By nature, Americans are an optimistic lot. Despite their resolutely negative opinion of economic conditions, majorities have consistently said that next year things will get better. Indeed, a Pew Research Center in-depth analysis in 2013 for the Council on Foreign Relations’ Renewing America initiative concluded that “despite the American people’s struggles with this extended period of economic difficulty, their core values and beliefs about economic opportunity, and the nation’s economic outlook, remain largely optimistic.”
Yet, the public has somewhat conflicted views about the economic prospects for the next generation. When asked about the future prospects of “children today,” Americans generally said that when today’s kids grow up, they would be worse off financially than their parents. Nearly two-in-three respondents expressed that view in a Pew Research Center survey conducted in spring 2013. It is an opinion that was shared by rich and poor, young and old, men and women. Similar if not greater pessimism was also apparent in 10 of 13 advanced nations polled by Pew Research’s Global Attitudes Project.
While this is a pretty glum judgment about what lies ahead for today’s children, Americans’ optimism resurfaces when people are asked about their own kids. In 2012, despite the hard times of recent years, a plurality (42%) said that their own children will be better off, and an additional 19% say their children will be at least as well off as they are. Just 28% percent thought their own children will be worse off than they are when they reach adulthood. Less affluent segments of the public, including women, the less well-educated, Latinos and African Americans were particularly more likely to think that their children will be better off financially than they have been. There is a partisan divide as well, with more Democrats than Republicans, and in particular, Tea Party members, expecting their children to be better off than they have been. Read More →
Some analysts say the Aereo TV case now before the U.S. Supreme Court could have disastrous consequences for local TV stations if the justices allow the company to capture broadcast programming without paying content producers. The New York Times’ David Carr warned, that in one such scenario, “companies that own large groups of local stations like the Tribune Company and the Sinclair Broadcast Group would suddenly find themselves in possession of a much diminished collection of assets.”
If that potential threat looms, it hasn’t slowed these media companies from dramatically expanding their local television holdings in recent years. A decade ago, the number of stations owned by what are now the five largest local TV companies was 190. Today, that number is 464. In 2013, alone, about 300 full-power local TV stations changed hands, at a cost of more than $8 billion. That is 195 more stations sold than in 2012 and more than four times the dollar value of the deals made in 2012.
The National Climate Assessment, issued this week by a team of government researchers, minced no words about the impacts of climate change: You’re feeling them now.
“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” said the report. “Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours…Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides…Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage.”
Category: Chart of the Week
Topics: Energy and Environment
Right after their re-elections, President Obama and George W. Bush both suffered through the first year of their second terms. Heading into this year’s midterm elections, Obama’s job approval rate may be nothing to brag about, but it is better than Bush’s was at this point in 2006 and Obama appears to be less of a drag on his party’s midterm prospects than Bush was.
Obama’s job approval rating stands at 44% while Bush’s was 35% at the same point in the 2006 midterm year, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 23-27. But Obama can look with some envy at where his Democratic predecessor — Bill Clinton — stood in his sixth year. Clinton’s approval rating was a solid 62%. Read More →
American mothers today look far different from mothers celebrated 100 years ago when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a day of reverence for mothers. Here’s what we know about today’s American moms and how they’ve changed over time.
1Who are American moms?
There are about 85 million mothers in America, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau estimate. Our analysis of census data shows that the share of mothers with kids younger than 18 at home has declined. Today, about a third (34%) of women ages 18-64 have young children at home; in 1960, 52% did. And women are having children at a later age than they used to. In 2012, the average age of a first-time mother was 25.8 years, up from 21.4 years in 1970.
The marital status of mothers has also changed dramatically. In 1960, nearly all mothers with young children were married, compared with just seven-in-ten today. About four-in-ten (41%) of all births today are to unmarried women; up from just 5% of births in 1960. Read More →
Category: 5 Facts
Millennial adults in the United States – that is, Americans ages 18 and older but born after 1980 – are more “detached from institutions,” including traditional religion, than their elders, according to a Pew Research report released earlier this year. We’ve also known for a while that younger generations are less likely to affiliate with religious groups.
Our new survey of U.S. Hispanics and religion enables us to take a more detailed look at whether the trend holds true among the country’s largest ethnic minority. And indeed, Hispanic Millennials mirror young American adults overall in their lower rates of religious affiliation and commitment compared with their older counterparts.
Similar shares of Hispanic Millennials (28%) and U.S. Millennials overall (31%) say they have no particular religion or are atheist or agnostic. By comparison, the percentages of Hispanic adults overall and American adults overall who are religiously unaffiliated are lower (18% of Hispanics, 20% of all U.S. adults).
Our new survey also finds lower levels of religious practice, by several measures, among Latino adults born since 1981. About three-in-ten (31%) say they attend religious services at least weekly, a percentage comparable to U.S. Millennials overall (29%) and lower than among Latinos overall (40%).
The Pew Research Center today released findings from a new survey in Ukraine, conducted as that country grapples with separatist movements, armed conflict and general uncertainty about the nation’s political future. Pew Research is polling in more than 40 countries this year. Fact Tank’s Drew DeSilver sat down with James Bell, Pew Research’s director of international survey research, to discuss how the center designs and implements its surveys in places like Ukraine.
Q: Many people following the news in Ukraine are likely wondering, how was Pew Research able to successfully field a survey under present conditions? Read More →
About one-in-ten mothers with a Master’s degree or more are staying at home in order to care for their family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data. Among mothers with professional degrees, such as medical degrees, law degrees or nursing degrees, 11% are relatively affluent and are out of the workforce in order to care for their families. This is true for 9% of Master’s degree holders and 6% of mothers with a Ph.D.
These so-called “opt-out moms” (roughly 10% of all highly educated mothers) make up just 1% of the nation’s 35 million mothers ages 18 to 69 who are living with their children younger than 18. For our purposes, “opt-out moms” are mothers who have at least a Master’s degree, an annual family income of $75,000 or more; a working husband; and who state that they are out of the workforce in order to care for their family.
Lisa Belkin first coined the term “opting out” in 2003, to describe highly educated, high-achieving women who seemingly chose to “opt out, ratchet back, and redefine work” after becoming mothers. Ever since then, the phenomenon of “opt-out” mothers has been a subject of much media fascination—the idea that such ambitious, professionally-successful women would put their careers aside, for the opportunity to focus exclusively on their families seemed to really strike a chord. Read More →
For more than 25 years, the Catholic Church in the United States has made a special effort to reach the Hispanic community, with programs and resources that flow from archbishops’ offices to local parishes.
In many ways, that effort has paid off. In 1970, Archbishop Patrick Flores became the first U.S. Hispanic bishop. Today, there are 26 active Hispanic bishops (roughly 10% of all active bishops) and about 450 Hispanic seminarians at the graduate level of training for the priesthood (about 14% of all seminarians at that level), according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. But the degree to which the church has succeeded in keeping Latinos in the pews is less clear.
On the one hand, the percentage of Latinos in the U.S. who are Catholic is declining, according to a major new Pew Research Center report. A majority (55%) of the nation’s estimated 35.4 million Latino adults – or about 19.6 million Latinos – identify as Catholic, but that’s down from two-thirds (67%) as recently as 2010. Today, nearly one-in-four Latino adults (24%) are now former Catholics. (We also asked about the reasons Latinos are leaving Catholicism.) Read More →
When the U.S. House of Representatives issued its first Mother’s Day resolution in 1913, it called on all federal government officials to wear a “white carnation or some other white flower” to honor the nation’s moms. But even before the Congressional proclamation of an official day, mothers have been celebrated with flowers.
Today, more Americans search for “flowers” around Mother’s Day than Valentine’s Day, according to Google Trends data for the last 10 years. While the volume of searches for “flowers” in the United States are stable through most of the year, searches peak on the Friday before Mother’s Day and on Valentine’s Day. Google’s Trends tool measures the popularity of a search term relative to all searches in the United States. Data are reported on a scale from 0 to 100.
Topics: Internet Activities