Apr 2, 2015 9:55 am

7 key changes in the global religious landscape

What will the world’s religious landscape look like a few decades from now? A new Pew Research Center study attempts to answer that question by projecting the changing size of eight major global religious groups through the year 2050 based on a variety of demographic factors.

The study uses data from 198 countries and territories on fertility, age composition and life expectancy. It also looks at rates of religious switching – where data is available – and migration between countries, and puts all of these factors together to provide the best estimates for the future.

There are many storylines in this data, which can be explored through the full report or on our interactive Global Religious Futures website. Here are a few of the key findings: Read More

Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Christians and Christianity, Demographics, Hindus and Hinduism, Muslims and Islam, Population Projections, Religious Affiliation, Religiously Unaffiliated

Apr 2, 2015 7:00 am

What we learned about surveying with mobile apps

This week marks a new experimental milestone for Pew Research Center: We’ve released our first report using survey findings collected with mobile software applications, or “apps.”

The rise of apps in an increasingly mobile world is a major social, political and economic story that we have been documenting for years. As researchers, we’ve felt for some time that apps hold a lot of promise for data collection. Not only could apps-based surveys potentially make surveys more “mobile friendly,” but they might also allow people to provide different kinds of information that is sometimes difficult to gather in traditional phone surveys, such as location data or exactly when people use certain smartphone features.

Yet little work has been done by social science researchers examining whether apps are a viable survey tool. And we were unable to find any research comparing app-based surveys with polls administered through Web browsers. We used an app that enabled people to take our surveys on their smartphone or tablet, even when the phone is not connected to the internet. We also allowed people to take the survey using any Web browser, including a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop, but that required an internet connection. Our new, experimental work compared the results of these two modes, and what we found is fascinating.

Here’s what we did: Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Mobile, Research Methodology

Apr 1, 2015 1:58 pm

Working-mom guilt? Many dads feel it too

A recent study, published in the April 2015 issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, suggests that kids’ academic and emotional well-being is not necessarily contingent on the amount of time they spend with their mothers. The takeaway for some commentators: It’s time for busy moms to let go of the guilt they feel about not spending enough time with their kids.

Among Working Parents, Fathers More Conflicted About Time Spent with KidsIt turns out today’s working fathers are just as likely as working mothers to say that finding the right balance between their job and their family life is a challenge for them, Pew Research Center has found. Fully half of working dads say it’s difficult for them to balance these competing responsibilities; 56% of working moms say the same. And about the same share of working dads (34%) and moms (40%) say they “always feel rushed” in their day-to-day lives.

Read More

Topics: Parenthood, Work and Employment

Apr 1, 2015 9:52 am

6 facts about Americans and their smartphones

Smartphones have become an important way for Americans to communicate, go online, and access and share information. A new Pew Research Center report analyzes smartphone ownership and the attitudes and behaviors of smartphone owners, as well as how these mobile devices have become a primary way for some users to access the internet.

Here are six key findings from the report:

Smartphone Ownership Highest Among Young Adults, Those With High Income/Education Levels1The share of Americans who own a smartphone has substantially increased since 2011, when Pew Research first began examining smartphone adoption. Today, nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011. Younger adults as well as those who are more affluent and have higher levels of education are among the most likely groups to own a smartphone.

2Some smartphone owners – particularly younger adults, minorities and lower-income Americans – depend on their smartphone for internet access. Of U.S. adults who own a smartphone, 7% are “smartphone-dependent,” meaning that they do not have home broadband service and have limited options for going online other than their mobile device. Young adults, ages 18-29, are more likely (15%) than other age groups to be smartphone-dependent, while Latinos (13%) and African Americans (12%) are more heavily dependent on their smartphone for internet access than are whites (4%). Lower-income Americans also rely heavily on smartphones for going online – 13% of U.S. adults with an annual household income of less than $30,000 are smartphone-dependent, compared with 1% of those whose family household income is $75,000 or more. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Internet Activities, Mobile, Technology Adoption

Mar 31, 2015 12:01 pm

Working while pregnant is much more common than it used to be

The U.S. Supreme Court last week revived a previously dismissed case that looks at whether, and under what circumstances, employers should provide accommodations to pregnant employees who are “similar in their ability or inability to work” to other employees with other medical conditions.

The case involves Peggy Young, who filed a discrimination lawsuit against UPS, her former employer. Young, who at the time worked as a part-time driver, was told to avoid heavy lifting while pregnant. UPS refused to give her lighter duties and placed her on unpaid leave. In 2008, she sued, citing the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

Women More Likely to Work While PregnantYoung’s situation of working while pregnant is much more common today than it was before the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Among women who had their first child in the early 1960s, just 44% worked at all during pregnancy. The likelihood that an American woman would work while pregnant increased dramatically through the 1960s and 1970s, and by the late 1980s, 67% of women pregnant with their first child remained on the job. Those rates have leveled off since then, and the latest figures show that 66% of mothers who gave birth to their first child between 2006 and 2008 worked during their pregnancy, according to Census Bureau data. Read More

Topics: Parenthood, Work and Employment

Mar 30, 2015 2:02 pm

Among developed nations, Americans’ tax bills are below average

US Americans pay less in taxes than Europeans
With the April 15 tax-filing deadline rapidly approaching, some U.S. taxpayers may be thinking a lot about just how much they are forking over to (or getting from) Uncle Sam. A Pew Research Center report earlier this month concluded that the public sees the nation’s tax system as deeply flawed: 59% of people surveyed agreed that “there is so much wrong with the federal tax system that Congress should completely change it,” while just 38% said the system “works pretty well” and requires “only minor changes.” Read More

Topics: Taxes

Mar 30, 2015 12:14 pm

Americans split over whether businesses must serve same-sex couples

Businesses, Same-Sex CouplesA new Indiana religious freedom law has sparked national debate since Gov. Mike Pence signed it last week. While its supporters say it strengthens protection of religious liberty, critics have argued that it could provide legal cover for businesses to discriminate, such as a florist or caterer who may not want to provide services for a same-sex wedding because of religious objections.

Several such cases already have been making their way through the courts, including one involving a bakery in Oregon. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from New Mexico photographers who were found guilty of discrimination after refusing to shoot a commitment ceremony for two women. Read More

Topics: Church-State Law, Economic and Business News, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

Mar 27, 2015 7:00 am

How citizens and investigative journalists handle privacy protection

The American public has had a muted response when it comes to concerns about possible government monitoring of their digital behavior, and many have not yet adopted – or are even aware of – many of the tools available to protect their online privacy and security, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

But it is a different story for a group like investigative journalists, whose work makes them potential targets for monitoring.

Some Investigative Journalists Have Increased  Privacy and Security; Many Were Already Taking PrecautionsIn our survey of U.S. members of Investigative Reporters & Editors, most of the investigative journalists assume that they are being monitored because of the nature of their work: 64% believe that the government probably collected their communications data.

And many have long since adopted various privacy and security measures. Most notably, 76% of the investigative journalists said they had been using a variety of passwords for more than a year, and 58% had been using enhanced privacy settings on social networking sites. Read More

Topics: Digital Media, News Media Ethics and Practices, Online Privacy and Safety, Surveillance

Mar 26, 2015 7:00 am

The challenges of using Facebook for research

When Pew Research Center studied how Americans access and share local news in three cities, we naturally wanted to analyze the role that Facebook played as a means for people to hear about, discuss and share local news. But getting the data we needed proved challenging.

Facebook Activity by CityWhile seven-in-ten online American adults are on Facebook, most do not make the information they share fully public. Facebook allows users to adjust their privacy settings in a number of different ways, which, for researchers, means it’s harder to study the platform holistically.

We decided to focus on the information we could gather on public Facebook pages. But the question then became how to round up relevant public data from Facebook in these cities. Read More

Topics: Local News, Research Methodology, Social Media

Mar 25, 2015 1:33 pm

How the U.S. compares with the rest of the world on religious restrictions

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids laws establishing religion or impeding the free exercise of religion. But that doesn’t mean governments in the U.S. – whether federal, state or local – do not place any restrictions on religious activity.

Indeed, according to a recent Pew Research Center study – the sixth annual report in a series – the U.S. has moderate levels of both restrictions on religion and social hostilities toward religious groups, ranking somewhere in the middle range of the nearly 200 countries analyzed in the report.

Read More

Topics: Restrictions on Religion