Jan 18, 2017 1:31 pm

U.S. Catholics, non-Catholics continue to view Pope Francis favorably

Some world leaders begin their tenures with high favorability ratings – only to see their popularity fall over time. But, in the U.S., Pope Francis remains as popular as ever, with seven-in-ten Americans saying their opinion of the pontiff is “very” or “mostly” favorable, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

When Francis began his papacy in March of 2013, 57% of Americans held a favorable view of him, while 14% held an unfavorable view and 29% couldn’t give him a rating. Now, seven-in-ten Americans express a favorable view of Francis, while 19% express an unfavorable opinion and just 11% say they don’t know enough to be able to rate the pontiff.  Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Religious Leaders

Jan 18, 2017 12:31 pm

Fewer Americans plan to watch inauguration this year than in 2009

About half of Americans (46%) say they plan to watch as Donald Trump takes the presidential oath of office on Friday, while 51% say they do not intend to watch the inauguration.

Interest in Trump’s inaugural is lower than for Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, when two-thirds of Americans (67%) said they were planning to watch. It is also lower than for Bill Clinton’s first inaugural in 1993, when 57% said they intended to watch. (The question was not asked when George W. Bush took office in 2001.)

There is a wide partisan gap over plans to watch the inauguration, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted Jan. 4-9 among 1,502 adults. About seven-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (69%) say they will watch the event, compared with just 30% of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

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Topics: 2016 Election, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Figures, U.S. Political Parties

Jan 18, 2017 6:53 am

U.S. still has a ways to go in meeting Obama’s goal of producing more college grads

In his first address to a joint session of Congress in February 2009, President Barack Obama said that, by 2020, America should “once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” The White House and U.S. Department of Education indicated that the president’s goal would be met if 60% of 25- to 34-year-olds had completed at least an associate degree by 2020.

Based on the conventional statistics used to gauge educational attainment, the nation has made some progress toward this 2020 goal during the Obama years. In March 2009, 41% of 25- to 34-year-olds had completed at least an associate degree. By March 2016, 48% of young adults had done so.

Still, as Obama’s time in office nears its end, the U.S. remains 12 percentage points short of the goal. More progress will need to be made over the next four years than has been made over the past seven if the 2020 goal is to be reached.  Read More

Topics: College, Education, Educational Attainment, Gender, Political Issue Priorities, Race and Ethnicity

Jan 17, 2017 10:02 am

Female police officers’ on-the-job experiences diverge from those of male officers

A New York Police Department officer near Ground Zero in Manhattan in 2011. (iStock.com)
New York Police Department officers near Ground Zero in Manhattan in 2011. (iStock.com)

In recent decades, women have accounted for a growing share of America’s police officers, but this growth has been relatively slow and women remain underrepresented in the field. They also sometimes differ sharply from male officers in their views of policing and their experiences, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform.

Women accounted for 12% of full-time local police officers in 2013 (the latest data available) – up from 8% in 1987, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Women made up even smaller shares in department leadership: About one-in-ten supervisors or managers and just 3% of local police chiefs were women in 2013.

The nationwide survey of 7,917 police officers in departments with at least 100 officers finds that many female officers think men in their department are treated better than women when it comes to assignments and promotions. About four-in-ten female officers (43%) say this is the case, compared with just 6% of male officers. By contrast, a third of male officers say women are treated better than men when it comes to assignments and promotions in their department – but just 6% of women say this is the case. Six-in-ten male officers and half of female officers say men and women are treated about the same.  Read More

Topics: Criminal Justice, Gender, Violence and Society, Work and Employment

Jan 13, 2017 3:25 pm

Surge in Cuban immigration to U.S. continued through 2016

The number of Cubans entering the U.S. has spiked dramatically since President Barack Obama announced a renewal of ties with the island nation in late 2014, a Pew Research Center analysis of government data shows. The U.S. has since opened an embassy in Havana, a move supported by a large majority of Americans, and public support is growing for ending the trade embargo with Cuba.

On Thursday, the White House announced its latest step in policy toward Cuba by ending a long-standing policy that treated Cubans seeking to enter the U.S. differently from other immigrants. Under the old policy, Cubans hoping to legally live in the U.S. needed only to show up at a port of entry and pass an inspection, which included a check of criminal and immigration history in the U.S. After a year in the country, they were allowed to apply for legal permanent residence. The new policy makes Cubans who attempt to enter the U.S. without a visa subject to removal, whether they arrive by sea or port of entry.

Overall, 56,406 Cubans entered the U.S. via ports of entry in fiscal year 2016, up 31% from fiscal 2015 when 43,159 Cubans entered the same way, according to the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Fiscal 2015 saw an even larger surge, as Cuban entries jumped 78% over 2014, when 24,278 Cubans entered the U.S. And those 2014 numbers had already increased dramatically from previous years after the Cuban government lifted travel restrictions that year. Read More

Topics: Bilateral Relations, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Latin America, Migration

Jan 13, 2017 12:30 pm

More Americans say government should ensure health care coverage

As the debate continues over repeal of the Affordable Care Act and what might replace it, a growing share of Americans believe that the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Currently, 60% of Americans say the government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, compared with 38% who say this should not be the government’s responsibility. The share saying it is the government’s responsibility has increased from 51% last year and now stands at its highest point in nearly a decade.

Just as there are wide differences between Republicans and Democrats about the 2010 health care law, the survey also finds partisan differences in views on whether it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. More than eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (85%) say the federal government should be responsible for health care coverage, compared with just 32% of Republicans and Republican leaners.  Read More

Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Federal Government, Health Care

Jan 13, 2017 7:29 am

Republicans more likely than Democrats to have confidence in police

The deep partisan divide that pervades much of American life extends to views about the police, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. Republicans and Democrats have vastly different opinions about how well police do their jobs and the realities of policing today – views that are likely linked to clear partisan splits on opinions of the Black Lives Matter movement and highly publicized fatal encounters between blacks and police in recent years.

About three-quarters of Republicans say that police around the country are doing an excellent or good job when it comes to treating racial and ethnic groups equally, using the right amount of force for each situation and holding officers accountable when misconduct occurs. Only about a quarter of Democrats agree. When it comes to protecting people from crime, 79% of Republicans say police are doing an excellent or good job, compared with 53% of Democrats. Independents fall between Republicans and Democrats on these questions.  Read More

Topics: Criminal Justice, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Party Affiliation, Race and Ethnicity, Work and Employment

Jan 12, 2017 12:03 pm

Black and white officers see many key aspects of policing differently

Black and white police officers have strikingly different views on a number of important issues related to their jobs, including recent fatal encounters between law enforcement and black citizens and the protests that those encounters have sparked, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. On some subjects, racial differences among the police are considerably more pronounced than they are among the public as a whole.

Black officers are about twice as likely as white officers (57% vs. 27%) to say that recent deaths of blacks during encounters with police are signs of a broader problem and not isolated incidents, according to the survey of nearly 8,000 sworn officers working in departments of 100 officers or more, which was conducted on behalf of the Center by the National Police Research Platform. The general public is also divided by race on this question, but majorities of both blacks (79%) and whites (54%) say recent fatal encounters are part of a broader problem and aren’t isolated incidents.  Read More

Topics: Criminal Justice, Race and Ethnicity, Violence and Society, Work and Employment

Jan 12, 2017 10:01 am

Record shares of Americans now own smartphones, have home broadband

Nearly nine-in-ten Americans today are online, up from about half in the early 2000s. Pew Research Center has chronicled this trend and others through more than 15 years of surveys on internet and technology use. On Thursday, we released a new set of fact sheets that will be updated as we collect new data and can serve as a one-stop shop for anyone looking for information on key trends in digital technology.

To mark the occasion, here are four key trends illustrating the current technology landscape in the U.S.

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Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Future of the Internet, Internet Activities, Mobile, Social Media, Technology Adoption

Jan 11, 2017 12:00 pm

About one-fifth of adults globally have no formal schooling

In many parts of the world, particularly in poorer countries, attainment of even the most basic education is still far from universal. Indeed, roughly one-in-five adults (19%) around the globe have no formal schooling at all, according to a recent Pew Research Center report on education that also studied its relationship to religion.

While virtually all adults in Europe (98%) and English-speaking North America (99%) have at least some education, four-in-ten in the Middle East and North Africa (41%) and in sub-Saharan Africa (41%) have not completed even a year of primary school.

In the Asia-Pacific, the world’s most populous region, 22% of adults have no schooling. And in Latin America and the Caribbean, one-in-ten have no education.  Read More

Topics: Education, Educational Attainment, Europe, Gender, Generations and Age, Middle East and North Africa, North America, Religion and Society, Sub-Saharan Africa