Jun 12, 2015 7:00 am

The changing categories the U.S. has used to measure race

What Census Calls Us: A Historical Timeline

The varying ways in which the U.S. government has counted Americans over time offer a glimpse into the country’s past, from the days of slavery to the waves of immigrants who arrived on its shores over the centuries. Racial categories, which have been included on every U.S. census since the first one in 1790, have changed from decade to decade, reflecting the politics and science of the times.

It was not until 1960 that people could select their own race. Prior to that, an individual’s race was determined by census takers, known as enumerators. And it was not until 2000 that Americans could choose more than one race to describe themselves, allowing for an estimate of the nation’s multiracial population. These changes continue today, as major revisions of the race question are being considered for the 2020 census.

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

Jun 11, 2015 12:00 pm

American Indian and white, but not ‘multiracial’

White and American Indian Biracial Adults Are the Largest Multiracial GroupAmerica’s multiracial population encompasses a multitude of racial combinations. But the largest share of multiracial adults by far – half – is non-Hispanic white and American Indian, a new Pew Research Center survey has found. Among the 1,555 multiracial adults surveyed, an additional 12% are non-Hispanic black and American Indian, while another 6% are non-Hispanic white, black and American Indian.

Yet the same survey shows that many of these multiracial American Indian adults have few connections with Native Americans. For example, among biracial adults who are white and American Indian, only 22% say they have a lot in common with American Indians; 61% say they have a lot in common with whites. And only 19% say they have had a lot of contact with their relatives who are American Indian.

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Topics: Demographics, Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Census

Jun 11, 2015 11:00 am

5 facts about abortion

More than four decades after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are still battling over the issue in court. The most recent salvos were fired in New Orleans on June 9, when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Texas law that requires abortion clinics in the state to meet rigorous health and safety standards. Abortion opponents say the law is necessary to protect the health and safety of women. But abortion rights supporters contend the statute is intended to make it impossible for most abortion providers in Texas to remain open; they plan to ask the Supreme Court to review the 5th Circuit’s ruling.

Meanwhile, public opinion on abortion has held relatively steady, with Americans roughly divided on the issue. Here are a few key facts about Americans’ views on the topic, based on recent Pew Research Center polling: Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Abortion

Jun 11, 2015 7:00 am

How Pew Research conducted its survey of multiracial Americans

Rich Morin, senior editor, Pew Research Center
Rich Morin, senior editor, Pew Research Center

Today, Pew Research Center released its first report on American multiracial adults, a group that comprises an estimated 6.9% of the adult population, or nearly 17 million adults. The report looks at who they are demographically, their attitudes and experiences, and the spectrum of their racial identity.

Overall, America’s multiracial population is growing three times as fast as the population as a whole, and it is poised to triple by the middle of this century, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet just shy of 50 years ago, interracial marriage was illegal in more than a dozen Southern states. And it was not until 2000 that the Census Bureau began allowing people the option of selecting more than one race for themselves.

We asked researcher Rich Morin, one of the authors of the report, about Pew Research’s interest in studying this group, what researchers learned and how they conducted the study. Read More

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

Jun 10, 2015 7:00 am

Key findings from our poll on the Russia-Ukraine conflict

In February 2014, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after months of protests sparked by his abrupt decision – under pressure from Russia – not to sign a trade pact that would have drawn his country closer to the European Union. A few weeks later, Russia annexed the Ukrainian oblast (region) of Crimea, and soon after, rebels started an insurgency in two eastern oblasts of Ukraine, Luhans’k and Donets’k. Since the fighting started last year, Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia, which has led to a period of worsening relations between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the West.

More Support of Economic than Military Aid for Ukraine

A new Pew Research Center survey looks at the conflict through the eyes of eight NATO countries (U.S. and Canada, plus six EU nations) and in Ukraine and Russia to gauge what ordinary people think about the crisis. Because of security conditions on the ground, the Ukraine survey includes all regions except Luhans’k, Donets’k and Crimea, or roughly 80% of the population. For more on the issues with conducting a survey in Ukraine during a time of conflict, see here.

Here are key findings from the survey: Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Global Balance of Power, International Threats and Allies, Russia, Wars and International Conflicts

Jun 9, 2015 3:10 pm

A look at popes and their encyclicals

Popes and Encyclicals Since Leo XIII

It’s not surprising that Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on climate change has already generated a lot of attention in the media and elsewhere, given the stature of his office and his sky-high popularity – not to mention the politically polarizing nature of the subject matter.

The upcoming encyclical, which is scheduled to be released on June 18, is the first by a pope to directly address an environmental issue. Francis’ only previous encyclical, Lumen Fidei (“The Light of Faith”), was issued on June 29, 2013, and concerned the nature of religious faith. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Energy and Environment

Jun 9, 2015 11:45 am

Where Europe stands on gay marriage and civil unions

Same-Sex Marriage in Europe

More than two-thirds of the 20 countries around the world that have legalized same-sex marriage are in Europe. Yet two of the biggest Western European states – Germany and Italy – do not allow gays and lesbians to wed. And all Central and Eastern European countries continue to ban gay marriage.

Nearly 15 years after the Netherlands became the world’s first country to allow same-sex marriage, Ireland last month became the first nation to do so via popular vote, with 62% of voters casting ballots in favor of the change. Read More

Topics: Europe, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

Jun 8, 2015 1:20 pm

Scientists more worried than public about world’s growing population

Total World Population

Over the course of history, many scientists and activists have raised alarm about population numbers that only increase every year.

When the English scholar Thomas Malthus published An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, the number of people around the world was nearing 1 billion for the first time. “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man,” he wrote then. Read More

Topics: Demographics, International Threats and Allies, Population Projections

Jun 4, 2015 10:17 am

Will California ever become a majority-Latino state? Maybe not

California reached a milestone in 2014 when it became only the third U.S. state where white non-Hispanics were outnumbered by another racial or ethnic group. At about 15 million, Hispanics for the first time constituted California’s largest racial or ethnic group, according to the state’s Department of Finance.

No Latino Majority Now Projected in California Before 2060However, it could be a half-century (or longer) before Hispanics become a full majority in California, if that demographic milestone is reached at all, according to scaled-back state population projections published by the state Finance Department.

Under projections published in 2007, the state’s Hispanic population was expected to reach 31 million in 2050, or 52.1% of all Californians. But according to updated projections released late last year, Hispanics are now expected to number 23.7 million in 2050, or 47.6% of all Californians. That pushes the prospect of a Hispanic demographic majority further into the future – perhaps to sometime after 2060.

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Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration Trends, Population Projections

Jun 3, 2015 2:31 pm

Supreme Court could reshape voting districts, with big impact on Hispanics

Districts with the Fewest Eligible Voters Are Mostly in Texas and California

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take up a Texas case that challenges the way nearly every U.S. voting district – from school boards to Congress – is drawn. The case, in essence, asks the court to specify what the word “person” means in its “one person, one vote” rule. The outcome of the case could have major impacts on Hispanic voting strength and representation from coast to coast. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Vote, Supreme Court, Voter Demographics