Mar 20, 2017 1:30 pm

Despite gains, women remain underrepresented among U.S. political and business leaders

Jeannette Rankin made history 100 years ago this year when she took office as the first female member of Congress. “I may be the first woman member of Congress, but I won’t be the last,” the Montana Republican predicted after winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives the year before.

Rankin was right: In the century since she began her service as a member of Congress, hundreds of women have followed in her footsteps. But women remain underrepresented in all major political offices and top business leadership positions in the United States.

In 2017, 21 women serve in the U.S. Senate and 83 serve in the House of Representatives, comprising 19.4% of Congress. While this share is nearly nine times higher than it was in 1965, it remains well below the 51.4% of women in the overall U.S. adult population. (An additional five women serve as nonvoting delegates in the House, representing American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.)

(See our updated interactive, “The Data on Women Leaders”)

Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking woman in congressional history, serving as House speaker from 2007 to 2011 and currently serving as the chamber’s minority leader. Her home state, California, has sent more women to Congress than any other state – a total of 41 as of 2017.

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Topics: Business and Labor, Congress, Gender, State and Local Government, U.S. Political Figures, Work and Employment

Mar 20, 2017 12:00 pm

A wider partisan and ideological gap between younger, older generations

The generation gap in American politics is dividing two younger age groups, Millennials and Generation X, from the two older groups, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation.

In 2016, as in recent years, Millennials and Gen Xers were the most Democratic generations. And both groups had relatively large – and growing – shares of liberal Democrats: 27% of Millennials and 21% of Gen Xers identified as liberal Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents.

By contrast, Boomers and Silents were the most Republican groups – largely because of the higher shares of conservative Republicans in these generations. Nearly a third of Boomers (31%) and 36% of Silents described themselves as conservative Republicans or Republican leaners, which also is higher than in the past.  Read More

Topics: Baby Boomers, Generations and Age, Millennials, Older Adults, Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization

Mar 20, 2017 6:57 am

What backgrounds do U.S. Supreme Court justices have?

When President Donald Trump nominated federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia, he chose a candidate whose professional background is very much in line with previous and current justices. Like Gorsuch, many of the 112 former or sitting justices had previously worked in the U.S. Department of Justice, appellate courts or private practice.

If confirmed, Gorsuch, who currently serves on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado, would join at least 68 others with prior experience as judges. Of these, at least 30 also came from U.S. appellate courts. And like the vast majority of Supreme Court justices – 104 so far – Gorsuch would bring private practice experience to the court. While less common, Gorsuch’s previous role as principal deputy to the associate attorney general puts him in line with at least 23 justices who served in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Unlike a majority of justices, however, Gorsuch has never been elected to any public office, a Pew Research Center analysis of biographical information from the Supreme Court and other sources has found.

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Topics: Donald Trump, Federal Government, Supreme Court, U.S. Political Figures

Mar 17, 2017 10:15 am

The fading of the green: Fewer Americans identify as Irish

On this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s news that might dampen the party: The ranks of Americans who trace their ancestry back to Ireland – long one of the most prominent subgroups in American society – are slowly declining.

In 2015, 32.7 million Americans, or one-in-ten, identified themselves as being of Irish ancestry, making it the second-largest ancestry group in the U.S. after Germans. In addition, nearly 3 million Americans claimed Scotch-Irish ancestry, or just under 1% of the entire population. (The Scotch-Irish were mainly Ulster Protestants who migrated to the British colonies in the decades before independence, while Irish Catholics didn’t begin arriving in large numbers until the 1840s.) By comparison, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have a combined population of about 6.6 million. Read More

Topics: Country of Origin, Demographics, Immigration, National and Cultural Identity, Race and Ethnicity

Mar 16, 2017 11:00 am

China outpaces India in internet access, smartphone ownership

India and China, the world’s two most populous countries, have long had a competitive relationship and have emerged as major economic powers. But in the digital space, China has a clear advantage. Since Pew Research Center began tracking advanced technology adoption in the two countries in 2013, the Chinese have consistently reported rates of internet and smartphone use that are at least triple that of Indians. That trend has continued through 2016.

In our latest poll, 71% of Chinese say they use the internet at least occasionally or own a smartphone, our definition of internet users. In contrast, only 21% of Indians say they use the internet or own a smartphone.

The gap between China and India is similarly large when it comes to smartphone ownership alone. Nearly seven-in-ten Chinese (68%) say they own one as of spring 2016, compared with 18% of Indians. Reported smartphone ownership in China has jumped 31 percentage points since 2013, but only 6 points in India over the same time period. And while virtually every Chinese person surveyed owns at least a basic mobile phone (98%), only 72% of Indians can say the same.  Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, China, Digital Divide, Future of the Internet, Internet Activities, Mobile, Social Media, Technology Adoption

Mar 16, 2017 9:00 am

Immigrants don’t make up a majority of workers in any U.S. industry

Immigrants are more likely than U.S.-born workers to be employed in a number of specific jobs, including sewing machine operators, plasterers, stucco masons and manicurists. But there are no major U.S. industries in which immigrants outnumber the U.S. born, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

All told, immigrants made up 17.1% of the total U.S. workforce in 2014, or about 27.6 million workers out of 161.4 million. About 19.6 million workers, or 12.1% of the total workforce, were in the U.S. legally; about 8 million, or 5%, entered the country without legal permission or overstayed their visas. (Roughly 10% of unauthorized immigrants have been granted temporary protection from deportation and eligibility to work under two federal programs, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status.)

There are two main ways to look at the kinds of work people do: by industry (that is, the business their employer is engaged in) and by occupation (the kind of work they do on the job). To get a sense of the work immigrants to the U.S. do most frequently, we relied on 2014 workforce estimates by Pew Research Center. The estimates, based on augmented data from the Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey, cover all workers ages 16 and older who reported being in a civilian industry or occupation, including both lawful and unauthorized immigrants. Read More

Topics: Business and Labor, Immigration, Unauthorized Immigration, Work and Employment

Mar 15, 2017 9:29 am

Many smartphone owners don’t take steps to secure their devices

Cybersecurity experts recommend that smartphone owners take a number of steps to keep their mobile devices safe and secure. These include using a pass code to gain access to the phone, as well as regularly updating a phone’s apps and operating system. Many Americans, however, are not adhering to these best practices, according to a Pew Research Center report released earlier this year.

More than a quarter (28%) of smartphone owners say they do not use a screen lock or other security features to access their phone. And while a majority of smartphone users say they have updated their phone’s apps or operating system, about 40% say they only update when it’s convenient for them. Meanwhile, some users forgo updating their phones altogether: Around one-in-ten  smartphone owners report they never update their phone’s operating system (14%) or update the apps on their phone (10%).

The security of mobile phones has drawn new attention following disclosures by WikiLeaks that the CIA reportedly has the capability to hack into some devices and bypass encryption software. There have also been several high-profile cases of smartphone hacking in recent years.  Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Internet Activities, Mobile, Online Privacy and Safety, Technology Adoption

Mar 15, 2017 6:58 am

European asylum applications remained near record levels in 2016

A migrant waits at a police registration point for asylum seekers in Erding, Germany, on Nov, 15, 2016. (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images)
A migrant waits at a police registration point for asylum seekers in Erding, Germany, on Nov. 15, 2016. (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images)

Europe’s record for annual asylum applications was nearly broken last year, but the numbers trailed off considerably by the end of 2016 and fell short of the previous year’s peak surge in late summer and early fall.

In 2016, European Union countries, Norway and Switzerland received more than 1.2 million asylum applications, only about 92,000 fewer than the record 1.3 million applications received in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of recently released data from Eurostat, Europe’s statistical agency.

At the same time, however, the number of monthly asylum applications in Europe decreased considerably at the end of 2016, dropping from 100,000 or more applications per month for most of 2016 to about 80,000 in October, 72,000 in November and 61,000 in December. The monthly number of asylum applications at the end of 2016 was similar to that of the beginning part of 2015, before the refugee surge.

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Topics: Europe, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Wars and International Conflicts

Mar 14, 2017 11:02 am

In Trump presidency, nearly 2,500 refugees have entered U.S. from six travel-restricted countries

Note: As of March 15, a federal judge had ordered a freeze on the new travel restrictions issued by President Trump.

A total of 2,466 refugees from six countries under new travel restrictions – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – have resettled in the United States since Donald Trump became president, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. The number of refugees from the six travel-restricted countries represents 32% of all refugees who have entered the U.S. since Trump took office.

Trump recently signed a new executive order, scheduled to take effect March 16, that bars new U.S. visas for 90 days for people holding citizenship from the six nations while security measures in those countries are reviewed. (A previous order that took effect Jan. 27 also barred citizens of Iraq, but parts of it were stopped by the courts.) The new order also suspends refugee admissions to the U.S. from all countries for 120 days, pending a review of security screening measures.

During the first full week of Trump’s presidency (Jan. 21-27), 687 refugees from the six restricted countries entered the U.S., accounting for 34% of all refugee admissions that week. The following week, Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, refugee admissions from the six restricted countries all but stopped after Trump’s original executive order on restrictions took effect. They then resumed shortly after a federal judge in Washington state suspended key parts of Trump’s initial order on Feb. 3 and lifted the travel restrictions, a decision that was upheld by a federal appeals court. (For a look at weekly refugee admissions after the initial executive order, see our earlier analysis.)

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Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Donald Trump, Federal Government, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, North America

Mar 14, 2017 6:57 am

For Pi Day, key figures on math and education in the U.S.

For almost 30 years, math enthusiasts have been taking part in festivities on March 14 to honor an infinitely long number beginning with 3.14 – the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, otherwise known as pi.

The first official Pi Day was March 14, 1988, when physicist Larry Shaw led staff and visitors to San Francisco’s Exploratorium in a celebration of all things pi-related. Since then, it has been celebrated across the globe, with universities, conferences and even pizzerias honoring the day.

To mark Pi Day, here are four findings about math and education in the United States:

1Americans rank math as one of the most important skills children need today to get ahead. In a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, respondents were asked, “Regardless of whether or not you think these skills are good to have, which ones do you think are most important for children to get ahead in the world today?” Roughly eight-in-ten U.S. adults (79%) said math is one of the most important skills needed for youth to get ahead. That placed math on par with teamwork, but slightly lower than communication and reading.

2Despite a recent dip in scores, U.S. students are more proficient in math than they were two decades ago. Four-in-ten fourth-graders and 33% of eighth-graders scored as “proficient” or “advanced” in math in 2015, according to a report released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) last fall. By comparison, only 13% of fourth-graders and 15% of eighth-graders were rated at or above proficient in 1990. However, math scores have declined since the previous assessment in 2013, representing the first drop in proficiency in 25 years.

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Topics: Education, Science and Innovation, Technology Adoption, Work and Employment