Aug 14, 2017 1:00 pm

Like most Americans, U.S. Muslims concerned about extremism in the name of Islam

Most Americans are worried about Islamic extremism, and most Muslim Americans share these concerns.

About eight-in-ten U.S. Muslims (82%) say they are either very (66%) or somewhat concerned (16%) about extremism committed in the name of Islam around the world, about the same as the share of the general public that feels this way (83%), according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Only about one-in-six U.S. Muslims (17%) and Americans overall (15%) say they are “not too” or “not at all” concerned about extremism carried out in the name of Islam worldwide. Among both groups, concern about extremism is up 10 percentage points since the Center’s last survey of U.S. Muslims in 2011.

Muslim American women are particularly worried about global extremism in the name of Islam. Nearly nine-in-ten U.S. Muslim women (89%) say they are at least somewhat concerned about it, up 16 points since 2011. A smaller share of U.S. Muslim men (75%) say they feel this way.  Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Terrorism, Religious Extremism, Muslims and Islam, Muslim Americans

Aug 10, 2017 7:06 am

John Kelly’s military background is unusual for a White House chief of staff

Before becoming President Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly had served as a U.S. Marine Corps general who commanded the U.S. Southern Command. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Before becoming President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly had served as a U.S. Marine Corps general and head of the U.S. Southern Command. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s new chief of staff, John Kelly, brings an uncommon resume to the job. A retired Marine general, Kelly is the first chief of staff in more than four decades to come from the upper ranks of the military, and unlike most of his predecessors he has no prior work experience in the White House or campaign politics.

The majority of chiefs of staff to date – 19 – previously worked in other White House roles, such as deputy chief of staff or adviser to the president, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of their biographical information. This group also includes three former White House budget directors: Leon Panetta, who served as chief of staff to Bill Clinton; Joshua Bolten, chief of staff to George W. Bush; and Jack Lew, who served under Barack Obama. (Lew had served as budget director twice – once under Clinton and once under Obama – before becoming Obama’s chief.)

Another common steppingstone for the White House chief of staff job is campaign work, with 14 chiefs having previously worked in electoral politics. This group includes Reince Priebus, Trump’s first chief, who had earlier served as chairman of the Republican National Committee and the Wisconsin Republican Party. It also includes James Baker, who famously became Ronald Reagan’s first chief of staff despite having earlier run two political campaigns against Reagan.

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Topics: U.S. Political Figures, Military and Veterans, Donald Trump

Aug 9, 2017 12:00 pm

Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

People at Djemaa el-Fna Square, late afternoon sun
People at Djemaa el-Fna Square, late afternoon sun

Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries. Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans – who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population – have said they know little or nothing about Islam.

Here are answers to some key questions about Muslims, compiled from several Pew Research Center reports published in recent years:

How many Muslims are there? Where do they live?

There were 1.8 billion Muslims in the world as of 2015 – roughly 24% of the global population – according to a Pew Research Center estimate. But while Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion (after Christianity), it is the fastest-growing major religion. Indeed, if current demographic trends continue, the number of Muslims is expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century.

Although many countries in the Middle East-North Africa region, where the religion originated in the seventh century, are heavily Muslim, the region is home to only about 20% of the world’s Muslims. A majority of the Muslims globally (62%) live in the Asia-Pacific region, including large populations in Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey.

Indonesia is currently the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, but Pew Research Center projects that India will have that distinction by the year 2050 (while remaining a majority-Hindu country), with more than 300 million Muslims.

The Muslim population in Europe also is growing; we project 10% of all Europeans will be Muslims by 2050.  Read More

Topics: Muslim-Western Relations, Religion and Society, Population Trends, Population Geography, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Muslims and Islam, Muslim Americans

Aug 9, 2017 6:58 am

Few see EU as world’s top economic power despite its relative might

The European Union ranks as the world’s second-largest economy by gross domestic product, but few people globally see it as an economic leader ahead of China or the United States, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

Across the 38 nations in the survey, a median of just 9% view the countries of the EU as the world’s leading economic power. By comparison, 42% name the U.S. and 32% name China, while an additional 7% name Japan.

Even in the 10 EU countries included in the survey, a median of only 9% see the EU as the world’s top economy. By contrast, 42% name China and 38% name the U.S., with an additional 7% naming Japan. (Europe is the only region globally where more people today see China than the U.S. as the world’s leading economy.)

The comparatively low international rating of the EU’s economy comes despite its economic power – at least as measured by gross domestic product in purchasing power parity dollars (i.e., exchange rates adjusted for differences in the prices of goods and services across countries). By this measure, EU member countries collectively generated $20.3 trillion in GDP. The EU trails only China and ranks ahead of the U.S. and Japan.  Read More

Topics: Europe, Globalization and Trade, World Economies

Aug 8, 2017 1:00 pm

Nearly half of those who have been harassed online know their harasser

Anonymity can play a central role in fostering abusive behavior online. But in many cases, targets of online harassment name someone they know personally as the responsible party.

About one-in-four Americans (26%) who have been harassed online say an acquaintance was behind their most recent incident, according to a recent Pew Research Center report. And in other cases, targets of online abuse are even more familiar with their harassers: 18% of those who have been harassed say their most recent incident involved a friend, while 11% say it involved a family member. Smaller shares say their most recent experience involved a former romantic partner (7%) or a co-worker (5%).

Taken together, nearly half of Americans (46%) who have experienced some form of online harassment say they know the person or persons responsible for their most recent incident – the same as the share (46%) who say their harasser was a stranger or someone whose real identity was unknown to them. (The remaining 8% were harassed by people both known and unknown to them.)

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Topics: Social Media, Internet Activities, Online Privacy and Safety

Aug 8, 2017 10:00 am

Americans divided on gene editing, with parents of minors more wary

Americans have mixed feelings about using gene editing techniques to reduce babies’ lifetime risk of contracting serious diseases, with parents of children younger than 18 especially wary of the practice, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey.

When asked to consider the idea of using gene editing to lessen healthy babies’ risk of disease, many more Americans said they were very or somewhat worried about the idea (68%) than were at least somewhat enthusiastic about it (49%). And the public was closely divided over whether they would or would not want gene editing for their baby (48% versus 50%). Parents of minor children were less inclined to want gene editing for their child by a margin of 39% to 59%.

The survey underscores how the details of gene editing play an important role in public opinion. It was conducted before a recent breakthrough in gene editing that has raised the potential of significantly reducing the lifetime risk of diseases in healthy babies.

Another Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2014 had similarly found Americans closely divided over whether changing genetic characteristics to reduce a baby’s risk of serious diseases would be appropriate (46%) or taking advances too far (50%).

And while most in the 2016 survey said they expected the prospect of gene editing to usher in a “great deal” (46%) or “some” (35%) change for society, the public is also divided over the likely impact of this change. Slightly more Americans expected the benefits for society to outnumber the downsides of gene editing than vice versa (36% to 28%), while a third (33%) said the downsides and benefits would even out.

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Topics: Religion and Society, Science and Innovation, Bioethics

Aug 7, 2017 7:01 am

In many ways, Muslim men and women see life in America differently

Marcell Rafli/EyeEm via Getty Images
Marcell Rafli/EyeEm via Getty Images

While many Muslims express wariness and anxiety about aspects of their lives in the United States, Muslim women tend to be more pessimistic about their place in U.S. society than Muslim men.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, more Muslim women than men say it has become more difficult to be Muslim in the U.S. in recent years (57% vs. 43%).

And Muslim women are more divided on their acceptance by society at large than are men. Half (52%) of Muslim women say they have a lot in common with most Americans and 44% view the American people as friendly toward Muslim Americans, compared with two-thirds of Muslim men who say each of these things.

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Topics: Gender, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Muslims and Islam

Aug 4, 2017 2:30 pm

Most Americans view openness to foreigners as ‘essential to who we are as a nation’

For a large majority of Americans, the country’s openness to people from around the world “is essential to who we are as a nation.” In a new Pew Research Center survey, 68% say America’s openness to foreigners is a defining characteristic of the nation, while just 29% say “if America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation.”

The belief that openness to people from around the world is essential is widely shared across most demographic groups. However, Democrats and younger people are considerably more likely than others to hold this view, according to the national survey, conducted June 27-July 9 among 2,505 adults.

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, an overwhelming share (84%) thinks America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation. Republicans and Republican leaners are divided: 47% say America’s openness is essential, while 48% say being too open carries with it the risk of losing our identity as a nation.

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Topics: U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, Race and Ethnicity, National and Cultural Identity

Aug 4, 2017 10:30 am

Personal finance questions elicit slightly different answers in phone surveys than online

People polled by telephone are slightly less likely than those interviewed online to say their personal finances are in “poor shape” (14% versus 20%, respectively), a Pew Research Center survey experiment has found.

The experiment, conducted in February and March, is part of a line of research at the Center looking into “mode effects” – in this case, whether findings from self-administered web surveys differ from those of interviewer-administered phone surveys.

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Topics: Research Methods, Telephone Survey Methods, Web Survey Methods

Aug 3, 2017 3:30 pm

5 key facts about U.S. lawful immigrants

Lawful immigrants account for three-quarters of the foreign-born population in the U.S. – 33.8 million people out of 44.7 million in 2015, the most recent year for which numbers were available. Among lawful immigrants, those who hold U.S. citizenship (19.8 million in 2015) outnumber lawful permanent residents (11.9 million).

The rest of the foreign-born population consists of 11 million unauthorized immigrants and 2.1 million people in the U.S. on temporary visas. The total foreign-born population, 13.4% of the U.S. population in 2015, is somewhat below the historic high of 14.8% in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the U.S.

President Donald Trump endorsed a Senate bill on Aug. 2 that would reduce the number of foreigners granted lawful permanent resident status each year by half, with the intention of decreasing immigration levels overall. The bill would change decades of policy in deciding who should receive lawful permanent resident status by shifting the emphasis on family ties to the value of job skills that applicants would bring. It would also eliminate the “diversity” category for immigrants from countries with low immigration to the U.S. and decrease refugee admissions.

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Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Population Trends, Population Geography, Asian Americans