Jun 18, 2015 7:00 am

Census considers new approach to asking about race – by not using the term at all

2020 Census Question
Possible 2020 census race/Hispanic question for online respondents, who would click to the next screen to choose more detailed sub-categories such as “Cuban” or “Chinese.” Credit: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau is experimenting with new ways to ask Americans about their race or origin in the 2020 census – including not using the words “race” or “origin” at all. Instead, the questionnaire may tell people to check the “categories” that describe them.

Census officials say they want the questions they ask to be clear and easy, in order to encourage Americans to answer them, so the officials can better collect race and Hispanic data as required by law. But many people are confused by the current wording, or find it misleading or insufficient to describe their identity.

Census forms now have two questions about race and Hispanic origin. The first asks people whether they are of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin, and states that “Hispanic origins are not races.” A second question asks, “What is this person’s race?” and includes a list of options with checkboxes and write-in spaces. The U.S. government defines Hispanic as an ethnicity, not a race. Read More

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Census

Jun 17, 2015 3:40 pm

Share of births to unmarried women dips, reversing a long trend

Share of Births to Unmarried Women Down for First Time Since 1995For the first time in nearly two decades, the share of U.S. births to unmarried mothers ticked downward in 2014, according to new preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The report also showed that the total number of births and the U.S. birth rate rose in 2014 for the first time in seven years, reversing a decline linked to the Great Recession.

In 2014, 40% of births were to unmarried mothers, a slight decline from the 41% share that had held steady since 2008. The share of births to unmarried mothers had been climbing more or less steadily for many decades; the last dip happened in 1995.

Although the single percentage point drop in 2014 was small, it was only the third one-year dip in this measure since the end of World War II. The decline also is notable because it occurred among all racial and Hispanic origin groups. Read More

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Demographics

Jun 17, 2015 10:00 am

Hawaii is home to the nation’s largest share of multiracial Americans

early a Quarter of Hawaii's Population is MultiracialThe number of multiracial Americans is growing nationwide, but in Hawaii, it’s nothing new. The Rainbow State – with its history of attracting immigrants from Asia and other parts of the world to work as farm laborers – stands far above the rest, with nearly one-in-four residents (24%) identifying as multiracial, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. The next most-multiracial states are far behind: Alaska (8%) and Oklahoma (7%).

Here’s another way to look at how much Hawaii stands out: In terms of total population, Hawaii is one of the smallest (1.4 million people), ranking 40th out of 50 states. But when ranking states with the highest total multiracial population, the state ranks sixth, with more than 330,000.

A new Pew Research survey found that the number of multiracial Americans may be higher than the estimates from Census, which has estimated that 3% of the overall U.S. population – and 2.1% of the adult population – is multiracial. But taking into account how adults describe their own race as well as the racial backgrounds of their parents and grandparents – which the census does not do – Pew Research estimates that 6.9% of the U.S. adult population could be considered multiracial.

Read More

Topics: Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Census

Jun 17, 2015 7:00 am

U.S. Catholics less positive toward pope on environment, sex abuse scandal than other issues

Pope Francis RatingsAlthough Pope Francis is no stranger to headlines, he has drawn an unusually large amount of media attention in the past week for two reasons: He approved a new tribunal to address bishops involved in the sex abuse scandal, and he is set to release a new encyclical on environmental issues and climate change.

It is unclear what impact these new developments might have on views of the pope. But before these actions, U.S. Catholics did not rate Francis’ performance in addressing the sex abuse scandal and the environment as highly as they did for other issues. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Energy and Environment, Religion and U.S. Politics

Jun 16, 2015 11:54 am

Ideological divide over global warming as wide as ever

Little Change in Views of Whether the Earth is WarmingPope Francis will publish an encyclical addressing environmental issues and climate change this Thursday, a subject that continues to deeply divide Americans, including Catholics, along partisan and ideological lines.

Overall, Americans’ views about whether the earth is warming have remained relatively stable in recent years, with about two-thirds of the public (68%) currently saying there is solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades while 25% say there is not solid evidence of this.

Even so, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that there has been a significant uptick over the past two years in the share of Americans who say global warming is a very serious problem. Currently, 46% say that global warming is a very serious problem, up 13 percentage points from the spring of 2013.

Partisanship and ideology remain some of the strongest factors underlying attitudes about whether Earth is warming, our survey finds. Today, roughly nine-in-ten liberal Democrats (92%) say that there is solid evidence Earth’s average temperature is rising, and 76% attribute this rise mostly to human activity. Very few liberal Democrats (5%) say there is not solid evidence of warming. A clear 83% majority of conservative and moderate Democrats also say Earth is warming, but just 55% say this is the result of human activity. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Energy and Environment, Political Polarization, Religious Leaders, U.S. Political Parties

Jun 16, 2015 7:00 am

Among multiracial adults, racial identity can be fluid

Is race purely about the races in your family tree? A new Pew Research Center survey of multiracial adults suggests there’s more to racial identity that goes beyond one’s ancestry.

Attempts to Change How Others See Their RaceThe survey of 1,555 multiracial adults found that three-in-ten say they have changed how they viewed their racial identity over the course of their lifetimes.

About one-in-five multiracial Americans, including about a third of all black mixed-race adults, have dressed or behaved in a certain way in an attempt to influence how others see their race.

Taken together, these findings suggest that, for many multiracial Americans, racial identity can change over the life course. It is a mix of biology, family upbringing and the perceptions that others have about them.

According to our survey, fully 21% of mixed-race adults have attempted to influence how others saw their race. About one-in-ten multiracial adults have talked (12%), dressed (11%) or worn their hair (11%) in a certain way in order to affect how others saw their race. A similar share (11%) say they associated with certain people to alter how others saw their racial background. (The survey did not ask respondents to identify which race or races they sought to resemble.) Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Identity, Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Census

Jun 15, 2015 10:00 am

Republicans and Democrats sharply divided on how tough to be with Russia

Partisan Divide in U.S. on What to Do About RussiaAs the Obama White House and its NATO allies discuss their responses to Russia’s activities in Ukraine, Washington faces its own internal divisions, some of which are being reflected in the early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign. Republicans and Democrats in the United States are strongly divided on the situation in Ukraine and what to do about it.

Members of both American political parties see Russia as a major military threat to neighboring countries, but to differing degrees, according to our latest survey. Read More

Topics: Elections and Campaigns, Europe, International Threats and Allies, Russia, U.S. Political Parties

Jun 15, 2015 7:00 am

Is being Hispanic a matter of race, ethnicity or both?

Two-Thirds of Hispanic Adults Say Being Hispanic is Part of Their Racial BackgroundWhen it comes to reporting their racial identity, Latinos stand out from other Americans. In the 2010 census, for example, 94% of the U.S. population selected at least one of the five standard, government-defined racial categories – white, black, Asian, American Indian or Pacific Islander. But among Latinos, just 63% selected at least one of these categories; 37% of Latinos, or 19 million, instead selected only “some other race,” with many offering write-in responses such as “Mexican,” Hispanic” or “Latin American.”

Federal policy defines “Hispanic” not as a race, but as an ethnicity. And it prescribes that Hispanics can in fact be of any race. But these census findings suggest that standard U.S. racial categories might either be confusing or not provide relevant options for Hispanics to describe their racial identity. They also raise an important question long pondered by social scientists and policymakers: Do Hispanics consider their Hispanic background to be part of their racial background, their ethnic background or both? Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Identity, Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Census

Jun 12, 2015 12:00 pm

6 charts showing how Russians see their country and the world

As part of our recent survey examining public opinion on the Ukraine crisis in NATO countries, we also looked at how Russians assessed the state of their own country and its place in the world. We found that while Russians are downbeat about their economy, they still strongly support President Vladimir Putin, have increasingly negative views of Western countries and leaders, and are nostalgic for the Soviet era.

Here are six charts that tell the story of the current mood in Russia:

Russian Views of Economy Souring1Nearly three-quarters in Russia (73%) say that their economy is in bad shape. Only around a quarter (24%) say the Russian economy is doing well. Over the past year, the fall in the price of oil and Western sanctions have led to a 20 percentage point drop in positive economic sentiment, despite recent signs that the economic downturn might prove less severe than anticipated.

Asked what the cause of the economic downturn is, one-third of Russians point to Western sanctions, while another third blame falling oil prices. Only a quarter blame current government policies. Read More

Topics: Europe, International Threats and Allies, Russia

Jun 12, 2015 9:55 am

Interracial marriage: Who is ‘marrying out’?

Interracial Marriages Vary by RaceToday marks the 48th anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in 16 states. Interracial marriages have increased steadily since then.

In 2013, a record-high 12% of newlyweds married someone of a different race, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data. (This share does not take into account the “interethnic” marriages between Hispanics and non-Hispanics, which we covered in an earlier report on intermarriage.)

Looking beyond newlyweds, 6.3% of all marriages were between spouses of different races in 2013, up from less than 1% in 1970.

Read More

Topics: Intermarriage, Race and Ethnicity