Higher share of students than tourists, business travelers overstayed deadlines to leave U.S. in 2016
A higher share of foreign students and exchange visitors than international tourists or business travelers overstayed their permission to be in the U.S. last year, according to a new Department of Homeland Security report. Overall, about 629,000 foreign visitors who were expected to leave the country in fiscal 2016 were still in the U.S. when the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, out of about 50 million arrivals by air and sea.
The scope of the government’s report for fiscal 2016 is limited: It covers 96% of foreign visitors who arrived by air and sea, but not lawful arrivals over land borders from Canada and Mexico, which account for about 250 million arrivals a year. (The agency’s first partial estimate of fiscal 2015 overstays, published last year, covered 85% of air and sea visitors and did not include those with visas for students or temporary workers and their family members. The new report includes these groups.)
The American middle class is smaller than middle classes across Western Europe, but its income is higher, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. and 11 European nations.
The median disposable (after-tax) income of middle-class households in the U.S. was $60,884 in 2010. With the exception of Luxembourg – a virtual city-state where the median income was $71,799 – the disposable incomes of middle-class households in the other 10 Western European countries in the study trailed well behind the American middle class.
In the Center’s analysis, the middle class in a country consists of adults living in households with disposable incomes ranging from two-thirds to double the country’s own median disposable household income (adjusted for household size). This definition allows middle-class incomes to vary across countries, because national incomes vary across countries.
The share of the adult population living in middle-class households in 2010 also varies by country. Among the countries examined, the middle-class share in Western Europe ranged from 64% in Spain to 80% in Denmark and Norway. By comparison, the U.S. lagged behind, with a middle-class share of 59% in 2010.
Tens of millions of registered voters did not cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election, and the share who cited a “dislike of the candidates or campaign issues” as their main reason for not participating reached a new high of 25%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new Census Bureau data.
In other recent presidential elections, the share of registered voters who said they didn’t participate because they disliked the candidates or campaign issues was considerably lower. In 2012, for example, 13% cited this as their primary reason. In pre-election polling last year, registered voters expressed far lower levels of satisfaction with their choices of candidates than in prior elections over the past several decades.
While a dislike of the candidates or issues was the most frequently cited reason for not voting, other top reasons included a lack of interest or a feeling that their vote wouldn’t make a difference (15%), being too busy or having a conflicting schedule (14%), having an illness or disability (12%) and being out of town or away from home (8%). Another 11% gave other reasons. Read More →
The confirmation battles over President Donald Trump’s nominees didn’t end when the Republican-led Senate changed its rules in early April to enable simple majorities to end filibusters on Supreme Court nominations. Nor did they end when Trump’s final Cabinet pick, Alexander Acosta, was confirmed as labor secretary later that same month. In fact, they’re still happening: Trump’s nominees for lower-level government posts have already faced the second-highest number of Senate cloture votes in a single Congress.
Less than five months into Trump’s tenure, 25 of his executive and judicial nominees have been the subjects of votes on cloture – the Senate term for limiting debate and moving a bill, nominee or other issue to a final up-or-down vote. That’s more than have occurred during the entire term of all but one Congress since 1949, when the Senate first allowed cloture to be moved on nominations, and Trump has yet to nominate people to fill hundreds of other executive-branch jobs.
The exception mentioned above – the 113th Congress of 2013-14, which held a record 150 cloture votes on nominations by newly re-elected President Barack Obama – illuminates how the politics of presidential nominations have changed dramatically in the past few decades.
Despite subscription surges for largest U.S. newspapers, circulation and revenue fall for industry overall
Following last year’s presidential election, some major U.S. newspapers reported a sharp jump in digital subscriptions, giving a boost to their overall circulation totals. The newspaper industry as a whole, however, faced ongoing challenges in 2016, according to new Pew Research Center analysis.
Yearly financial statements show that The New York Times added more than 500,000 digital subscriptions in 2016 – a 47% year-over-year rise. The Wall Street Journal added more than 150,000 digital subscriptions, a 23% rise, according to audited statements produced by Dow Jones. And the Chicago Tribune added about 100,000 in weekday digital circulation, a 76% year-over-year gain, according to its filings with the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), an organization that verifies many daily newspapers’ circulation figures.
But these gains did not translate into circulation growth for the industry overall. A Pew Research Center analysis of data from AAM shows that total weekday circulation for U.S. daily newspapers – both print and digital – fell 8% in 2016, marking the 28th consecutive year of declines. (Sunday circulation also fell 8%.) The overall decline includes a 10% decrease in weekday print circulation (9% for Sundays) and a 1% decline in weekday digital circulation (1% rise for Sundays). Total weekday circulation for U.S. daily newspapers fell to 35 million, while total Sunday circulation declined to 38 million – the lowest levels since 1945. (For more information on how these totals were calculated, see our fact sheet.)
Russia and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe have experienced a resurgence of Orthodox Christian identity since the fall of the Soviet Union, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 18 countries in the region. This increase in religious identity is accompanied in large part by high levels of religious belief, such as belief in God.
But Orthodox Christians in this region do not display high levels of religious practice, such as regularly attending church. To use terminology popularized by British sociologist Grace Davie, they might be described as religiously “believing and belonging without behaving.”
Orthodox Christians make up an estimated 57% of Central and Eastern Europe’s total population, including large majorities in 10 of the 18 countries surveyed, from Russia to Serbia to Greece. Not only do large shares of Orthodox Christians in these countries say religion is an important part of their identity, they also embrace many of Orthodoxy’s core beliefs. (Indeed, the word “orthodoxy” is derived from the Greek word for “doctrine” or “belief.”)
U.S. veterans, who broadly supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election, have remained positive about the job he is doing as president. In April, 54% of those who have served in the military approved of his job performance. Trump’s job approval among the overall public was just 39%, according to the same survey, which was conducted using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.
Both younger and older veterans gave higher approval ratings for Trump than did younger and older adults overall. Nearly half of veterans ages 18 to 49 (46%) approved of Trump’s job performance, compared with only 31% of all adults younger than 50. Among those 50 and older, nearly six-in-ten veterans (58%) supported Trump, while about half of all older adults (49%) said the same.
The same pattern held for level of educational attainment. Approval of Trump was higher among both college-educated veterans and those with no college degree than it was for these groups among the public as a whole. Read More →
President Donald Trump’s first budget request to Congress would make deep cuts to government programs, including Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income adults and children. Recent polls have found little public support for cuts to Medicaid, but that may not be a surprise: Americans tend not to favor budget cuts when asked about specific areas being affected.
In April, only 12% of U.S. adults said they wanted to see the president and Congress decrease spending for Medicaid, according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Four-in-ten said they preferred to increase Medicaid spending, while 47% said they wanted funding levels to be kept about the same.
A March survey by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research produced similar results. About two-in-ten adults (21%) said they favored reducing federal funding for the program, including 10% who held that view strongly. By comparison, 64% said they opposed reducing funding, including 45% who strongly opposed it. (Another 14% said they neither favored nor opposed cutting Medicaid spending.)
Public reluctance to cut federal funding is not limited to Medicaid. In an April Pew Research Center survey, majorities in both political parties said they favored maintaining or increasing spending in nearly all of the 14 specific budget areas that respondents were asked about. The sole area in which a majority of either party favored decreasing spending was “economic assistance to needy people around the world.” Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 56% said they would reduce such funding. Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, the share who said this was 13%.
For the first time, more than half of all households in the U.S. contain a cellphone but not a landline telephone, according to a new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The growing prevalence of cellphones comes as the typical American household now contains a wide range of connected devices.
Some 84% of American households contain at least one smartphone, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in fall 2016. Desktop and laptop computers are nearly as common – 80% of households contain at least one of these devices. Tablet computer ownership is somewhat less widespread, with 68% of households containing at least one tablet. And 39% of households contain at least one streaming media device, such as an Apple TV, Roku or Google Chromecast.
Many American households have multiple devices – especially smartphones. A third of American households have three or more smartphones, compared with 23% that have three or more desktops, 17% that have three or more tablets and only 7% that have three or more streaming media devices.
The number of refugees entering the United States each month has declined sharply so far in fiscal 2017, falling from 9,945 in October 2016 to 3,316 in April 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. All but four states reported declines in monthly arrivals.
Nationwide, the number of refugee arrivals decreased in each of the first five months of the fiscal year, the longest consecutive monthly decline on record (monthly data before 2000 are not available). In April, however, the number of arriving refugees rose to 3,316, compared with 2,070 in March. Read More →