Mar 15, 2017 6:58 am

European asylum applications remained near record levels in 2016

A migrant waits at a police registration point for asylum seekers in Erding, Germany, on Nov, 15, 2016. (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images)
A migrant waits at a police registration point for asylum seekers in Erding, Germany, on Nov. 15, 2016. (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images)

Europe’s record for annual asylum applications was nearly broken last year, but the numbers trailed off considerably by the end of 2016 and fell short of the previous year’s peak surge in late summer and early fall.

In 2016, European Union countries, Norway and Switzerland received more than 1.2 million asylum applications, only about 92,000 fewer than the record 1.3 million applications received in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of recently released data from Eurostat, Europe’s statistical agency.

At the same time, however, the number of monthly asylum applications in Europe decreased considerably at the end of 2016, dropping from 100,000 or more applications per month for most of 2016 to about 80,000 in October, 72,000 in November and 61,000 in December. The monthly number of asylum applications at the end of 2016 was similar to that of the beginning part of 2015, before the refugee surge.

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Topics: Europe, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Wars and International Conflicts

Mar 14, 2017 11:02 am

In Trump presidency, nearly 2,500 refugees have entered U.S. from six travel-restricted countries

Note: As of March 15, a federal judge had ordered a freeze on the new travel restrictions issued by President Trump.

A total of 2,466 refugees from six countries under new travel restrictions – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – have resettled in the United States since Donald Trump became president, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. The number of refugees from the six travel-restricted countries represents 32% of all refugees who have entered the U.S. since Trump took office.

Trump recently signed a new executive order, scheduled to take effect March 16, that bars new U.S. visas for 90 days for people holding citizenship from the six nations while security measures in those countries are reviewed. (A previous order that took effect Jan. 27 also barred citizens of Iraq, but parts of it were stopped by the courts.) The new order also suspends refugee admissions to the U.S. from all countries for 120 days, pending a review of security screening measures.

During the first full week of Trump’s presidency (Jan. 21-27), 687 refugees from the six restricted countries entered the U.S., accounting for 34% of all refugee admissions that week. The following week, Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, refugee admissions from the six restricted countries all but stopped after Trump’s original executive order on restrictions took effect. They then resumed shortly after a federal judge in Washington state suspended key parts of Trump’s initial order on Feb. 3 and lifted the travel restrictions, a decision that was upheld by a federal appeals court. (For a look at weekly refugee admissions after the initial executive order, see our earlier analysis.)

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Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Donald Trump, Federal Government, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, North America

Mar 14, 2017 6:57 am

For Pi Day, key figures on math and education in the U.S.

For almost 30 years, math enthusiasts have been taking part in festivities on March 14 to honor an infinitely long number beginning with 3.14 – the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, otherwise known as pi.

The first official Pi Day was March 14, 1988, when physicist Larry Shaw led staff and visitors to San Francisco’s Exploratorium in a celebration of all things pi-related. Since then, it has been celebrated across the globe, with universities, conferences and even pizzerias honoring the day.

To mark Pi Day, here are four findings about math and education in the United States:

1Americans rank math as one of the most important skills children need today to get ahead. In a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, respondents were asked, “Regardless of whether or not you think these skills are good to have, which ones do you think are most important for children to get ahead in the world today?” Roughly eight-in-ten U.S. adults (79%) said math is one of the most important skills needed for youth to get ahead. That placed math on par with teamwork, but slightly lower than communication and reading.

2Despite a recent dip in scores, U.S. students are more proficient in math than they were two decades ago. Four-in-ten fourth-graders and 33% of eighth-graders scored as “proficient” or “advanced” in math in 2015, according to a report released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) last fall. By comparison, only 13% of fourth-graders and 15% of eighth-graders were rated at or above proficient in 1990. However, math scores have declined since the previous assessment in 2013, representing the first drop in proficiency in 25 years.

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Topics: Education, Science and Innovation, Technology Adoption, Work and Employment

Mar 10, 2017 9:06 am

Six countries named in revised Trump travel order accounted for more than 650,000 U.S. entries since 2006

The six nations affected by a new executive order that prevents their citizens from obtaining new visas to enter the United States for 90 days accounted for 649,932 legal U.S. entries between fiscal years 2006 and 2015. This group includes visitors, students and diplomats as well as refugees and new lawful permanent residents, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

Entries from the affected countries made up about 0.1% of the more than 517 million total entries to the U.S. over the same period. (Entries include individuals visiting the U.S. as well as new lawful immigrants and refugees. They do not include unauthorized entries or asylum seekers. One person may account for multiple entries.)

The new order, signed by President Donald Trump on March 6, takes effect March 16 and supersedes a previous order signed on Jan. 27 that was later blocked by U.S. courts. The new order specifies that most citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen cannot enter the U.S. on new visas until security procedures used to evaluate visa applications have been reviewed; it excludes Iraq, which was a seventh country named in the January order. (A previous analysis by the Center estimated there were more than 900,000 legal entries of citizens from restricted countries between 2006 and 2015 when Iraq was included in the list of restricted countries.)

Diplomats, U.S. lawful permanent residents, dual nationals who use a passport from another country and refugees already scheduled to travel to the U.S. are among the groups exempt from the travel restrictions. The president’s new order will also temporarily halt the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days.

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Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, North America

Mar 9, 2017 1:32 pm

Led by Baby Boomers, divorce rates climb for America’s 50+ population

babAt a time when divorce is becoming less common for younger adults, so-called “gray divorce” is on the rise: Among U.S. adults ages 50 and older, the divorce rate has roughly doubled since the 1990s.

In 2015, for every 1,000 married persons ages 50 and older, 10 divorced – up from five in 1990, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau. Among those ages 65 and older, the divorce rate has roughly tripled since 1990, reaching six people per 1,000 married persons in 2015.

While the divorce rate for adults 50 and older has risen sharply over the past 25 years, it has remained relatively steady for this age group since 2008, when the Census Bureau began collecting divorce data yearly as part of its American Community Survey.

Still, the divorce rate for those younger than 50 is about twice as high as it is for adults 50 and older. And since 1990 the divorce rate has also climbed slightly for adults ages 40 to 49, though not to the extent of those 50 and older.  Read More

Topics: Baby Boomers, Generations and Age, Marriage and Divorce, Older Adults, Social Values

Mar 9, 2017 7:01 am

Roughly one-in-five police frequently feel angry and frustrated on the job

About one-in-five police officers nationally (21%) say their job nearly always or often makes them feel angry and frustrated – feelings that are linked to more negative views toward the public. These frequently angry, frustrated officers also are more likely than their colleagues to support more physical or aggressive policing methods, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted May 19-Aug. 14, 2016, by the National Police Research Platform of 7,917 sworn police and sheriff’s officers in 54 departments with at least 100 officers.

Frustration is more prevalent than anger among today’s police officers. About half of the officers surveyed (51%) say their work nearly always (10%) or often (41%) makes them feel frustrated, while 22% say they nearly always (3%) or often (19%) feel angry. When these two measures are combined, a total of 21% of officers say they nearly always or often feel angry and frustrated.

The survey finds that officers who frequently feel angry and frustrated by their job are twice as likely as all other police to say officers have reason to distrust most people (46% vs. 23%). They are more likely than their colleagues to agree that some people can only be brought to reason the hard, physical way (56% vs. 41%) and to say they have become more callous toward people since taking this job (77% vs. 50%).  Read More

Topics: Business and Labor, Criminal Justice, Violence and Society, Work and Employment

Mar 8, 2017 2:06 pm

Immigration projected to drive growth in U.S. working-age population through at least 2035

For most of the past half-century, adults in the U.S. Baby Boom generation – those born after World War II and before 1965 – have been the main driver of the nation’s expanding workforce. But as this large generation heads into retirement, the increase in the potential labor force will slow markedly, and immigrants will play the primary role in the future growth of the working-age population (though they will remain a minority of it).

The number of adults in the prime working ages of 25 to 64 – 173.2 million in 2015 – will rise to 183.2 million in 2035, according to Pew Research Center projections. That total growth of 10 million over two decades will be lower than the total in any single decade since the Baby Boomers began pouring into the workforce in the 1960s. The growth rate of working-age adults will also be markedly reduced.

The largest segment of working-age adults – those born in the U.S. whose parents also were born in the U.S. – is projected to decline from 2015 to 2035, both in numbers and as a share of the working-age population. The Center’s projections show a reduction of 8.2 million of these adults, from 128.3 million in 2015 to 120.1 million in 2035.

That numerical loss will be partially offset by an increase in the number of working-age U.S.-born adults with immigrant parents, who are projected to number 24.6 million in 2035, up from 11.1 million in 2015.

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Topics: Business and Labor, Demographics, Generations and Age, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration

Mar 8, 2017 12:17 pm

In Republicans’ views of a border wall, proximity to Mexico matters

Republicans overwhelmingly favor the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. But Republicans who live closer to the border are less likely to support the wall than are those who live farther away.

A survey last month by Pew Research Center found that 35% of the public favored building a wall along the entire U.S-Mexican border, while 62% were opposed. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (74%) supported building the wall, compared with just 8% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

A new analysis of this data finds that 63% of Republicans who live less than 350 miles from the border support building the wall, compared with 34% who oppose the wall. Those who live at least 350 miles away from the border, by contrast, are more supportive of the wall (76% favor, 21% oppose).

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Topics: Immigration Attitudes, Mexico, North America, Political Issue Priorities, Population Geography, U.S. Political Parties

Mar 8, 2017 9:00 am

Number of women leaders around the world has grown, but they’re still a small group

As nations around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, the number of countries that have had a female leader continues to expand. But the list is still relatively short, and even when women have made it to power, they’ve rarely led for a long time.

Fifty-six of the 146 nations (38%) studied by the World Economic Forum in 2014 and 2016 have had a female head of government or state for at least one year in the past half-century. In 31 of these countries, women have led for five years or less; in 10 nations, they have led for only a year. The Marshall Islands, which is not included on the WEF list of countries, has also had a female leader for one year. 

At least 13 additional countries have had women leaders who held office for less than a year, according to a separate analysis by Pew Research Center. Of these countries, Ecuador and Madagascar had women leaders for a total of just two days. In South Africa, a woman was president for a 14-hour stretch, but she had briefly served as acting president before; in all three countries, women leaders were replaced by men.  Read More

Topics: Gender, International Governments and Institutions, Non-U.S. Political Leaders

Mar 7, 2017 3:35 pm

What the unemployment rate does – and doesn’t – say about the economy

Every month, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a flood of data about employment and unemployment in the U.S. And every month, the lion’s share of the attention goes to one figure – the unemployment rate, which was a seasonally adjusted 4.8% in January. (The February report comes out on Friday.)

But the unemployment rate is just one indicator of how the U.S. economy is doing, and it’s not always the best one. Simply being out of work isn’t enough for a person to be counted as unemployed; he or she also has to be available to work and actively looking for work (or on temporary layoff). In any given month, the unemployment rate can rise or fall based not just on how many people find or lose jobs, but on how many join or leave the active labor force.

There are, in fact, five other monthly measures of what the BLS calls “labor underutilization” besides the official unemployment rate, as well as scores of other measurements – labor force participation rates, employment-population ratios, average weekly wages, average hours worked and more. Knowing what those other data points are, where they come from and how they’re calculated is critical in understanding what they do – and don’t – tell us about the nation’s workers. Read More

Topics: Business and Labor, Economic and Business News, Economic Policy, National Economy, Work and Employment