Apr 14, 2015 1:00 pm

Why some Americans have not changed their privacy and security behaviors

A string of revelations over the past two years about the National Security Agency’s domestic and international surveillance efforts have brought new awareness to many Americans about online privacy and security concerns. Yet most American adults have not made significant changes to their digital behavior, and 54% say that it would be “somewhat” or “very” difficult to find the tools and strategies that would enhance their privacy online and when using cellphones, according to a Pew Research Center report.

Majority Think Enhancing Their Privacy Protections Would Be Difficult

Why haven’t most Americans taken a more aggressive approach to protecting their digital data? When we asked respondents to tell us in their own words, several possible – and sometimes overlapping – reasons emerged: Read More

Topics: Federal Government, Internet Activities, Online Privacy and Safety, Surveillance

Apr 14, 2015 12:00 pm

6 facts about marijuana

Attitudes about marijuana have undergone a rapid shift in public opinion, paralleled by few other trends in the U.S. Our recent data, along with historical figures from Gallup and the General Social Survey, reveal how views have shifted about the drug over time. Our most recent survey, conducted in March 2015, finds that many more Americans now favor shifting the focus of the nation’s overall drug policy. Here are six key facts about public opinion and marijuana:

FT_15.04.14_marijuanaLegalization1Support for marijuana legalization is rapidly outpacing oppositionA slim majority (53%) of Americans say the drug should be made legal, compared with 44% who want it to be illegal. Opinions have changed drastically since 1969, when Gallup first asked the question and found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use. Much of the change in opinion has occurred over the past few years — support rose 11 points between 2010 and 2013 (although it has remained relatively unchanged since then).  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Drugs

Apr 14, 2015 10:35 am

On Equal Pay Day, key facts about the gender pay gap

Today marks “Equal Pay Day,” the date that symbolizes how far into the new year the average American woman would have to work to earn what the average American man did in the previous year.

Both men and women see inequalities in the workplace – 77% of women and 63% of men said “this country needs to continue making changes to give men and women equality in the workplace,” according to a Pew Research Center survey last fall.

According to the White House, full-time working women earn 77% of what their male counterparts earn. This means that women have to work approximately 60 extra days, or about three months, to earn what men did by the end of the previous year. However, our own estimate, which is based on hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers, finds women earn 84 percent of what men earn. Based on our estimate, it would take approximately 40 days, or until the end of February, for women to earn what men had by the end of last year. Read More

Topics: Gender, Work and Employment

Apr 14, 2015 10:05 am

Muslims expected to surpass Jews as second-largest U.S. religious group

Two trends that are already well underway – the decline of Christians and the growth of religiously unaffiliated people as a share of the U.S. population – are expected to continue in the decades ahead, according to the Pew Research Center’s projections of major religious groups around the world.

But, if current demographic trends hold, there also will be other significant changes in the U.S. religious landscape: Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion in the country and, by 2050, Muslims are projected to be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.

Due in part to their continued migration into the country, Muslims are forecast to make up 2.1% of the U.S. population in 2050, up from 0.9% in 2010. Two other major factors are driving Muslim growth: They currently have the highest fertility rate and the youngest median age of any major religious group in the U.S. Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Jews and Judaism, Muslims and Islam, North America, Population Projections, Religious Affiliation

Apr 14, 2015 7:00 am

The smartphone: An essential travel guide

As Americans are increasingly using mobile technology to access online information on the go, they are turning to mobile devices to help them get from one place to another.

Young adults are especially likely to use their smartphone for navigationDespite the growing popularity of ride-hailing applications such as Uber and Lyft, the biggest transportation use of smartphones by far has to do with driving rather than sharing a ride. Fully 67% of smartphone owners use their phone at least occasionally to get turn-by-turn navigation while driving, with 31% doing so frequently, according to a recent Pew Research Center report on how Americans use their phones.

Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Mobile, Technology Adoption

Apr 13, 2015 1:24 pm

The biggest U.S. tax breaks

Tax expendituresWith just a few days to go until the April 15 tax filing deadline, we’re sure some Americans are still sweating over their 1040s, Schedule A’s and self-employment tax worksheets. Here’s something for taxpayers to consider: the more than $1.3 trillion worth of tax breaks that are allowed under the U.S. tax code.

That’s the total estimated impact for fiscal year 2015 of the more than 200 “tax expenditures” – government lingo for tax breaks – that come in the form of exemptions, deductions, credits and other special breaks, according to an annual staff report from the Joint Committee on Taxation. Even that $1.3 trillion figure is an understatement, as the report only gives specifics for a break if it’s estimated to cost the government $50 million or more per year. Dozens of provisions in the tax code fall below that threshold. Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Taxes

Apr 13, 2015 12:26 pm

Hillary Clinton’s nomination would end long Cabinet drought

No Cabinet Member Has Been Nominated for President Since 1928

Hillary Clinton’s long-awaited announcement that she is indeed running for president represents more than just the possibility that she could become the first woman president, or even the first former first lady to move back into the White House by general election. Should Clinton win the Democratic nomination next year, she’d be the first former Cabinet secretary in 88 years to become a major party’s official choice for president.

Read More

Topics: 2016 Election

Apr 10, 2015 3:33 pm

A Clinton candidacy: Voters’ early impressions

Reports that Hillary Clinton will launch her presidential campaign April 12 raise inevitable questions: Will she be a stronger candidate now than she was in 2008? And which factors may help – or hurt – the former secretary of state in a second run for the White House?

FT_15.04.10_hillarySupportChartA poll last week by the Pew Research Center found that 59% of Democratic voters said there was a “good chance” they would vote for Clinton. That is higher than the 52% of Democrats who said there was a good chance they would back Clinton at a comparable point in 2007.

The bigger change, by far, is the state of Clinton’s possible Democratic competition. In early 2007, a first-term senator named Barack Obama was already running for president – and 32% of Democrats saw a good chance of supporting him. By June of that year, Clinton’s advantage on the “good chance” measure had narrowed to 10 points over Obama and former Vice President Al Gore (44%, versus 34% for each). Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Gender, U.S. Political Figures, U.S. Political Parties

Apr 10, 2015 10:02 am

On social media, mom and dad are watching

Gone are the “Mom, get off the phone!” days when parents could try to surreptitiously listen in on their teenagers’ calls. Back in 2006, four-in-ten teens (39%) said they talked daily with their friends on a landline phone; by 2011, just 14% did.

On Facebook, Parents Are Friends with Their TeensBut that doesn’t mean parents aren’t monitoring their teenagers’ behaviors in other ways. With so much of a teenager’s social activities now happening online, parents have had to adapt. Today, 60% of parents say they’ve checked their teenagers’ profile on a social networking site, including roughly similar shares of moms (62%) and dads (58%), according to new Pew Research Center data.

Parents are especially aware of their teens’ behavior on Facebook, the largest social media platform. Among Facebook users, the vast majority of parents (83%) say they’re “Facebook friends” with their teenager, according to a new survey conducted during the fall of 2014 and winter 2015. (For more on teens’ use of Facebook, see our latest report.) Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Social Media, Teens and Technology

Apr 10, 2015 7:00 am

5 facts on how Americans view taxes

Benjamin Franklin popularized the sentiment that nothing is certain “except death and taxes.” But the public isn’t too keen on the current federal tax system, with 59% saying there is so much wrong that Congress should completely change it (38% say it works pretty well and needs only minor changes).

As April 15 rolls around yet again, here are five facts about Americans’ views of taxes.

1Americans have several complaints about the federal tax system, most notably the impression that some corporations and wealthy people don’t pay their fair share. Almost two-thirds (64%) say they are bothered a lot by the feeling that some corporations aren’t paying what’s fair in federal taxes, and 61% say the same about some wealthy people. Just 20% say they are bothered a lot by the feeling that some poor people don’t pay their fair share. A greater share – 44% – say the complexity of the tax system bothers them a lot. Democrats are more likely to complain about corporations and the wealthy not paying their share, while Republicans register more irritation with the system’s complexity, the amount they pay, and some poor people not paying their fair share. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Taxes