Apr 20, 2017 7:04 am

Not everyone in advanced economies is using social media

(iStock Photo)
(iStock Photo)

Despite the seeming ubiquity of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, many in Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia and Japan do not report regularly visiting social media sites. But majorities in all of the 14 countries surveyed say they at least use the internet.

Social media use is relatively common among people in Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia and the U.S. Around seven-in-ten report using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, but that still leaves a significant minority of the population in those countries (around 30%) who are non-users.

At the other end of the spectrum, in France, only 48% say they use social networking sites. That figure is even lower in Greece (46%), Japan (43%) and Germany (37%). In Germany, this means that more than half of internet users say they do not use social media.  Read More

Topics: Europe, Social Networking, Generations and Age, Technology Adoption, Social Media, Internet Activities

Apr 19, 2017 2:32 pm

Millennials aren’t job-hopping any faster than Generation X did

Micaelah Morrill at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Mass., in May 2016. (Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Micaelah Morrill at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Mass., in May 2016. (Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Millennial workers, those ages 18 to 35, are just as likely to stick with their employers as their older counterparts in Generation X were when they were young adults, according to recently released government data.

And among the college-educated, Millennials have longer track records with their employers than Generation X workers did in 2000 when they were the same age as today’s Millennials.

Every two years the U.S. Department of Labor collects data on how long workers have been with their current employer as part of the Current Population Survey. Though the data have been collected periodically since the early 1950s, the present tenure questions began in 1996, so we can only compare Millennial workers with Gen X workers when they were the same age.

In January 2016, 63.4% of employed Millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1998, reported that they had worked for their current employer at least 13 months. In February 2000, somewhat fewer 18- to 35-year-olds (59.9%) – most of whom are today’s Gen Xers – reported similar job tenure. Looking at young workers with longer tenures, 22% of Millennial workers had been with their employer for at least five years as of 2016, similar to the share of Gen X workers (21.8%) in 2000.  Read More

Topics: Education, Work and Employment, Generations and Age, Educational Attainment, Business and Labor, Millennials

Apr 19, 2017 10:32 am

Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to growing shares of the world’s Christians and Muslims

If demography is destiny, then Christianity’s future lies in Africa. By 2060, a plurality of Christians – more than four-in-ten – will call sub-Saharan Africa home, up from 26% in 2015, according to a new analysis of demographic data by Pew Research Center. At the same time, the share of Christians living in many other regions – notably Europe – is projected to decline.

This shift in the regional concentration of the global Christian population is being driven by a combination of demographic factors, including fertility, age and migration, as well as religious switching into and out of Christianity. In sub-Saharan Africa, Christians, on average, are relatively young and have more children than their coreligionists elsewhere, contributing to the projected rapid population growth in the decades ahead.

By contrast, European Christians are much older and have fewer children. In addition, large numbers of Europeans who were born Christian are leaving the faith to join the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated. As a result, the share of all Christians living in Europe is expected to decline from nearly a quarter in 2015 to just 14% by 2060. Religious switching out of Christianity also is projected to drive down the share of the global Christian population in North America (12% in 2015 to 9% in 2060).  Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Population Trends, Population Geography, Sub-Saharan Africa, Religious Affiliation, Christians and Christianity, Muslims and Islam, Population Projections

Apr 18, 2017 12:31 pm

Many Americans haven’t heard of the House Freedom Caucus

The House Freedom Caucus drew attention from the White House, lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the press last month because of its opposition to GOP health care legislation. But despite its prominence in Washington, the group is little known to many Americans.

About four-in-ten adults (42%) say they have heard “nothing at all” about the caucus, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 5-11 among 1,501 U.S. adults. Another 39% say they have heard “a little” about it, while only about one-in-five Americans (19%) say they have heard “a lot” about the group.

The House Freedom Caucus is a group of conservative Republican lawmakers in the lower chamber of Congress. It was formed in January 2015, and while the caucus does not make its membership public, it is believed to consist of about three dozen lawmakers who share the goal of pushing House GOP leaders toward more conservative positions on fiscal and social issues.

In addition to its opposition to the White House-backed health care bill last month, the caucus also reportedly played a role in the resignation of former House Speaker John Boehner in 2015.

Read More

Topics: Congress, U.S. Political Parties, Federal Government

Apr 14, 2017 7:04 am

5 facts on how Americans view the Bible and other religious texts

Godong/UIG via Getty Images
Godong/UIG via Getty Images

This year, the Jewish festival of Passover – April 10 to 18 – coincides with the Christian celebration of Easter. And Easter, somewhat unusually, falls on April 16 in both the Orthodox and Western calendars.

Both Passover and Easter are based on biblical accounts. Passover commemorates the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, as described in the Hebrew Scriptures. Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus, as described in the Christian Gospels. In this important season for both traditions, here are five key facts about Americans and their holy texts.

1 About a third of Americans (35%) say they read scripture at least once a week, while 45% seldom or never read scripture, according to 2014 data from our Religious Landscape Study. Frequency of reading scripture differs widely among religious groups. Majorities of Jehovah’s Witnesses (88%), Mormons (77%), evangelical Protestants (63%) and members of historically black Protestant churches (61%) say they read scripture at least once a week. By contrast, 65% of Jews say they seldom or never read scripture.

2 Three-quarters of Christians say they believe the Bible is the word of God. Eight-in-ten Muslims (83%) say the Quran is the word of God, according to the 2014 survey. Far fewer Jews (37%) say they view the Torah as the word of God.

Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Christians and Christianity, Muslims and Islam, Jews and Judaism

Apr 13, 2017 11:31 am

Religious restrictions vary significantly in the world’s most populous countries

Restrictions against religious groups in the world’s 25 most populous countries — where more than 5 billion of the globe’s roughly 7.5 billion people live — vary greatly, from some of the lowest in the world (Brazil and Japan) to among the very highest (Russia and Egypt).

In addition to Russia and Egypt, India, Pakistan and Nigeria also had some of the highest levels of religious restrictions among this group of most populous countries, according to Pew Research Center’s latest annual study on the topic, which uses 2015 data (the most recent year available). In these countries, the government or society at large (or, at times, both) imposed numerous limits on religious beliefs and practices.

In India, for example, some state governments restricted religious conversion and others banned cow slaughter. (Many Hindus view cows as sacred, so these laws may disproportionally affect the minority Muslim population, as well as other non-Hindus.) India had an even higher level of social hostilities involving religion, which are perpetrated by individuals or groups in society, rather than the government. The Indian government estimated that there were 561 incidents of communal violence between January and October in 2015; these incidents resulted in 90 deaths and 1,688 injuries. In one of the incidents, a mob attacked a Muslim man for speaking with his female Hindu coworker, according to the U.S. State Department.

Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Religion and Government, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Restrictions on Religion

Apr 13, 2017 7:03 am

6 facts about the U.S. military and its changing demographics

Troops assemble at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in December 2013. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Troops assembled at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in December 2013. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

As the size of the active-duty U.S. military has edged downward, its demographic makeup has changed, largely in ways that reflect trends in the broader society.

There were 1,340,533 active-duty troops in 2015 (including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard). This marks the smallest active-duty force since 2001, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). In addition, the share of Americans serving in the active-duty military has declined marginally to 0.4% of the population in 2015 (down from 0.5% in 2009).

Here are some key facts about today’s military.  Read More

Topics: Demographics, Federal Government, Military and Veterans

Apr 12, 2017 11:35 am

Share of married Americans is falling, but they still pay most of the nation’s income taxes

While the share of U.S. adults who are married has been falling steadily over the past 40 years, married people continue to earn most of the nation’s income and pay the vast majority of income taxes, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of IRS tax administration data.

In 1970, 69% of adults were married, and they paid 80% of all federal income taxes. As of 2014, the share of married adults had dropped to half of the adult population (50%) but the share of income taxes paid by them fell much less, to 74%.

The same period saw a sharper decline in the share of all tax returns filed as married (either “married, filing jointly” or “married, filing separately”). In 1970, married returns accounted for 60% of all returns, but fell to just 38% in 2014 – the most recent year that complete tax data are available.

The fact that married Americans continue to pay roughly three-quarters of the nation’s income taxes, in spite of their dwindling share of the adult population, is in part a result of the changing demographics and economics of marriage. Marriage is increasingly linked with higher levels of education, which are in turn linked to higher incomes.

Read More

Topics: Economics and Personal Finances, Marriage and Divorce, Taxes

Apr 12, 2017 7:06 am

Muslims, Jews faced social hostilities in seven-in-ten European countries in 2015

Europe in 2015 saw a rise in social hostilities involving religion, particularly against the continent’s Muslims, according to a new Pew Research Center study on global religious restrictions. Muslims faced social hostilities in seven-in-ten (71%) countries in Europe, an increase from 58% the year before.

Along with sub-Saharan Africa, Europe experienced the sharpest year-over-year increase in social hostilities targeting Muslims, with both regions registering increases of 13 percentage points. But the share of sub-Saharan African countries with hostilities toward Muslims was the second lowest (38%) of five regions evaluated, while Europe had the largest share of any region.

Social hostilities toward Jews, meanwhile, remained at high levels in Europe: In 2015, 33 of the continent’s 45 countries (73%) had incidents of social hostilities aimed at Jews, a slight increase from 32 countries (71%) the previous year.

Social hostilities are defined as actions aimed at members of religious groups by private individuals and social groups. These actions can include hostile rhetoric, vandalism and physical assaults. They differ from government restrictions on religion, which also increased in Europe in 2015.

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Topics: Europe, Religion and Society, Religion and Government, Sub-Saharan Africa, Religious Affiliation, Restrictions on Religion, Muslims and Islam, Discrimination and Prejudice, Jews and Judaism

Apr 11, 2017 12:33 pm

U.S. private prison population has declined in recent years

After a period of steady growth, the number of inmates held in private prisons in the United States has declined modestly in recent years and continues to represent a small share of the nation’s total prison population.

In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, about 126,000 prisoners were held in privately operated facilities under the jurisdiction of 29 states and the federal Bureau of Prisons. That’s an 83% increase since 1999, the first year with comparable data, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). By comparison, the total U.S. prison population increased 12% during that span.

In more recent years, however, both the private and overall U.S. prison populations have declined at modest rates. The private prison population has shrunk by 8% since its peak in 2012, while the overall prison population has fallen by 5% since its peak in 2009. (The state private prison population peaked in 2012 with 96,774 prisoners, while the federal private prison population reached its peak a year later in 2013, with 41,159 prisoners.)

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Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Criminal Justice, Federal Government, State and Local Government