Jun 4, 2014 1:29 pm

Are minority births the majority yet?

Credit: Waltraud Grubitzsch/dpa/Corbis
Credit: Waltraud Grubitzsch/dpa/Corbis

FT_14.06.03_birthsUSTwo years ago, the Census Bureau announced the nation had reached a new demographic tipping point: The share of U.S. babies who were a racial or ethnic minority had edged past the 50% mark for the first time. The finding was widely covered as a dramatic illustration of the agency’s projections that the U.S. will become a majority-minority nation within three decades.

But that tipping point may not have arrived yet, according to preliminary 2013 birth data released last week by the National Center for Health Statistics. The center’s numbers indicate that non-Hispanic white mothers still account for 54% of births—as they had in 2012 and 2011. Read More

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Demographics, U.S. Census

Jun 3, 2014 11:25 am

Less than half of Ukrainians support economic aid from the West

Less than half of Ukrainians support economic aid from the WestUkraine will be at the top of the agenda when the leaders of the G7 advanced economies meet later this week in Brussels. Their deliberations are likely to focus on what their governments – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – can do to bolster the newly elected Ukrainian government in the face of continued violence by pro-Russian sympathizers within the country. But the effectiveness of any such Western aid may depend on fundamental reform of the Ukrainian economy, which is mired in recession. Read More

Topics: Eastern Europe, Foreign Affairs and Policy

Jun 3, 2014 7:00 am

How America’s opinion of China has changed since Tiananmen

Tank Man, Tiananmen
Credit: AP Images

Twenty-five years ago, weeks of student led, pro-democracy demonstrations in China ended when tanks rolled in to Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. Thousands were arrested, and estimates of the death toll range from several hundred to several thousand.

At the time, America’s relationship with China was very different than it is today. Before that event, the American public generally had a favorable view of China, and as the Tiananmen protests unfolded, most Americans wanted to show support for the pro-democracy movement. But in the years since, economic ties and economic competition have become the dominant topics between the two nations, while at the same time the relationship has become more distrustful.  Read More

Topics: China, Global Balance of Power, Protests and Uprisings, World Economies

Jun 2, 2014 2:38 pm

Syria’s neighbors give Assad the thumbs down

Credit: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images
Credit: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

FT_assad-syria-favorabilitySyrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is running for re-election Tuesday, June 3, can be thankful his neighbors do not get to vote. Strong majorities of the publics in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Tunisia and Turkey and half the public in Lebanon voice a very unfavorable view of the embattled Syrian leader, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. And most of those surveyed want him to step down. It would appear that Assad’s predicted re-election will do little to improve his relations with others in the region.

The Syrian presidential election takes place in a divided, war-torn, depopulated country. The civil war that broke out in 2011 has claimed at least 150,000 lives. There are an estimated 5 million displaced persons within Syria, and an additional 900,000 refugees in Lebanon, 670,000 in Turkey, 600,000 in Jordan and 212,000 in Iraq. Large portions of Syria are controlled by forces opposed to the Assad regime, and Syrians residing in those regions will not participate in Tuesday’s vote. Read More

Topics: Syria

Jun 2, 2014 9:00 am

Top issue for Hispanics? Hint: It’s not immigration

A broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws has been debated and discussed among policy makers for a dozen years, but Congress has yet to pass a bill. Last month, several Hispanic advocacy leaders criticized the president for policies that have contributed to the more than three million immigrants deported since 2004. Yet now, some Latino leaders are wondering if immigration reform is perhaps “crowding out other issues facing the Latino community.”Immigration is not top priority for Hispanics

Immigration reform “now occupies almost all the Latino policy agenda, sucking up, as one colleague recently put it, all the oxygen on Latino issues,” according to a recent commentary from Angelo Falcón, National Institute for Latino Policy president.

Indeed, when Pew Research Center has surveyed the Hispanic community, there are several issues that consistently rank higher on the list than immigration. In 2013, some 57% of Hispanic registered voters called education an “extremely important” issue facing the nation today. That’s compared with jobs and the economy (52%) and health care (43%). Just 32% said immigration. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Vote, Immigration, Political Issue Priorities

Jun 2, 2014 7:00 am

EPA to propose power plant pollution cuts, an idea the public has backed

As part of the Obama administration strategy to deal with the challenge of climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency plans  to issue a new regulation today aimed at cutting emissions from the nation’s coal-fueled power plants. The move is likely to meet with political and industry opposition, but in general, the public favors the idea of stricter limits on power plants.

Most back new emissions on power plantsThe new EPA rule will mandate cuts in carbon pollution by 30% by 2030 from levels that existed in 2005, according to the New York Times and other news reports. The Times called it “the strongest action ever taken” by the government to fight climate change.

President Obama decided to go the route of issuing a regulation because he has little chance of getting his climate change proposals past the Republican-controlled House.

Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Energy and Environment

May 30, 2014 2:14 pm

Four-in-Ten Pakistanis say honor killing of women can be at least sometimes justified

About four-in-Ten Pakistanis say ending a woman's life -- so-called honor killing -- is justified if she has shamed her family.
Members of Pakistan’s civil society hold protest to condemn the killing of Farzana Parveen, a 25-year-old pregnant woman who was stoned to death earlier this week. (Credit: AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for “immediate action” Thursday over the stoning death of a pregnant 25-year-old woman in Lahore earlier this week. Farzana Parveen’s murder, carried out by her family members because she married a man without their consent, has shined a light on so-called “honor killing,” a practice in which relatives end the lives of women and men who are said to bring shame to the family.

Stoning death of 25-year-old Pakistani woman puts focus on views about honor killingsSharif called Parveen’s death “totally unacceptable,” but a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2011 found that the Prime Minister’s position is unlikely to resonate with all Pakistanis.

Honor killings claim the lives of more than 1,000 Pakistani women every year, according to a Washington Post story citing a Pakistani organization that advocates against honor killings.  In the last few years, honor killings in Pakistan have gained international attention, with cases ranging from women refusing to enter into an arranged marriage, seeking a divorce or having a pre- or extra-marital affair.

Read More

May 30, 2014 12:29 pm

Chart of the Week: What top tech execs have in common besides money

immigrant tech founders
Click to view larger version. Credit: Mary Meeker

The U.S. tech landscape would look very different without immigrants, according to a new internet trends presentation by Mary Meeker, an influential tech analyst and venture capitalist. Of the top 25 tech companies (by market capitalization), 60% have founders who are immigrants or have at least one immigrant parent.

The chart uses a broad definition of first- or second-generation immigrants, but it brings a fresh perspective and analysis to how we typically think about the impact of immigrants to the United States. Meeker’s list includes some of the biggest names in tech: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (son of a Syrian immigrant, but raised by U.S.-born adoptive parents),  Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin (Brazilian immigrant) and Google co-founder Sergey Brin (Russian immigrant). Read More

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Immigration

May 30, 2014 7:00 am

5 facts about today’s college graduates

Graduation season is in full swing, but what do we really know about all those fresh-faced young adults in black robes — what they actually studied, what their chances are of landing a decent job, how they’ll look back on their college years? Here’s our data roundup:

CollegeGrads_11 Only about 56% of students earn degrees within six years. The National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit verification and research organization, tracked 2.4 million first-time college students who enrolled in fall 2007 with the intent of pursuing a degree or certificate. The completion rate was highest (72.9%) among students who started at four-year, private, nonprofit schools, and lowest (39.9%) among those who started at two-year public institutions.

Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: College, Education, Educational Attainment

May 29, 2014 2:45 pm

Census says it will count same-sex marriages, but with caveats

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

The U.S. Census Bureau said that it will count same-sex spouses as married couples for the first time, rather than grouping them with cohabiting partners. The agency said it would make the change with the September release of data from its largest household survey.

The new approach reflects the bureau’s evolving policy on reporting household relationships, as it tries to keep pace with social change. Same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia, and only one state (North Dakota) has a ban that has not been challenged in court.

Previously, the Census Bureau categorized same-sex spouses as unmarried partners, even if they said they were married, and the bureau included the figures in published statistics about cohabiting couples.

Supporters of gay marriage describe the bureau’s changes as long overdue and say that recognition by the Census Bureau reflects Americans’ growing acceptance of same-sex relationships and legal recognition by courts in a growing number of states. In the long term, the impact will be to broaden and deepen the statistics available about the families, economic circumstances and other characteristics of same-sex married couples.

However, demographic data researchers are not sure how much of a real impact there will be from the data right away. Read More

Topics: Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, U.S. Census