Apr 20, 2016 7:00 am

What different styles of head coverings say about Israeli Jewish men

What you wear can say a lot about who you are and what you believe. In Israel, for instance, the type of kippa – or lack thereof – worn by an Israeli Jewish man often is strongly correlated with his religious identity as well as some political views.

These skullcaps (also known by their Yiddish name, yarmulkes), are regularly worn by about one-third of Israel’s Jewish men, especially the religiously observant. They come in several basic styles, with some more favored by particular Jewish subgroups than others.

What different types of kippot say about Israeli Jewish men

Among Israeli men who say they usually wear a large black fabric kippa, a majority identify as Haredi (also known as ultra-Orthodox) Jews (58%). By contrast, most of those who wear a black crocheted or knitted kippa (59%) say they are Masorti (“traditional”) Jews. And small black fabric kippot (the plural of kippa) as well as colored or patterned crocheted kippot are particularly common among Dati (“religious,” sometimes called “modern Orthodox”) Jews. Read More

Topics: Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Apr 19, 2016 11:55 am

Most U.S. Catholics rely heavily on their own conscience for moral guidance

Few Catholics rely on pope for moral guidanceDespite Pope Francis’ overwhelming popularity, only about one-in-ten American Catholics say they turn to the pope “a great deal” for guidance on difficult moral questions, according to a Pew Research Center survey on religion in everyday life.

Rather, most Catholics say they look inward for guidance in their lives. Roughly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics (73%) say they rely “a great deal” on their own conscience when facing difficult moral problems, compared with 21% who look to the Catholic Church’s teachings, 15% who turn to the Bible and 11% who say they rely a great deal on the pope.

Catholics, both highly religious and not, rely on their own conscience for moral guidancePerhaps not surprisingly, Catholics who are highly religious (defined in our survey as those who say they pray daily and attend religious services at least once a week) are considerably more likely than other Catholics to seek guidance from church teachings, the Bible and the pope. Still, no more than half of highly religious Catholics give great weight to any of these sources of guidance, while 74% say they rely a great deal on their conscience.

Relying on one’s own conscience doesn’t necessarily indicate a conflict with church teachings. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasizes that “a well-formed conscience is upright and truthful” and that “[t]he education of the conscience is a lifelong task.” According to the Catechism, the “Word of God” (i.e., the Bible) and the “authoritative teaching of the Church” should guide the formation and education of the conscience. And Pope Francis’ recent proclamation, “Amoris Laetitia,” makes several references to the importance of Catholics’ individual consciences in issues related to family life. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religious Leaders

Apr 19, 2016 10:29 am

5 ways Americans and Europeans are different

Americans and Europeans share many things: a commitment to fundamental democratic principles, a strategic alliance that has shaped the world order for more than half a century, and despite serious economic challenges in recent years, some of the highest living standards in the world. Still, there are notable differences across the Atlantic. As our polling has found over the years, Americans and Europeans often have different perspectives on individualism, the role of government, free expression, religion and morality.

Americans stand out on individualism

1Americans are more likely to believe they control their own destiny. In a 2014 survey, 57% of Americans disagreed with the statement “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control,” a higher percentage than in any of the European nations polled. (At the same time, it’s worth noting that on this and other questions there are differences within Europe too. For example, on this question, the United Kingdom looks a lot like the United States.) Americans are also especially likely to believe that an individual who works hard can find success: 73% said hard work is very important for getting ahead in life compared to a European median of 35%.
Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Europe, Free Speech, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and Society, Social Values

Apr 18, 2016 12:15 pm

What the world thinks about climate change in 7 charts

On April 22, leaders and representatives from more than 150 countries will gather at the United Nations to sign the global climate change agreement reached in Paris in December. Pew Research Center’s spring 2015 survey found that people around the world are concerned about climate change and want their governments to take action. Here are seven key findings from the poll:

1Majorities in all 40 nations polled say climate change is a serious problem, and a global median of 54% believe it is a very serious problem. Still, the intensity of concern varies substantially across regions and nations. Latin Americans and sub-Saharan Africans are particularly worried about climate change. Americans and Chinese, whose countries have the highest overall carbon dioxide emissions, are less concerned.

2People in countries with high per-capita levels of carbon emissions are less intensely concerned about climate change. Among the nations we surveyed, the U.S. has the highest carbon emissions per capita, but it is among the least concerned about climate change and its potential impact. Others in this category are Australia, Canada and Russia. Publics in Africa, Latin America and Asia, many of which have very low emissions per capita, are frequently the most concerned about the negative effects of climate change. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Energy and Environment, International Governments and Institutions

Apr 15, 2016 9:55 am

Many Americans don’t argue about religion – or even talk about it

Half of U.S. adults seldom or never discuss religion with non-familyAccording to Miss Manners, polite people do not bring up religion in social conversations. Of course, if Americans stayed away from all the topics the etiquette columnist deems taboo in polite company – including politics, money, sex, illness and what people are wearing – a lot of dinners would pass by in silence.

But, judging by the results of our recently released survey on religion in everyday life, religion does indeed seem to be a subject many people avoid. About half of U.S. adults tell us they seldom (33%) or never (16%) talk about religion with people outside their family. And roughly four-in-ten say they seldom (26%) or never (13%) discuss religion even with members of their immediate family. Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Apr 15, 2016 7:00 am

Americans’ views of immigrants marked by widening partisan, generational divides

Wide partisan gap in views of immigrants' impact on U.S.Republicans and Democrats continue to disagree deeply over immigration policies, including how to deal with undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and whether to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Underlying these differences is a substantial – and growing – partisan divide over whether immigrants generally are a strength or burden on the country.

For more than 20 years, Pew Research Center has been asking whether immigrants in the U.S. “strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents,” or whether they “are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care.”

In that time period, opinions about immigrants have shifted dramatically. In our latest national political survey, released in March, 59% of the public say immigrants strengthen the country, while 33% describe them as a burden. In 1994, opinions were nearly the reverse: 63% said immigrants were a burden and 31% said they strengthened the country.

Between 1994 and 2005, Republicans’ and Democrats’ views of immigrants tracked one another closely. Beginning around 2006, however, they began to diverge. In October that year, the partisan gap between Republicans and Democrats grew to 15 percentage points. Since then, the share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying that immigrants strengthen the country steadily increased, from 49% then to 78% now, while the share with this view among Republicans and Republican leaners has shown little change (34% then, 35% today). Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Immigration, Immigration Attitudes, Political Attitudes and Values, Unauthorized Immigration

Apr 14, 2016 12:00 pm

Candidates who don’t win on first convention ballot usually go on to lose

The floor of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago is jammed with cheering delegates on July 24,1952, after the name of Gov. Adlai Stevenson is placed in nomination for the presidency. Photo: AP
Cheering delegates jam the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on July 24, 1952, after Gov. Adlai Stevenson’s name is placed in nomination for the presidency. It was the last major-party convention to go more than one ballot. (AP Photo)

Republicans opposed to Donald Trump as their party’s nominee are pinning most of their hopes on stopping him at this summer’s national convention in Cleveland. Although Trump has more delegates than his two remaining rivals (760 or so by our count), he needs at least 1,237 to win the nomination on the first ballot. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are hoping to win enough delegates in the remaining primaries to keep Trump from reaching that magic number. After the first ballot, the thinking goes, most delegates become “unbound” and can vote for other candidates. They could even draft a completely new candidate (though House Speaker Paul Ryan, a frequently mentioned “dark horse” alternative, ruled himself out earlier this week).

If all that sounds a bit like a Hail Mary pass, bear in mind that these situations have happened before. Not recently, mind you (the last time was at the 1952 Democratic convention), but they have happened. Since the Civil War there have been eight Republican and 10 Democratic conventions that took more than one ballot to pick a nominee. In only seven of those 18 instances did the first-ballot leader win the nomination.

Bearing in mind that until the 1970s most convention delegates were chosen by party insiders rather than in primaries, here’s a look back at the cases in which someone came from behind to win the nomination from the first-ballot leader. They illustrate the machinations, sudden shifts in momentum and general unpredictability of contested conventions. (By the way, only four of these 11 men ended up winning the presidency, the last one more than a century ago.) Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Elections and Campaigns, U.S. Political Figures, U.S. Political Parties, Voting Issues

Apr 14, 2016 10:00 am

Apprehensions of Mexican migrants at U.S. borders reach near-historic low

The number of Mexican migrants apprehended at U.S. borders in fiscal 2015 dropped to the lowest levels in nearly 50 years, according to U.S. Border Patrol data. This change comes after a period in which net migration of Mexicans to the U.S. had fallen to lows not seen since the 1940s.

This decline in apprehensions coincides with recently released estimates by Mexico’s top statistical agency, which show that the rate at which Mexicans migrated to the U.S. and other countries – including both legal and unauthorized immigrants – has held steady for the past five years, after a dramatic drop during the Great Recession.

Apprehensions of Mexicans at U.S. borders fall to near historic lows in 2015Apprehensions of Mexican migrants declined to near-historic lows last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2015, according to data released earlier in the year by the U.S. Border Patrol. (U.S. border apprehension data are commonly used as an indicator of the flows of migrants entering the U.S. illegally, though they are only a partial measure.) In fiscal 2015, the Border Patrol made 188,122 apprehensions of Mexican migrants at U.S. borders, an 18% decline from the previous year – and the lowest number of apprehensions on record since 1969, when there were 159,376 apprehensions. The decline suggests unauthorized immigration flows from Mexico could be falling. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Latin America, Mexico, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration

Apr 13, 2016 9:25 am

High-income Americans pay most income taxes, but enough to be ‘fair’?

Corporations paying fewer taxes

Tax-deadline season isn’t many people’s favorite time of the year, but most Americans are OK with the amount of tax they pay. It’s what other people pay, or don’t pay, that bothers them.

Just over half (54%) of Americans surveyed in fall by Pew Research Center said they pay about the right amount in taxes considering what they get from the federal government, versus 40% who said they pay more than their fair share. But in a separate 2015 survey by the Center, some six-in-ten Americans said they were bothered a lot by the feeling that “some wealthy people” and “some corporations” don’t pay their fair share. Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Economics and Personal Finances, Taxes

Apr 13, 2016 7:00 am

Americans divided on how much they trust their neighbors

Whites, seniors, wealthy among those most likely to trust their neighborsGood neighbors can be a blessing, whether they’re people you can trust to water the plants or watch the kids. But building that trust can be hard: Just half of Americans (52%) say they trust all or most of their neighbors, while a similar share (48%) say they trust some or none of their neighbors, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey.

Not surprisingly, those who say they feel unsafe in their neighborhoods are less likely to trust their neighbors. Just 17% of respondents who feel “not at all safe” from crime when walking in their neighborhoods after dark say they trust all or most of their neighbors, compared with 71% of those who feel “very safe.” Urban residents – who are less likely than suburban or rural residents to say they feel very safe in their neighborhoods – are also less likely to say they trust all or most of their neighbors.

The demographic differences on neighborly trust are largely related to economic class, at a time of rising residential segregation by income. Our survey finds that Americans who can afford to live in more affluent neighborhoods are generally more trusting of their neighbors: 67% of those with household incomes of $75,000 or more say they trust all or most of their neighbors, compared with just 37% of those earning less than $30,000 per year. Read More

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Social Values, Socioeconomic Class, Violence and Society