Oct 20, 2015 12:00 pm

What is the House Freedom Caucus, and who’s in it?

Amid all the coverage of House Republicans’ unruly efforts to select a speaker who can command broad support from their fractious ranks, one name keeps coming up: the House Freedom Caucus. But what, exactly, is the House Freedom Caucus?

Pew Research Center has confirmed the identities of 36 Freedom Caucus members through representatives’ public statements, their comments to the media or their offices’ direct responses. A handful of other House members who reportedly belong to the group could not be confirmed. (The communications director for Rep. Darrell Issa of California, for example, said he could neither confirm nor deny Issa’s membership in the caucus.)

Ideologically speaking, they’re among the most conservative of House Republicans, though not all are on the rightmost end of the spectrum.

Typical Freedom Caucus Member Is More Conservative Than Other Republicans

To quantify this, we used a dataset called DW-NOMINATE, first developed by political scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal in the early 1980s and refined and updated since. In simplified form, DW-NOMINATE assigns each representative a score ranging from -1 (most liberal) to +1 (most conservative) based on roll-call votes. Read More

Category: Sortable Table

Topics: Congress, U.S. Political Parties

Oct 20, 2015 11:29 am

What Canada’s new government might mean for U.S. relations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau makes his way to the stage with wife Sophie Gregoire at the Liberal Party headquarters in Montreal on Tuesday. Trudeau, the son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, became Canada’s new prime minister after beating Conservative Stephen Harper. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

Canada’s Liberal Party captured a majority of seats in Monday’s federal election, winning enough votes to form a new government. Justin Trudeau, son of a former Liberal leader, will be the first member of his party to serve as prime minister since 2006.

So, what does this mean for the U.S.’s relationship with its northern-border ally? Canada’s Liberal Party is often classified as centrist, and a recent Pew Research Center survey finds that they indeed represent the middle path on Canadian views toward the U.S. But on some key issues, like the Keystone XL pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), supporters of Canada’s Liberal Party are less supportive than their Conservative Party predecessors.

Canadians', Americans' Views of KeystoneOn the Keystone XL pipeline, a new Liberal-run government might be less inclined to push the U.S. to approve the stalled project. While Trudeau has pledged his support for the pipeline, which would deliver oil from the Alberta oil sands region to U.S. refineries, overall support for the venture in Canada is tepid.

In our most recent survey, Canadians are split: 42% favor building the pipeline, while 48% are against it. Among Liberal supporters, 45% approve of the pipeline, with a nearly identical 46% opposed. Conservative Party backers are much more enthused by the project (72% support it), while backers of the left-leaning, social-democrat New Democratic Party (22%) are least supportive. Read More

Topics: Bilateral Relations, Globalization and Trade, International Governments and Institutions, North America, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, World Elections

Oct 19, 2015 9:03 am

Slightly fewer Americans are reading print books, new survey finds

The number of book readers has dipped a bit from the previous year and the number of e-book readers has remained flat, according to new survey findings from Pew Research Center.

The Number of Book Readers DipsSeven-in-ten American adults (72%) have read a book within the past year, whether in whole or in part and in any format, according to a survey conducted in March and April. That figure has fallen from 79% who said in 2011 they had read a book in the previous year, but is statistically in line with survey findings starting in 2012.

Many book publishers, researchers and retailers have wondered whether the introduction of e-books would impact book reading overall or lead to a decline in the number of books read in print. This year’s data show a slight decline in the number of American adults who read print books: 63% of American adults say they read at least one book in print in the past year, compared with 69% who said the same the year before and 71% in 2011.

The survey data – which measure who has read at least one book in whole or in part in the previous year, how many they read and what formats they use – come as industry data out last month indicate that Americans remain hybrid consumers. Digital sales, which comprise about 20% of the market, have slowed sharply, while print sales have stayed relatively strong, according to the Association of American Publishers. Read More

Topics: E-reading

Oct 14, 2015 11:00 am

Puerto Ricans leave in record numbers for mainland U.S.

Puerto Rico’s nearly decade-long economic recession has led to people leaving the island for the mainland in numbers not seen in more than 50 years, new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data has found.

More People Are Leaving Puerto Rico for MainlandLast year, 84,000 people left Puerto Rico for the U.S. mainland, a 38% increase from 2010, according to the analysis of American Community Survey data. At the same time, the number of people moving to Puerto Rico from the U.S. mainland declined, resulting in Puerto Rico having a net population loss to the mainland of 64,000 in 2014, more than double the net loss of 26,000 in 2010.

The island’s declining population is not a new trend. Indeed, Puerto Rico has been experiencing a net population loss since at least 2005, a year before its recession began. However, the trend has been accelerating since 2010 as the U.S. mainland’s economy has rebounded from the Great Recession even as the island’s economy has remained mired in a recession. More recently, the Puerto Rican government has seen its tax revenues decline and, barred by U.S. law from filing for bankruptcy, it may run out of cash in November. The continued loss of people, particularly school-aged children and those in their prime working age, has only worsened the island’s economic situation and outlook. Read More

Topics: Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Latin America, Migration, Population Geography, Population Trends

Oct 13, 2015 12:00 pm

Digital romance: How teen boys and girls differ

Thanks to texting and social media, teens today have many more ways to reach out to a crush than in the analog days of using the family telephone and passing notes in the hallways.

But according to a recent Pew Research Center report, some romantic traditions remain the same. The most common way for teenage boys to ask someone on a date is to ask a girl in person rather than via text message.

Girls More Likely Than Boys to Wait for Someone to Ask Them OutAnd nearly half (47%) of teen girls say they usually wait for someone to ask them out first, compared with only 6% of boys. Girls are also much less inclined than boys to ask someone out, whether in person (35% girls vs. 69% boys) or via text message (20% vs. 27%).

Overall, our report on teen romance found boys and girls have a lot in common when it comes to asking someone out by calling on the phone, messaging on a social networking site or getting one of their friends to do the asking. But there were a few gender differences worth noting.

Social media is an important venue for connecting with someone and deepening romantic relationships, but this is especially true for teen boys. Among teens with relationship experience who use social media, 65% of boys say platforms like Facebook or Instagram make them feel more connected with what’s happening in their significant other’s life, compared with 52% of girls. Boys (50%) are also more likely than girls (37%) to say social media makes them feel more emotionally connected to their romantic partner. Read More

Topics: Family and Relationships, Teens and Technology, Teens and Youth

Oct 12, 2015 12:00 pm

5 facts about Democrats

Republicans and Democrats have debates scheduled through next March as candidates on both sides seek to nail down their parties’ presidential nominations. As background, we’ve published five facts about Republicans. Here are five facts about today’s Democrats.

1More Democrats Identify as LiberalDemocrats have become more liberal in recent years. The share of Democrats who describe their political views as liberal has increased over the past 15 years. In surveys conducted this year, 41% of Democrats describe themselves as liberal, 35% say they are moderates and 21% say they’re conservative. In 2000, 43% were moderate, 27% liberal and 24% conservative.

This trend falls in line with how the nation has become more polarized at both ends of the ideological spectrum. Our polarization survey last year found that the share of Democrats and Democratic leaners who hold consistently liberal views (as well as the share of Republicans and Republican leaners who have consistently conservative attitudes) has increased over the past 2o years. Today, 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican, and 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: 2016 Election, Political Attitudes and Values, Presidential Approval, U.S. Political Parties

Oct 8, 2015 2:30 pm

Working on Columbus Day? It depends on where you live

23

Fewer than half of U.S. states give their employees Columbus Day as a paid holiday.

Depending on where you live and whom you work for, Columbus Day may be a paid day off or no different from any regular Monday.

Columbus Day is one of the most inconsistently celebrated U.S. holidays. It’s one of 10 official federal holidays, which means federal workers get the day off. And because federal offices will be closed, so will banks and the bond markets that trade in U.S. government debt (though the stock markets will remain open).

Columbus_Day

Beyond that, it’s a grab bag. According to the Council of State Governments’ comprehensive “Book of the States,” only 23 states (plus the District of Columbia, American Samoa and Puerto Rico) give their workers Columbus Day as a paid holiday. Tennessee officially does so too, but curiously chooses to celebrate the occasion on a different day – the Friday after Thanksgiving. Read More

Category: Daily Number

Topics: State and Local Government

Oct 8, 2015 10:30 am

More than any other foreign language, European youths learn English

The European Union is awash with languages. There are 24 official languages in the EU and more than 60 indigenous regional or minority languages. Despite this linguistic diversity, European students study one foreign language far more than any other: English.

Roughly three-quarters (77%) of primary school students in the EU learn English as a foreign language, according to data from Eurostat. This includes all or nearly all young students in Austria, Malta, Italy, Spain and Cyprus.

Majority of Primary Students in the European Union Study English

By comparison, German and French, the next most popular foreign languages, were studied by only 3.2% and 3% of EU primary school students, respectively.

Luxembourg and Belgium, each with three official languages, have the lowest share of primary school pupils studying English as a foreign language. In both countries, students frequently study one of the official languages, typically French or German, instead of English. Read More

Topics: Education, Europe, Language

Oct 8, 2015 7:00 am

Refugee surge brings youth to an aging Europe

FT_15.10.05_agingEurope640px

The ongoing surge of refugees into Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other war-ravaged countries presents a striking demographic contrast: hundreds of thousands of predominantly young people trying to get into a region where the population is older than in almost any other place on earth.

FT_15.10.05_agingEuropeRegion_2_420pxEurope has been graying for decades, primarily because of longer life expectancies and low birthrates (and, in some countries, high levels of emigration by young people of child-bearing age). In 1950, according to our analysis of data from the U.N.’s Population Division, 8% of the continent’s population was 65 or older; by 1990 that share had risen to 12.7%, and this year it’s estimated to be 17.6%.

Read More

Topics: Europe, Generations and Age, Migration, Syria

Oct 7, 2015 11:00 am

From Germany to Mexico: How America’s source of immigrants has changed over a century

Where Each State's Largest Immigrant Population Was BornNearly 59 million immigrants have arrived in the United States since 1965, making the nation the top destination in the world for those moving from one country to another. Mexico, which shares a nearly 2,000-mile border with the U.S., is the source of the largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States.

But today’s volume of immigrants is in some ways a return to America’s past. A century ago, the U.S. experienced another large wave of 18.2 million immigrants, hailing largely from Europe. Many Americans can trace their roots to that wave, from 1890 to 1919, when Germany dominated as the country sending the most immigrants to many of the U.S. states, although the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy were also strongly represented. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Immigration Trends