Jun 1, 2016 11:45 am

10 facts about atheists

Estimating the number of atheists in the U.S. is complicated. Some adults who describe themselves as atheists also say they believe in God or a universal spirit. At the same time, some people who identify with a religion (e.g., say they are Protestant, Catholic or Jewish) also say they do not believe in God.

But one thing is for sure: Along with the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans (many of whom believe in God), there has been a corresponding increase in the number of atheists. As nonbelievers and others gather in Washington, D.C., for the “Reason Rally,” here are key facts about atheists and their beliefs:

1The share of Americans who identify as atheists has roughly doubled in the past several years. Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study found that 3.1% of American adults say they are atheists when asked about their religious identity, up from 1.6% in a similarly large survey in 2007. An additional 4.0% of Americans call themselves agnostics, up from 2.4% in 2007. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

May 31, 2016 7:00 am

Oil and gas boom feeds greatest real wage growth in U.S., but will it last?

Largest increases in weekly wages driven by oil and gas production

Workers in America’s oil and gas patches have enjoyed some of the country’s biggest gains in the buying power of their paychecks over the past decade and a half, while workers in several small and mid-sized manufacturing-oriented cities have watched their buying power shrink over the same time period.

A Pew Research Center analysis of federal wage data found that since 2000, most of the biggest inflation-adjusted gains in average weekly wages have occurred in metropolitan areas that have directly benefited from the boom in U.S. energy production – places like Midland and Odessa, Texas; Bismarck, North Dakota; Casper, Wyoming; and Houma and Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Read More

Topics: Economic and Business News, Income

May 27, 2016 9:15 am

Mixed verdict from public on America’s global standing

Mixed verdict from public on America’s global standingAt a time when Donald Trump is vowing to “make America great again,” Americans think the country already is pretty great – at least when compared with other nations. Our recent report on views of America’s Place in the World found that 72% think the United States is the world’s leading military power, while 54% say it is the top economic power.

While the U.S. has long been viewed as the dominant military power, this marks the first time in surveys since 2008 that more than half said the U.S. is the top global economic power. China ranks a distant second in the public’s view – just 34% rate China as the top economic power. A year ago, 46% said the U.S. was the leading economic power, while 36% cited China.

But while most Americans see the U.S. as the global economic and military leader, many also said the U.S. is not quite as powerful a player on the world stage as it used to be. In a separate survey, nearly half of Americans (46%) said the U.S. plays a less important and powerful role now than a decade ago, compared with 31% who said its role is still as important and 21% who saw it as having increased in importance. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Political Attitudes and Values, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, U.S. Political Figures

May 26, 2016 9:55 am

How the 2016 presidential campaign is being discussed on Reddit

News is a major part of Reddit, an online discussion forum that calls itself “the front page of the internet.” The site has hosted Q&A sessions with newsmakers from President Obama to Amy Poehler, and it sends many of its millions of daily visitors to news sites and other publishers.

Using data from a nationally representative survey and a content analysis of around 165 million Reddit comments, Pew Research Center looked at the role of news on the site – and how Reddit users were discussing the presidential candidates in the lead-up to the primaries. Here are five key findings from the report:

1Just 4% of U.S. adults are Reddit users, but seven-in-ten Reddit users say they get news on the site. Nearly half (45%) of Reddit users report learning something about the 2016 presidential campaign in a given week on the site, a share comparable to those of Facebook and Twitter users and higher than other social networking sites.

2Fully 47% of Reddit news users consider themselves liberal, compared with just 24% of all U.S. adults. In addition, they are especially likely to be young (59% are 18-29 years old) and male (71%).  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: 2016 Election, Election News, Internet Activities, News Sources, Political Party Affiliation, Social Media

May 25, 2016 7:00 am

Israeli Jews, Arabs have different perspectives on discrimination in their society

Israel has been a Jewish-majority country since its founding in 1948, and its treatment of religious and ethnic minorities – including some groups within the Jewish community – has persisted as a hotly debated topic throughout the nation’s history.

That debate continues today. For example, the issue recently arose when Moshe Yaalon resigned as Israel’s defense minister. Yaalon said he had “fought with all my might against phenomena of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society that threaten its fortitude,” but had lost faith in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to The New York Times.

Vast majority of Israeli Arabs see 'a lot' of discrimination against MuslimsAnd yet most Israeli Jews do not believe that intolerance is a major problem in Israel, even when it comes to their frequently tense relations with the country’s Arab population. For example, only about one-in-five Israeli Jews (21%) say there is a lot of discrimination in Israeli society against Muslims, who make up the vast majority of Israeli Arabs. Read More

Topics: Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

May 24, 2016 9:55 am

In the U.S. and abroad, more young adults are living with their parents

FT_16.05.20_livingWithParents_EuropeMore young adults in the U.S. are living with their parents than at any time since around 1940, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data. This trend is not, as you might assume, solely a consequence of the 2007-09 Great Recession, nor is it limited to the U.S. Across much of the developed world, researchers have noted that more young adults are living at their parents’ homes for longer periods – in some cases because they never left, in others because they moved back after being on their own in college or the working world.

Across the European Union’s 28 member nations, nearly half (48.1%) of 18- to 34-year-olds were living with their parents in 2014, according to the EU statistical agency Eurostat. Though the Eurostat data, which are gathered by individual countries, may not always be comparable with Pew Research Center’s analysis of the U.S., most EU members appear to have notably higher rates of young adults living at home than does the U.S. And like the U.S., young European men are more likely than young women to live in their parents’ home: 54.4% versus 41.7%, respectively, according to Eurostat.

However, European countries differ widely in what some researchers term their “co-residence rates.” The Scandinavian countries have the lowest rates, with Denmark coming in at 18.6%. Southern and eastern European countries tend to have higher rates, led by the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia: 72.5% of 18- to 34-year-olds reportedly were living with their parents. Read More

Topics: Europe, Family and Relationships, Household and Family Structure

May 23, 2016 10:25 am

5 facts about how Americans view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Far more Americans continue to sympathize more with Israel (54%) than with the Palestinians (19%) in the Middle East dispute, according to our recent foreign policy survey. And half of Americans (50%) think a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully, while 42% say this is not possible. But attitudes on both measures are deeply divided along ideological, generational and religious lines, and in some cases these gaps have widened markedly in recent years.

1FT_16.05.20_IsraelPalestiniansC_partyViews of Israel and the Palestinians have become more ideologically polarized. In early September 2001, just before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there were only modest partisan and ideological differences in Israeli-Palestinian sympathies. But since then, and especially over the past decade, the share sympathizing more with Israel than with the Palestinians has increased among all ideological groups, with the exception of liberal Democrats.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Foreign Affairs and Policy, Generations and Age, Middle East and North Africa, Political Party Affiliation, Religion and U.S. Politics

May 23, 2016 7:00 am

Q&A: The impact and evolution of the sharing economy

Last week, Pew Research Center released a new report that examined Americans’ usage of and exposure to the sharing economy, as well as their views on a number of issues associated with some of its services. To further examine the potential impact of these new digital services on the future of work, government regulations and the economy as a whole, we interviewed Arun Sundararajan. Sundararajan is a professor of business at New York University, a leading expert on the sharing economy and the author of the new book “The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism.”

Arun Sundararajan
Arun Sundararajan, professor of information, operations and management sciences at New York University. (Photo Credit: New York University)

In your view, what are the key characteristics of the sharing or peer-to-peer economy that make it interesting to study?

Before we begin, I’ve been reading through your findings, and they are fascinating. They represent some of the most interesting results I’ve seen about the sharing economy to date. True, there’s a fair bit of ambiguity about what the sharing economy is – perhaps in part because “sharing” has a noncommercial connotation that isn’t ideally descriptive. I prefer the term “crowd-based capitalism,” but continue to use “sharing economy” because it maximizes the number of people who know what I’m talking about (and now, with the new book out, I’m pretty committed). Read More

Category: Social Studies

Topics: Economic and Business News, Economics and Personal Finances, Emerging Technology Impacts

May 20, 2016 7:00 am

How Americans define the sharing economy

What is the 'sharing economy'?

Even though stories about services like Uber and Airbnb have put the “sharing economy” in the news, just 27% of Americans have ever heard of the term before, according to Pew Research Center’s recent survey of the new digital economy. Moreover, even those who have heard of the term have widely divergent views about what the sharing economy actually is.

In our survey, we asked respondents who had heard of the sharing economy to tell us – in their own words – how they would describe the term. After reviewing and classifying nearly 1,300 responses to this question, we uncovered several distinct themes about what people think of when they hear the term sharing economy. Read More

Topics: Economics and Personal Finances, Emerging Technology Impacts

May 19, 2016 10:59 am

Americans’ views of women as political leaders differ by gender

For the first time in history, a woman is the leading candidate for the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. As Democrat Hillary Clinton wages her campaign to be the first female chief executive, what do Americans have to say in general about the prospects and qualifications of female candidates for high political offices?

For the most part, Americans – including similar shares of men (74%) and women (76%) – said in a 2014 Pew Research Center survey that women and men make equally good political leaders. When it comes to essential traits of a leader, both men and women saw women as being more compassionate, organized and honest than men, and saw men as being more ambitious and decisive (though for most traits, an even higher share said both genders possess them equally). But the survey found marked differences between women and men on other questions relating to gender and leadership, including the reasons that more women have not been elected. Here are five key findings from the survey on gender differences in views about women and leadership:

1Women more likely to say it's easier for men to get electedWomen in our survey said men had an easier path to political leadership, and they also were more likely to say that having more female leaders would improve the quality of life for women. About three-quarters (73%) of women said it’s easier for men to get elected to high political office, while 58% of men agreed. And 38% of women said that having more women in top political or business leadership positions would improve the quality of life for all women “a lot.” Only half as many men (19%) agreed. There were similar differences by political party on this question, with more than twice as many Democrats (39%) as Republicans (17%) saying that having more women in high political office would improve the lives of women, while independents (28%) ranked in the middle.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: 2016 Election, Gender, Generations and Age, Political Attitudes and Values