Sep 1, 2015 12:57 pm

Businesses owned by women, minorities lag in revenue share

Businesses Owned by Women, Minorities Lag in Share of RevenueWomen, blacks, Asians and Hispanics have built up substantial positions as business owners in several sectors of the U.S. economy. But based on revenue, those businesses are on average considerably smaller than white- or male-owned firms, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Overall, men owned more than half of the nation’s 27.6 million firms in 2012, according to preliminary results from the Survey of Business Owners, and women owned more than 9.9 million businesses, about 36% of the total. The remaining 10% of firms were either jointly owned by men and women or could not be categorized by gender because they were publicly traded companies or have large, diverse ownership groups.

The data for the Census Bureau’s twice-a-decade survey includes all firms — incorporated or not, with and without paid employees — with receipts of $1,000 or more in 2012. A handful of firm types are excluded, including farms, railroads, funds and trusts, churches, foundations, civic groups and professional organization, the Postal Service and the Federal Reserve. About two-thirds of the 1.75 million businesses in the survey sample responded.

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Topics: Business and Labor, Economic and Business News, Gender, Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Census

Aug 31, 2015 9:45 am

Current Congress is looking a little more productive – so far

laws passed by each Congress by August recessWith the House and Senate on their August recess until after Labor Day, it seems like a good time to check on how the 114th Congress stacks up against its predecessors when it comes to legislative productivity – both in total laws passed and in the share of them that make substantive changes in the law.

As it turns out, there are early hints that congressional productivity may be on an upswing, after two successive Congresses that enacted the fewest- and second-fewest laws in at least four decades. According to the Library of Congress’ THOMAS database, Congress passed 49 measures before its summer break (though some of them weren’t formally signed into law by President Obama until afterward). We categorize 35 of those acts as “substantive” by our deliberately generous criteria – that is, any legislation other than renaming buildings, giving out medals, commemorating historic events and other purely ceremonial acts. Read More

Topics: Congress

Aug 28, 2015 7:00 am

Men catch up with women on overall social media use

Social Media Gender Gap NarrowsHistorically, women have been more avid users of social media than men – a finding consistent across several Pew Research Center surveys. In fact, in November 2010, the gender gap was as large as 15 percentage points.

More recent data, however, show that these differences are no longer statistically significant. A new Pew Research Center analysis finds that a similar share of men and women say they used social networking sites this year, consistent with what we found in 2014. Some 73% of online men use social media, which is on par with the 80% of online women who say they do so.

Although the overall percentage of men and women who report using social media is now comparable, there are still some gender differences on specific platforms. Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram have a larger female user base, while online discussion forums like Reddit, Digg or Slashdot attract a greater share of male users. Gender differences on Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn are not significant.

Read More

Topics: Gender, Social Media, Social Networking

Aug 27, 2015 2:51 pm

10 facts about religion in America

It’s a fascinating time for conversations about faith in the United States, with Pope Francis set to visit next month, a presidential election on the horizon and major trends reshaping the country’s religious landscape.

Changing U.S. Religious LandscapeOne of the most important and well-documented shifts taking place over the past decade is the steadily rising share of people who are religiously unaffiliated – from 16% in 2007 to 23% in 2014. As journalists and others gather in Philadelphia for the annual Religion Newswriters Association conference this week, here are 10 other things we’ve learned from our recent research:

1Protestants no longer make up a majority of U.S. adults. Closely tied to the rise of the religious “nones” is the decline of Christians, including Protestants. The U.S. has a long history as a majority Protestant nation, and, as recently as the 2007 Pew Research Center Religious Landscape Study, more than half of U.S. adults (51.3%) identified as Protestants. But that figure has fallen, and our 2014 study found that 46.5% of Americans are now Protestants.

2Religious switching is a common occurrence in the U.S. Depending on how “religious switching” is defined, as many as 42% of U.S. adults have switched religions. That definition counts switching between Protestant traditions, but even if Protestantism is regarded as a single group, about a third of Americans (34%) identify with a different religious group than the one in which they were raised. Read More

Topics: Abortion, Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Religion and Society, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation, Religiously Unaffiliated, Restrictions on Religion

Aug 27, 2015 9:25 am

Remembering Katrina: Wide racial divide over government’s response

A man pushes his bicycle through flood waters near the Superdome in New Orleans on Aug. 31, 2005. Photo credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay.
A man pushes his bicycle through flood waters near the Superdome in New Orleans on Aug. 31, 2005. Photo credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay.

Ten years ago this weekend, Hurricane Katrina roared ashore on the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,000 people (the true death toll may never be known). From the start, the tragedy had a powerful racial component – images of poor, mostly black New Orleans residents stranded on rooftops and crowded amid fetid conditions in what was then the Louisiana Superdome.

Ten Years Later, a Look Back at the Racial Divide Over Government's Response to Hurricane KatrinaInitial reactions to the government’s response to the crisis were starkly divided along racial lines. In a national poll conducted Sept. 6-7, 2005, a week after the storm made landfall, African Americans delivered a scathing assessment of the federal government’s relief efforts. Two-thirds (66%) said that “the government’s response to the situation would have been faster if most of the victims had been white.” Just 17% of whites agreed – most whites (77%) said the race of the victims would not have made any difference.

Just 19% of blacks rated the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina as excellent or good, compared with 41% of whites. And nearly three times as many whites (31%) as blacks (11%) said then-President George W. Bush did all he could to get relief efforts going quickly.

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Topics: Disasters and Accidents, Federal Government, Race and Ethnicity

Aug 26, 2015 7:00 am

Manners 2.0: Key findings about etiquette in the digital age

Some 92% of Americans now have a cellphone of some kind, and 90% of those cell owners say that their phone is frequently with them. This “always-on” mobile connectivity is changing the nature of public spaces and social gatherings. It is also rewriting social norms regarding what is rude and what is acceptable behavior when people are together, a new Pew Research Center report finds.

Here are some key takeaways about how Americans view manners in the mobile age:

1Americans see cellphone use as OK in key public spaces, but not in more private or intimate gatherings. For instance, about three-quarters of Americans think it is generally acceptable for people to use their cellphones while walking down the street (77%), on public transit (75%) or waiting in line (74%). But only 38% think it is generally OK to use cellphones at restaurants, and very few say cellphone use is OK at a family dinner (12%), during a meeting (5%) or at church (4%). Read More

Topics: Mobile, Social Values

Aug 24, 2015 2:17 pm

What Americans want to do about illegal immigration

A gap in the fence near the U.S.-Mexico border overlooking Tijuana, Mexico, in 2014. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Reportage by Getty Images)
A gap in the fence near the U.S.-Mexico border overlooking Tijuana, Mexico, in 2014. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Reportage by Getty Images)

The debate over the future of the nation’s estimated 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants is on the political front burner once more.

President Barack Obama set the stage in November when he announced new executive actions (now tied up in court) to prevent the deportation of millions of unauthorized immigrants, expanding 2012’s original program aimed mostly at providing relief to those brought to the United States as children. Illegal immigration has dominated the Republican presidential campaign, particularly after Donald Trump’s call for deporting all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Others have called for a changing the constitutional amendment that guarantees birthright citizenship.

Among the public overall, there is little support for an effort to deport all those in the U.S. illegally, but surveys in past years have found greater support for building a barrier along the Mexican border and for changing the Constitution to ban birthright citizenship.

Republicans have long been conflicted over U.S. immigration policy. On the one hand, consistent majorities of Republicans favor providing a path to legal status for people in the U.S. illegally. Yet most Republicans also worry that granting legal status to undocumented immigrants would amount to a tacit reward for illegal behavior. And in the past, nearly half of Republicans supported changing the Constitution to bar birthright citizenship, and a majority supported building a fence along the entire U.S. border with Mexico.

Here’s a breakdown of public opinion on some key immigration issues: Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Immigration Attitudes, Unauthorized Immigration

Aug 24, 2015 10:42 am

Proposal could make nearly 5 million workers newly eligible for overtime

Jobs Most Likely To Benefit From New Overtime RuleThe Obama administration’s proposed overtime rules would make nearly 5 million white-collar workers newly eligible for time-and-a-half, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. Most of them, we estimate, would be retail and food service managers, office administrators, low-level financial workers and other modestly paid managers and office professionals.

The rules governing who must be paid overtime for working more than 40 hours a week are many and subtle, but the general presumption in the law is that all workers are overtime-eligible unless they meet one of several specific exemptions. One of the most significant exemptions affects white-collar workers: They don’t have to be paid overtime if they meet all three of these tests: 1) They’re paid a fixed salary, as opposed to an hourly wage; 2) Their salary is more than a certain threshold amount; and 3) They primarily perform duties of a “bona fide executive, administrative, or professional” nature. Read More

Topics: Business and Labor, Income, Work and Employment

Aug 21, 2015 11:00 am

24% of Americans now view both GOP and Democratic Party unfavorably

Double Negatives: More People Express Unfavorable Views of Both PartiesThe rise of “outsider” presidential candidates such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders has focused attention on the level of political frustration in the United States. By one measure – the share of Americans who express unfavorable opinions of both political parties – that frustration has grown.

In our July survey, 24% of the public has an unfavorable opinion of both the Republican and Democratic parties. That is up from 19% in January, though little changed from yearly averages in polls conducted in 2014 and 2013 (22% each).

The share expressing negative views of both parties has been higher in recent years than in the 2000s or 1990s. In the 2008 presidential election year, 12% viewed both parties unfavorably. In 2004, 10% did so, and in 2000, just 7% expressed unfavorable opinions of both the Republican and Democratic parties.  Read More

Topics: Political Attitudes and Values, Political Party Affiliation, U.S. Political Parties

Aug 20, 2015 11:29 am

How having smartphones (or not) shapes the way teens communicate

It may seem as if basic or flip phones are a thing of the past, given that 73% of teens have a smartphone. But that still leaves 15% of teens who only have a basic cellphone and 12% who have none at all, and it makes a difference in the way each group communicates, according to a recent Pew Research Center study.

Teens With and Without SmartphonesTexting is an especially popular way for smartphone-using teens to communicate with their closest friends, while teens without a smartphone are more likely than their smartphone-using counterparts to use social media and phone calls as their preferred ways for connecting with their best pals.

Teens who have a close friend were asked to name their most common method of getting in touch with their closest friend. Texting is the number one way all teens get in touch with their closest friends. Some 58% of teens with smartphones cite texting as the main way they communicate with their closest friend online or by phone, compared with 25% of teens without smartphone access.

On the other hand, non-smartphone-using teens are more likely than those with smartphones to keep in touch with their closest friend via social media. Some 29% of teens without smartphone access cited social media as their most common online or phone method of communicating with a best friend, compared with 17% for smartphone users who did so. Read More

Topics: Mobile, Online Communities, Social Media, Social Networking, Teens and Technology, Teens and Youth, Texting