populist views and ideology used in this study, read our methodology.)

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Topics: Western Europe, Trust in Institutions, Europe, Immigration, Political Attitudes and Values

Jul 11, 2018 9:00 am

Which 7 countries hold half the world’s population?

People at a water park in China, which is home to the world’s largest population. Half of the world’s population lives in just seven countries. (VCG via Getty Images)

As of this month, the world’s population is 7.63 billion, according to the United Nations, which celebrates World Population Day today. More than half of all people around the globe (3.97 billion) live in just seven countries, according to the UN’s estimates. China has the world’s largest population (1.42 billion), followed by India (1.35 billion). The next five most populous nations – the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Nigeria – together have fewer people than India.

Half the world's population lives in 7 countriesAs recently as 2014, half the world’s population was concentrated in just six countries – the same nations as above, with the exception of Nigeria. Recent population growth, however, has been faster in the rest of the world than in these six nations, meaning that the top six now hold slightly less than half (49.4%) of the world’s people. Including Nigeria’s nearly 200 million people puts the world’s seven most populous countries at 52% of the global population.

The demographic future for the U.S. and the world looks very different than it did in the recent past. Growth from 1950 to 2010 was rapid — the global population nearly tripled, and the U.S. population doubled. However, population growth in future decades is projected to be significantly slower and is expected to tilt strongly to the oldest age groups, both globally and in the U.S.

During this century, for example, the UN projects that the number of people living to at least age 100 will increase 140-fold, from 150,000 in the year 2000 to over 21 million in the year 2100.

Topics: Population Geography, Population Trends, Population Projections, Demographics

Jul 10, 2018 12:00 pm

Senate’s August recess could be its shortest in decades

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives leaving the Capitol as Congress began its summer recess in August 2013. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent decision to shorten the chamber’s August recess isn’t unprecedented. But in an election year – when a third of senators are on the campaign trail – it’s unusual, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of congressional session data going back to 1971, when the August recess was formally established.

The last time the Senate significantly abbreviated its August recess in an election year was 1994. That year, both the Senate and the House delayed the break as lawmakers worked primarily on health care and crime legislation. The Senate delayed its recess until Aug. 25; the House until Aug. 27.

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Topics: Congress, Federal Government, Elections and Campaigns

Jul 9, 2018 1:31 pm

NATO is seen favorably in many member countries, but almost half of Americans say it does too little

Fighter jets fly over flags of member countries during a ceremony for the NATO summit in Brussels on May 25, 2017. (Justin Tallis–Pool/Getty Images)

Representatives from the 29 countries that form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will gather for a summit this month in Brussels. The meeting takes place amid increased tensions between the United States and its NATO allies. Topics likely to be addressed include relations with Russia, joint military operations and member countries’ spending on collective defense.

Here are five facts about how the alliance is seen in the U.S. and abroad:

1 In many NATO member countries, majorities approve of the allianceNATO is viewed favorably by people in the U.S. and many member countries. About six-in-ten Americans (62%) had a favorable opinion of NATO in a 2017 Pew Research Center survey of the U.S. and 11 other member countries. U.S. goodwill toward the alliance was significantly higher than in 2016, when 53% had a favorable view.

Across all 12 NATO member countries included in the 2017 survey, a median of 61% approved of the alliance, including a majority of respondents in every country except Spain, Greece and Turkey. In the Netherlands and Poland, roughly eight-in-ten (79%) said they have a positive view of NATO. Favorable views of NATO increased in many of these European countries between 2016 and 2017.

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Topics: Global Balance of Power, International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, International Organizations

Jul 9, 2018 6:59 am

Americans are closely divided over value of medical treatments, but most agree costs are a big problem

Christian Hinrichs, an investigator specializing in HPV+ cancers at the National Cancer Institute, shows patient Fred Janick, a metastatic cancer survivor, a CT scan showing his cancerous tumors, right, and a clean scan after treatment in February. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans have mixed assessments about the overall value of medical treatments today, even while a strong majority says science has generally improved the quality of U.S. health care, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. At the same time, a substantial majority considers quality health care unaffordable.

Americans are closely divided over the value of medical treatments todayOverall, 48% of U.S. adults say medical treatments are “worth the costs because they allow people to live longer and better quality lives,” while a similar share (51%) says such treatments “often create as many problems as they solve.”

The survey also finds that 90% of Americans believe science has had a mostly positive effect on the quality of health care. This is in keeping with a 2016 Pew Research Center report, which found that, among the 67% of Americans who said science has had a mostly positive effect on society, the largest share (59%), in an open-ended question, cited science’s effect on medicine and health as the main reason.

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Topics: Health, Science and Innovation, Health Care

Jul 6, 2018 1:32 pm

Border apprehensions of migrant families have risen substantially so far in 2018

Central American asylum seekers wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take them into custody on June 12 near McAllen, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The United States apprehended nearly 49,000 family members at the U.S.-Mexico border between January and June of this year – more than twice as many as during the same time period last year, and the highest number during any January-June period since at least 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Family members also increased as a share of all border apprehensions (24%) over this period compared with the past six years.

All told, there were nearly 203,000 apprehensions along the southern U.S. border during the first half of the year, compared with around 104,000 during the same period in 2017. These figures include family members as well as unaccompanied children and individuals.

The apprehension of families and unaccompanied children has received renewed attention following the Trump administration’s announcement of a “zero tolerance” policy in April. The policy led families to be separated at the border starting in May, though President Donald Trump ended the separation policy in an executive order late last month.

Family units make up an increasing share of U.S. border apprehensionsThis May – the first full month during which the policy was in effect – border agents apprehended 9,485 family members at the U.S.-Mexico border. This represents a significant increase over the same month last year (1,580), though is still lower than in May 2014 (12,772), when apprehensions spiked amid a surge in immigration, particularly among Central American children. Family apprehensions made up nearly a quarter (24%) of all Southwest border apprehensions in May this year, the highest share for that month since at least 2012.

Though Trump ended the separation policy in late June, Customs and Border Protection apprehended a similar number of family members at the Southwest border that month (9,449), representing a slightly larger share of all June apprehensions (28%).

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Global Migration and Demography, Migration, Immigration

Jul 5, 2018 6:59 am

For the first time, U.S. resettles fewer refugees than the rest of the world

Canadian Border Services Officer Boakye-Cotie processes a Syrian refugee family at Toronto Pearson International Airport in December 2015. Non-U.S. countries resettled more than twice as many refugees as the U.S. in 2017. (Kenneth Allan/Canada Border Services Agency/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The number of refugees resettled in the United States decreased more than in any other country in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This represents the first time since the adoption of the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act that the U.S. resettled fewer refugees than the rest of the world.

The U.S. has historically led the world in refugee resettlement. Since 1980, the U.S. has taken in 3 million of the more than 4 million refugees resettled worldwide.

Number of refugees resettled in the U.S. falls below total from the rest of the world for the first time in 2017But in 2017, the U.S. resettled 33,000 refugees, the country’s lowest total since the years following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a steep drop from 2016, when it resettled about 97,000.

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Migration, Wars and International Conflicts, Immigration

Jul 4, 2018 6:58 am

How Americans see their country and their democracy

(Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

On the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate the birth of the nation and the values that have sustained the country and its democracy in the nearly 250 years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Americans’ views vary when it comes to how they see the United States’ standing in the world and the state of its democracy. Here are key findings from Pew Research Center surveys:

1A majority of Americans believe the U.S. is one of the greatest nations in the world. More than eight-in-ten (85%) said in a June 2017 survey that the U.S. either “stands above all other countries in the world” (29%) or that it is “one of the greatest countries, along with some others” (56%). While large shares in all adult generations say America is among the greatest countries, those in the Silent Generation (ages 73 to 90 in 2018) are the most likely to say the U.S. “stands above” all others (46%), while Millennials are the least likely to say this (18%).

2At the same time, nearly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) say the U.S. is less respected abroad than it was in the past. There have been considerable changes in how Republicans and Democrats view the global level of respect for the U.S., according to a survey conducted last year. Last fall, 42% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said the U.S. is less respected than it was in the past, the lowest share saying this in more than a decade. In comparison, 87% of Democrats and Democratic leaners said the U.S. is less respected than it was in the past, an increase from 58% in 2016.

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Topics: Country Image, Democracy, National and Cultural Identity