Nebraska this week became the 19th state to ban the death penalty – a practice that a majority of Americans still support, but in declining numbers. Earlier this month, a federal jury sentenced one of the Boston Marathon bombers to death, despite a poll showing that the local public favored life imprisonment instead. And by the end of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case involving whether Oklahoma’s lethal injection methods amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
Although there have been fewer executions in recent years than there were in the 1990s, 31 states still have the death penalty on their books, as does the federal government. Here are five facts about the issue:
Category: 5 Facts
Two-thirds of Americans favor an end to the decades-long U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, a January Pew Research Center study found, and the two nations reportedly are making progress on re-establishing diplomatic relations. As the communist government continues to slowly reform Cuba’s economy, American businesses – from airlines to law firms – are exploring commercial opportunities on the island nation. But even if the embargo were to be lifted, it’s not clear just what sort of Cuban economy those businesses would find. Read More →
Category: 5 Facts
Based on more than 35,000 interviews, the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study presented a detailed portrait of an America where changes in religious affiliation have affected all regions of the country and many demographic groups.
The survey’s findings raise questions about why these changes are occurring.
Fact Tank sat down with David Campbell, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, to explore what the new findings mean. Campbell is the author of a number of books on religion, including (along with Robert Putnam) “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.”
For you, what stands out as the most important new finding or findings in the Religious Landscape Study? Read More →
Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Jews and Judaism, Millennials, Mormons and Mormonism, Muslim Americans, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religiously Unaffiliated, Research Methodology
Educational attainment among U.S. Latinos has been changing rapidly in recent years, reflecting the group’s growth in the nation’s public K-12 schools and colleges. Over the past decade, the Hispanic high school dropout rate has declined and college enrollment has increased, even as Hispanics trail other groups in earning a bachelor’s degree.
Hispanics cited education as a top issue in 2014, ranking alongside the economy and above health care and immigration in importance, a Pew Research Center survey found.
Economic factors remain an obstacle for enrollment, however. In a 2014 National Journal poll, 66% of Hispanics who got a job or entered the military directly after high school cited the need to help support their family as a reason for not enrolling in college, compared with 39% of whites.
Here are five facts about Latinos and education: Read More →
Category: 5 Facts
Although many lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults feel that most major faiths are unwelcoming to their community, a majority of LGB adults are religiously affiliated, according to a new Pew Research Center study. But they are much less likely to be Christian than the general public and are more drawn to smaller, non-Christian denominations.
About 5% of the 2014 Religious Landscape Study’s 35,000-plus respondents identified themselves as members of the LGB population. Of that group, 59% said they are religiously affiliated. But only 48% of them reported belonging to a Christian faith group, compared with 71% of the general public.
The practice of dedicating a day to honoring America’s war dead has its roots in the years immediately after the Civil War — though it wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday by Congress to honor the fallen of all wars.
The day will be an intensely personal experience for many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts — about half (47%) said that they served with a comrade that had been killed, according to a Pew Research Center survey of veterans conducted in 2011. That number rises to 62% among soldiers who were in combat.
Service members who were seriously wounded or knew someone who was killed or seriously wound were more likely to say the wars were worth fighting. In the case of Iraq, 48% of these veterans said the war was worth fighting compared with 36% among those not exposed to casualties. For Afghanistan, the margin saying the war was worth fighting was higher — 55% to 40%. Read More →
Over the past two decades, major newspapers across the country have seen a recurring cycle of ownership changes and steep declines in value.
The San Diego Union-Tribune was the latest example of this, as it officially changed ownership hands Thursday for the third time in six years. This most recent purchase came from Tribune Publishing Co. for the amount of $85 million (including nine community papers). Still waiting for a buyer is the 96-year-old New York tabloid the Daily News, which owner Mort Zuckerman put on the sale block this spring. But there seems to be far from a stampede of interested buyers. Read More →
The share of Americans who identify as Mormons has roughly held steady even as the percentage of Christians in the U.S. has declined dramatically in recent years, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. And the study found Mormons stand out in other ways: They have higher fertility rates and are far more likely than members of most other major religious traditions to be married – especially to other Mormons.
Mormons made up 1.6% of the American adult population in 2014, little changed from 2007 (1.7%), the last time a similar survey was conducted. By contrast, the percentage of Christians in the U.S. has dropped from 78.4% to 70.6% during the same time period.
Two-thirds (66%) of U.S. Mormon adults are currently married, down slightly from 71% in 2007 – but still high compared with current rates among Christians overall (52%) and U.S. adults overall (48%). (Marriage rates are lower across the board than they were several years ago.) Read More →
Much of Pew Research Center’s work focuses on public opinion, in the United States and around the world. But we also track economic and demographic data to see how society is changing. When we launched Fact Tank two years ago, the goal was to expand on the center’s data storytelling by bringing context to the day’s major news events and policy discussions.
To celebrate Fact Tank’s anniversary, here’s a roundup of our most-visited blog posts over the past year, along with some insights into the editorial thinking behind them:
Read More →
A new Pew Research Center report shows that in the United States, the share of people aged 65 or older will rise dramatically by 2050. However, the U.S. isn’t experiencing the same gray wave that many other developed nations in Europe and Japan are. At least one-in-five people in Japan, Germany and Italy are already 65 or older, and most other European countries are close behind.
In the U.S., 13% of the population is 65 or older, ranking the country 42nd on this measure out of about 200 other places in 2010, according to United Nations data.
But thanks in large part to global increases in life expectancy, populations in all regions of the world are expected to age dramatically in the coming decades, according to the United Nations. Europe and North America will continue to lead this trend, with the largest shares of older people through the middle of the century. Currently, 16% of Europe is comprised of people 65 and older, as is 13% of North America. By 2050, one-fourth (27%) of Europe’s population will be at least 65 years old, as will 22% of North America’s. In Oceania, the share of older people is expected to rise from 11% to 18%.