Jan 7, 2015 12:03 pm

Pew Research will call more cellphones in 2015

The number of Americans who rely only on a cellphone for their telephone service continues to grow. Fully 43% of U.S. adults live in a household with a cellphone and no landline phone, according to new government data for the first half of 2014. That’s up four percentage points from just six months earlier. According to an extrapolation by Pew Research Center, an estimated 46.5% of adults are cell-only today.

To keep pace with this rapid trend, the Pew Research Center will increase the percentage of respondents interviewed on cellphones in its typical national telephone surveys to 65%; 35% of interviews will be conducted by landline. Last year, we increased the ratio to 60% cellphone, with 40% conducted on landline. Back in 2008, when we first started routinely including cellphones in our phone surveys, just one-fourth (25%) of all interviews were done by cellphone.

Cell-Only Households Increase in NumberOur goal in making this change is to ensure that all adults are adequately represented in Pew Research Center surveys. Although cellphone-only households are very common today, there are sizeable demographic differences between people living in cell-only households and those with landlines.

For example, young adults, Hispanics, renters and the poor (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau’s poverty thresholds) are all far more likely to be cell-only. To the extent that cell-only households are underrepresented in our samples, these groups are also underrepresented. In a typical Pew Research Center national telephone survey, a little more than half of respondents interviewed on a cellphone report that they have no landline telephone; consequently, the share of all respondents who are cell-only depends heavily on how many total cellphone interviews are conducted. By raising the share of all interviews conducted on a cell phone to 65%, we expect that about 37% of our total sample will be cell-only – still short of the target of 46.5%, but closer.

The question naturally arises: Why not interview everyone on a cellphone? In fact, at least one major national survey is going to do just that. The Surveys of Consumers, conducted by the University of Michigan, will begin calling only cellphones this month. Read More

Topics: Research Methodology, Technology Adoption

Jan 7, 2015 7:00 am

GOP Congress takes over amid public pessimism about an end to divisions

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner
(AP Photo, File)

As Republicans take control of both chambers of Congress for the first time since 2006, their leaders, like new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have been promising to become more productive, especially in advance of the 2016 presidential elections. But after years of fierce partisan warfare, Americans are deeply skeptical that more will get done in Washington.

About three-quarters (76%) of those who cited a top national problem said they did not think progress would be made by President Obama and GOP leaders to address the problem they mentioned, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in early December 2014.

And there, at least, was one point of partisan agreement. That dim view was shared by 78% of Republicans, 71% of Democrats and 80% of independents.

Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Congress, Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties

Jan 5, 2015 11:12 am

Religious affiliations of members of Congress mirror regional trends

Religious affiliation of members of the 114th Congress

People often elect politicians who are like them. Indeed, a regional comparison of members of Congress with the general public shows that, when it comes to religious affiliation, representatives often share their faith with many of their constituents.

Across the four major U.S. regions (as determined by the Census Bureau), there are correlations between the share of the general public affiliated with certain religious groups and the percentage of members of the House and Senate with the same affiliation, a new Pew Research Center analysis finds. And in some cases where a region has a clear majority or a larger-than-average share belonging to one group, the result is an even larger share of members of that group in Congress. Read More

Topics: Religion and Government, Religious Affiliation

Dec 31, 2014 10:00 am

What will digital life look like in 2025? Highlights from our reports

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the creation of the internet, making it a good time to look at how the internet had changed lives and what opportunities, challenges and dangers the coming years might bring. To do that, the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center posed a battery of questions to nearly 3,000 internet experts and scholars, centering on where things would stand by the year 2025 as technology and society kept evolving. Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Future of the Internet, Internet Activities

Dec 31, 2014 7:00 am

Post-election blues? Democrats’ expectations for 2015 take a dive

Americans, especially Democrats, less optimistic about 2015The public remains deeply dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country. Just 26% are satisfied with national conditions, while 71% are dissatisfied. And Americans have muted expectations for the year to come: 49% say they think 2015 will be a better year than 2014, while 42% think it will be worse, according to a survey conducted earlier this month. The current ratings are more pessimistic than in recent years, as the public generally takes an optimistic view of the year to come.

A year ago, 56% thought 2014 would be a better year than the last, compared with fewer (35%) who thought it would be worse. Read More

Topics: Political Party Affiliation, U.S. Political Parties

Dec 30, 2014 11:49 am

U.S. border apprehensions of Mexicans fall to historic lows

For the first time on record, more non-Mexicans than Mexicans were apprehended at U.S. borders in 2014 by the Border Patrol, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of more than 60 years of Border Patrol data. This shift is another sign that unauthorized immigrants from Mexico are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border significantly less often than they did before the Great Recession.

U.S. Border apprehensions of Mexicans fall to historic lowsAbout 229,000 Mexicans were apprehended by the Border Patrol in fiscal year 2014 compared with 257,000 non-Mexicans during the previous year, according to recently published Border Patrol data. Taken together, total apprehensions of Mexican and non-Mexican unauthorized immigrants (more than 486,000) were up 16% over the previous year.

These numbers are dramatically different than in 2007 when Mexican apprehensions totaled 809,000, compared with just 68,000 non-Mexicans. The number of Mexican immigrants apprehended at the border peaked at 1.6 million in 2000, the Pew Research analysis showed. The last time Mexican apprehensions were as low as they are now was in 1970 when 219,000 Mexicans were apprehended. In 1970, non-Mexican apprehensions totaled just 12,000.

Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Mexico, Unauthorized Immigration

Dec 30, 2014 7:00 am

Who’s having a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ day around the world

Typical Days Common in Europe; Good Days in Africa, Latin America and U.S.How would you describe your day today? Has it been a typical day, a particularly good day, or a particularly bad day?

As part of the Pew Research Center’s annual Global Attitudes survey, this question is usually the first we pose to respondents in all the countries we survey. One reason we ask such a milquetoast question first is to help the respondents become more comfortable with the interviewer. The vast majority of the polls we conduct are done with face-to-face interviews in the respondent’s home, and asking about their day is one way to kick off the conversation.

Having said that, the question is not necessarily a throwaway. Looking at the responses we received this year from 48,643 people we surveyed in 44 countries provides a glimpse of the mood of individual nations and even regions of the world.

A median of nearly two-thirds (65%) across the countries surveyed in spring 2014 responded that they were having a typical day. Only around a quarter (27%) said their day was going particularly well, and not even one-in-ten (7%) admitted their day was going poorly.

Read More

Topics: Research Methodology

Dec 29, 2014 11:42 am

Our favorite Pew Research Center data visualizations from 2014

The heart of our work at the Pew Research Center is data. And data visualizations that tell clear stories about our research — whether it be about American politics or our changing demographics — are just as important as the words we write in a report. So, what makes a successful data visual? We think it should present information clearly and concisely, engage the reader and allow them to explore that information (Hat-tip to Alberto Cairo’s Functional Art; we’re also big fans of Dona Wong’s Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics).

This year, the design staff looked back through our 2014 archive, and these graphics stood out as almost universal favorites. These visualizations presented a particular challenge and, for each of them, we talk about the approach we took in presenting the data. Read More

Topics: Research Methodology

Dec 29, 2014 7:00 am

In late spurt of activity, Congress avoids ‘least productive’ title

laws passed by recent congressesWith the 113th Congress now in the history books, we conducted a final tally of our nation’s legislative productivity — in terms of both total laws passed and of substance. Our calculation finds that the 113th just barely avoided the dubious title of “least productive Congress in modern history.” But that’s only because of an exceptionally active lame duck session.

In all, the expiring Congress enacted 296 laws, 13 more than the 2011-12 Congress. Of those, we categorized 212 as substantive by our deliberately generous criteria (that is, anything besides building renamings, commemorative-coin issuances and other purely ceremonial laws); that was four more than the previous Congress. Read More

Topics: Congress

Dec 23, 2014 3:04 pm

As Cuban American demographics change, so do views of Cuba

President Obama’s new policy on Cuba opens the door to establish ties with the country for the first time in a half century. But this change comes as the Cuban American population itself is changing—in its demographics, views of U.S.-Cuba policy, and its politics.

Cuban Immigration Waves, 1950 to 2013The nation’s Cuban American population numbers 2 million, up from 1.2 million in 2000. Much of that growth has come from Cuban Americans born in the U.S., leading to a decline in the share born in Cuba from 68% in 2000 down to 57% in 2013.

At the same time, a new, more recent wave of Cuban immigrants has arrived in the U.S. Since 1990, more than 500,000 Cuban immigrants have entered the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. That has altered the demographics of those born in Cuba as the older generation of Cuban exiles passes away. In 2013, more than half (56%) of Cuban immigrants had arrived since 1990, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

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Topics: Barack Obama, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Vote, Latin America