Feb 8, 2017 1:10 pm

Younger Supreme Court appointees stay on the bench longer, but there are plenty of exceptions

U.S. Supreme Court justices have lifetime tenure, so nominees to the court tend to draw attention for their age. The two most recent nominees are no exception. At 49, Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s choice, would be a relatively young new member of the court. Merrick Garland, who was 63 when Barack Obama nominated him last March, would have been among the oldest. (Gorsuch’s nomination is pending; Garland’s expired.)

That raises the question: Do justices who are younger when they join the court actually end up serving longer than older appointees?

Not surprisingly, the answer is yes, though there are plenty of exceptions.  Read More

Topics: Federal Government, Generations and Age, Supreme Court

Feb 8, 2017 12:32 pm

A closer look at police officers who have fired their weapon on duty

(iStock.com)
(iStock.com)

Many Americans believe it is common for police officers to fire their guns. About three-in-ten adults estimate that police fire their weapons a few times a year while on duty, and more than eight-in-ten (83%) estimate that the typical officer has fired his or her service weapon at least once in their careers, outside of firearms training or on a gun range, according to a recent Pew Research Center national survey.

In fact, only about a quarter (27%) of all officers say they have ever fired their service weapon while on the job, according to a separate Pew Research Center survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform. The survey was conducted May 19-Aug. 14, 2016, among a nationally representative sample of 7,917 sworn officers working in 54 police and sheriff’s departments with 100 or more officers.

But among police officers, are some more likely than others to have fired their weapon in the line of duty?

Overall, those who have fired a weapon on duty and those who haven’t are broadly similar in terms of their personal traits, the types of communities they serve and even their attitudes about crime-fighting. But an analysis of the survey results finds some modest but intriguing differences.

To start, male officers, white officers, those working in larger cities and those who are military veterans are more likely than female officers, racial and ethnic minorities, those in smaller communities and non-veterans to have ever fired their service weapon while on duty. Each relationship is significant after controlling for other factors that could be associated with firing a service weapon.  Read More

Topics: Criminal Justice, Violence and Society

Feb 7, 2017 3:04 pm

Majorities in all major religious groups support requiring childhood vaccination

Large majorities of U.S. adults from all major religious groups say healthy children should be required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella to attend school because of the potential health risk to others when children are not vaccinated. Still, there are some modest differences between religious groups, a new Pew Research Center survey finds.

White evangelical Protestants and religiously unaffiliated people are somewhat less likely than members of other religious groups to support a school-based MMR vaccine requirement, although about three-quarters of white evangelicals (76%) and religious “nones” (78%) do favor these requirements, according to the survey.  Read More

Topics: Education, Health, Health Care, Parenthood, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Feb 7, 2017 11:18 am

Most refugees who enter the U.S. as religious minorities are Christians

A little over a third of the refugees who were admitted into the United States in fiscal 2016 (37%) were religious minorities in their home countries. Of those, 61% were Christians, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.

Muslims, the next largest group, made up 22% of the religious minority refugees who were admitted to the U.S. Other, smaller world religions and Hindus made up the bulk of the remaining religious minority refugees (9% and 6%, respectively).

The analysis comes as Donald Trump’s administration has announced it will give priority to religious minorities who apply for refugee status in the U.S. Trump himself has said that Christians will be given preferenceRead More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Wars and International Conflicts

Feb 6, 2017 12:37 pm

Diversity welcomed in Australia, U.S. despite uncertainty over Muslim integration

The global surge of refugees in recent years has raised questions not only about border security and immediate aid to those fleeing persecution and conflict, but the challenge of countries settling and assimilating refugees from different cultures. These issues are in the news again in Australia, where a refugee resettlement agreement between the Turnbull government and the United States’ former Obama administration is making headlines.

Many of the refugees in question are from Muslim-majority countries such as Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. Australians are divided as to whether Muslims in their country want to adopt Australian customs and way of life: 46% say no, while 42% say yes. Americans are evenly split on whether Muslims in the U.S. wish to assimilate, while Europeans are skeptical that Muslims will adopt the customs and traditions of the European countries they now call home.

Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration, Muslim Americans, Muslim-Western Relations, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation

Feb 6, 2017 6:57 am

Parents of young children are more ‘vaccine hesitant’

A solid majority of Americans believe vaccinating their children against measles, mumps and rubella has high preventive health benefits. But several groups – particularly parents of young children – are less convinced of the benefits and more concerned about the safety of the MMR vaccine.

They stand apart from the 73% of Americans who see the MMR vaccine as a benefit, the 66% who say there is a low risk of side effects and the 88% who say the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Further, some 82% of Americans support requiring children attending public school to be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella because of the potential health risk to others. By contrast, 17% of Americans say parents should be able to decide not to vaccinate and 10% believe the risks outweigh the benefits.

Public health officials place particular importance on the views of parents who must decide whether or not to follow the recommended schedule to immunize their children for measles, mumps and rubella starting when their children are between 12 and 15 months old.

The new survey finds that parents with children ages 4 or younger are more concerned than other Americans about the potential risk of side effects from the MMR vaccine. About half (52%) of parents with children ages 0 to 4 say the risk of side effects is low, while 43% say it is medium or high. By contrast, seven-in-ten adults with no minor-age children (70%) rate the risk of side effects from the vaccine as low.  Read More

Topics: Health, Health Care, Parenthood, Public Knowledge, Race and Ethnicity

Feb 3, 2017 1:32 pm

Young people less likely to view Iraqi, Syrian refugees as major threat to U.S.

Before President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily halting the U.S. refugee program, Americans were sharply divided over the threat that refugees from countries such as Iraq and Syria posed to the United States.

In early January, the partisan gap in these opinions was wide, but the age gap was about as large – and had widened since last year.

Trump’s executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and barred entry by Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also temporarily blocked people from Iraq, Syria and five other countries in the Middle East and North Africa from entering the U.S.

In early January, 46% of the public said “a large number of refugees leaving countries such as Iraq and Syria” was a major threat to the well-being of the U.S. About a third (35%) considered this a minor threat, while 16% said this was not a threat.  Read More

Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Generations and Age, Immigration, Immigration Attitudes, Immigration Trends, Migration, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Polarization

Feb 3, 2017 12:30 pm

Most Americans oppose churches choosing sides in elections

Our polling shows that Americans like their politicians to have strong religious convictions. And nearly half of Americans also say they want churches and other houses of worship to speak out on social and political topics. But there has long been a consensus that churches should not endorse specific candidates for public office.

Questions surrounding the role of churches in the political process are back in the news after President Donald Trump, in an address Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, proposed to “get rid of and totally destroy” existing legal limits on houses of worship endorsing candidates. Currently, a law known as the Johnson Amendment, enacted in 1954, prohibits tax-exempt institutions like churches from involvement in political campaigns on behalf of or against any political candidate.

When it comes to questions about religion and politics, Americans by and large say they like public officials to be religiously grounded. As of mid-2016, about six-in-ten (62%) U.S. adults agree with the statement “it’s important to me that a president have strong religious beliefs.” This has long been the majority view among Americans, though support for the statement has declined gradually over the past eight years or so.  Read More

Topics: Donald Trump, Elections and Campaigns, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and Government, Religion and U.S. Politics, Social Values

Feb 3, 2017 10:26 am

Countries affected by Trump travel rules accounted for more than 900,000 U.S. entries since 2006

The seven nations affected by a new executive order that prevents many of their citizens from entering the United States for the next 90 days accounted for 904,415 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.  Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, U.S. Political Figures

Feb 3, 2017 9:30 am

Where refugees to the U.S. come from

Conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere are driving hundreds of thousands of refugees to seek shelter in neighboring countries, Europe and the United States. These crises are the most recent in a long line of conflicts forcing people from their homes. According to data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, more than 3 million refugees in total have arrived in the U.S. since 1975.

A look at where refugees to the U.S. have come from and their number provides a glimpse into global events and the U.S.’s role in providing a safe haven. Of the 84,995 refugees admitted to the United States in fiscal year 2016, the largest numbers came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Burma (Myanmar) and Iraq.

(Note: For more on refugees, including those to the U.S., see Key facts about the world’s refugees and Key facts about refugees to the U.S.)

Historically, waves of refugees to the U.S. have ebbed and flowed with global conflict. In the 1990s, waves of refugees came to the U.S. in large numbers from the former Soviet Union. However, refugee admittance dropped off steeply in the wake of the terrorist attacks in 2001. The total annual number of refugees has trended upward since then. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration, Wars and International Conflicts