Mar 22, 2016 1:01 pm

Women generally are more religious than men, but not everywhere

A new Pew Research Center analysis of international census and survey data finds that there is a religion gender gap: Women generally are more religious than men by several key measures of religious commitment, although this pattern is not universal and can vary by religious tradition.

Overall, women are more likely than men to be affiliated with a religious organization; women also pray more and are more inclined to say religion is “very important” in their lives. These findings come from survey data collected by Pew Research Center in up to 84 countries that compare men and women in several different aspects of religious commitment.

However, the report also finds that in some countries and faiths, men are more religious than women, at least by some measures. For instance, among Muslims and Orthodox Jews, men are more likely than women to attend worship services at least weekly, the new study finds.

Women are more likely than men to pray daily in many countries Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Gender, Jews and Judaism, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Mar 21, 2016 7:00 am

5 facts about Israeli Druze, a unique religious and ethnic group

Israeli Druze demonstration
Israeli Druze wave their community’s flags during a demonstration on June 14, 2015, in reaction to a shoot-out in northwest Idlib province in Syria that killed members of the Druze minority. (Photo credit: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images)

Like a number of other ethnic groups in the Middle East, such as the Kurds, the Druze live in several different countries, separated by borders drawn after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1920s. But unlike the Kurds, who are largely Muslim, the Druze are a unique religious and ethnic group. Their tradition dates back to the 11th century and incorporates elements of Islam, Hinduism and even classical Greek philosophy.

Today, 1 million-plus members of this community live primarily in Syria and Lebanon and, to a lesser extent, in Israel and Jordan. In Israel, the Druze are a close-knit community active in public life, according to a new Pew Research Center study of Israel. They make up roughly 2% of the country’s population and most live in the northern regions of the Galilee, Carmel and the Golan Heights.

Here are five facts about Druze in Israel:

1Israeli DruzeNine-in-ten Israeli Druze say they have a strong sense of belonging to the Druze community and about the same number (93%) say they are proud to be Druze. Roughly two-thirds say they have a special responsibility to take care of Druze in need around the world. About seven-in-ten Druze (72%) say their religious identity is very important to them. But when asked if their Druze identity is mainly a matter of religion, culture or ancestry – or a combination of these elements – roughly eight-in-ten say being Druze is either essentially about ancestry or culture (33%) or a combination of religion and ancestry/culture (47%). Only about one-in-five say being Druze is primarily a matter of religion (18%). By comparison, more Israeli Christians (31%) and Israeli Muslims (45%) say being Christian/Muslim is mainly a matter of religion to them. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Demographics, Middle East and North Africa, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation

Mar 18, 2016 11:59 am

5 facts about U.S. relations with Cuba

President Barack Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge did so in 1928, marking a historic moment in the diplomatic relations between the two countries. The renewal of diplomatic and economic ties has drawn widespread support in the U.S., but significant partisan differences on the future of the relationship between the two countries remain.

Here are five facts about the relationship between the United States and Cuba:

1A majority of Americans support the renewal of diplomatic relations with Cuba. A Pew Research Center survey from July 2015 found that 73% of Americans approved of the thaw in relations between the two countries. A similar share also said they would favor ending the trade embargo the U.S. imposed against Cuba in 1960. Support for renewed diplomatic and economic relations had increased across nearly all partisan groups since January 2015, the month after Obama announced his initiative. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Bilateral Relations, Globalization and Trade, Immigration Trends, Latin America

Mar 18, 2016 10:10 am

5 facts about Twitter at age 10

The very first Twitter message was sent on March 21, 2006. The microblogging platform was then known as twttr – the vowels came later, after the founders bought the twitter.com domain name. It spent its first few months as an internal messaging system for Odeo, the company that developed it, then was opened to the general public in July 2006.

Today, millions of people around the world use Twitter to break and comment on news, disseminate official pronouncements, organize campaigns and protests, or just let their friends know what’s on their minds. Here are five facts about Twitter at age 10:

FT_16.03.17_twitter_globalUsers1Twitter’s user base has grown rapidly but may be plateauing. Twitter averaged 320 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the fourth quarter of 2015, 9.6% more than in the same quarter a year earlier, according to the company’s financial disclosure statements. That’s Twitter’s slowest annualized growth rate since at least 2011, when comparable data began to be publicly disclosed. Domestic, international and total MAUs were all flat or slightly down compared with the third quarter. (The company defines an MAU as anyone who accessed the service at least once in the past 30 days.) Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Internet Activities, Social Media, Social Networking

Mar 18, 2016 7:00 am

Illegal migration to EU rises for routes both well-worn and less-traveled

Illegal migration to Europe surges in 2015The number of illegal entries into Europe by migrants hit a high point last year, and as their numbers increased, a picture emerged of the land and sea routes many migrants are taking to get there.

In 2015, more than 1.8 million people crossed the European Union’s borders illegally, according to Frontex, the agency responsible for coordinating the security of the EU’s external land and sea borders. This was up substantially from 2014 (with about 280,000 detections of illegal border crossings) and 2013 (about 100,000 detections). In fact, 2015 saw the most illegal entries into the EU since Frontex began collecting data about a decade ago.

Frontex’s data reflect apprehensions, or “detections,” of migrants entering the EU illegally (Frontex uses the term “irregular migrants”), so they are not an exact count of migrants entering Europe. Some migrants enter Europe illegally without being detected. Others are counted more than once because they cross European borders twice (for example, both a sea and land border) or try to enter the EU several times. Still others may enter legally on a travel visa, but overstay their allotted time in Europe or later claim asylum to remain, at least temporarily, in Europe.

Illegal migration to Europe

Read More

Topics: Eastern Europe, Europe, Immigration Trends, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration, Western Europe

Mar 16, 2016 7:00 am

A closer look at Jewish identity in Israel and the U.S.

Nearly all Jews in the United States and Israel say they are proud to be Jewish, and large majorities in both countries say they feel a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people. But the two Jewish communities do not always agree about what it means to be Jewish, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of religion in Israel (compared with our 2013 survey of U.S. Jews).

Both surveys asked Jews about a list of eight possible behaviors and attributes that could potentially be “essential” or “important” to their personal Jewish identity. In both countries, majorities say remembering the Holocaust is essential to their Jewish identities (73% in U.S., 65% in Israel).

U.S. Jews more likely to see ethics, justice as essential to being Jewish

But far more American than Israeli Jews say “leading an ethical and moral life” (69% vs. 47%) and “working for justice and equality” (56% vs. 27%) are vital to being Jewish. American Jews also are more likely than those in Israel to see intellectual curiosity and a good sense of humor as key parts of their Jewish identity. Read More

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

Mar 15, 2016 7:00 am

Unlike U.S., few Jews in Israel identify as Reform or Conservative

The two largest organized Jewish denominations in America – Reform and Conservative Judaism – together have about five times as many U.S. members as the historically much older, more strictly observant Orthodox community. But the Reform and Conservative movements have a far smaller footprint in Israel, according to Pew Research Center’s new survey of religion in Israel.

This is only one of many differences between the Jewish populations of Israel and the U.S., the world’s two largest. Together, these countries are home to about 80% of the world’s Jews, but American and Israeli Jews do not always look the same in terms of their political beliefs, levels of religious observance, social circles and even their definitions of what it means to be Jewish.

Jewish affiliation with Conservative and Reform synagogues and congregations is one of the most notable ways in which Jewish life in the U.S. differs from that in Israel. About half of Jewish Americans identify with either the Reform (35%) or Conservative (18%) movements, both of which developed in recent centuries in Europe and North America as generally less pious alternatives to the ancient Orthodox tradition. Only about 10% of U.S. Jews are Orthodox.

Conservative and Reform movements do not have a major presence in IsraelThe survey asked Jews in Israel whether they identify with any of these international streams of Judaism, acknowledging that some of them may not be familiar to respondents. In Israel, very few Jews identify with Conservative (2%) or Reform (3%) Judaism, while half (50%) identify with Orthodoxy – including many Jews who are not highly religiously observant but may still be most familiar with Orthodox Judaism. About four-in-ten Israeli Jews (41%) do not identify with any of these three streams or denominations of Judaism.

Instead, Israeli Jews are much more neatly grouped into four informal categories of Jewish religious identity – Haredi (ultra-Orthodox), Dati (religious), Masorti (traditional) and Hiloni (secular). Virtually all Jews in Israel say one of these terms describes their religious category. Read More

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

Mar 14, 2016 11:29 am

Exit polls and the evangelical vote: A closer look

As Donald Trump has racked up big wins among self-described “born-again or evangelical” Christians in many of the early primaries and caucuses, some religious leaders, political analysts and researchers have questioned whether many of these self-described evangelicals actually are evangelical Christians.

Specifically, some analysts have expressed disappointment that the exit polls in some states have included only a single question about religion: “Would you describe yourself as a born-again or evangelical Christian?” They argue that this question may be too broad to accurately capture who really is and isn’t an evangelical Protestant. At the same time, some religious leaders have assumed that many of those who are telling exit pollsters that they are born-again or evangelical and that they voted for Trump aren’t really evangelicals at all because, for example, they rarely attend church.

See our detailed tables for more information on the religious and political profiles of the evangelical electorate.

While it is impossible to know for sure how many self-described evangelicals who also are Trump supporters embrace the tradition’s beliefs and practices, data from Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study show that when people identify as “born-again or evangelical” Christians, they also are very likely to report specific beliefs and behaviors that are characteristic of evangelical Protestantism, and this is the case regardless of which political party they support. Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Mar 11, 2016 10:30 am

This year’s GOP presidential battle isn’t the first – or even the deepest – party divide

Former President Theodore Roosevelt campaigns in Morrisville, Vermont, on Aug. 30, 1912. After failing to win the Republican Party nomination for president that year, Roosevelt instead ran on the Progressive (or "Bull Moose") ticket. Photo credit: NPS/Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Former President Theodore Roosevelt campaigns in Morrisville, Vermont, on Aug. 30, 1912. After failing to win the Republican Party nomination for president that year, Roosevelt instead ran on the Progressive (or “Bull Moose”) ticket. Photo credit: NPS/Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site

Donald Trump may be leading in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, but much of the GOP’s establishment is mobilizing to try to block him. And should those efforts fail, many prominent Republicans are saying they won’t support Trump if he is the nominee. Some are even floating the idea of an anti-Trump third party.

Most times, even after fierce nomination battles and raucous conventions, parties have come together for the general-election fight. The bitter 1952 convention fight between Dwight Eisenhower and Sen. Robert Taft didn’t hurt Eisenhower that fall. In 1976, after Ronald Reagan fell just short of taking the GOP nomination from President Gerald Ford, he endorsed Ford in a memorable concession speech (although Ford went on to lose to Jimmy Carter in an exceedingly close race that November). And in 1968, even after a violence-marred convention and the third-party challenge of George Wallace, enough of the Democratic coalition came together in time for Hubert Humphrey to almost defeat Richard Nixon.

While it’s been a long time since a significant portion of a major party has rejected its own leading candidate, it’s hardly unprecedented in American political history. Here’s a rundown of notable splits, bolts, splinters and other major-party schisms, starting with the birth of the modern Democratic/Republican era. (Note: We excluded third-party movements, such as Wallace’s 1968 campaign and Ross Perot’s 1992 run, that originated outside the two major parties and weren’t explicit rejections of a particular nominee.)  Read More

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

Mar 10, 2016 11:55 am

8 conversations shaping technology

This year’s SXSW Interactive conference – an annual event that brings together leaders in technology, media and music – will have two new high-profile speakers: the president and first lady.

Barack and Michelle Obama will be speaking during a period of intense focus on the tech industry, with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s open letter challenging the FBI’s request to aid in unlocking a terror suspect’s iPhone, Twitter announcing an online safety panel and more companies getting into the “cord-cutting” business.

As conference-goers gather in Austin, here are eight key conversations about internet and technology today:

Privacy vs. security

In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February on the issue of whether Apple should assist the FBI in unlocking the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terror suspects, more Americans sided with the government than with Apple. Some 51% of U.S. adults said Apple should assist in unlocking the phone, while 38% said the company should not help unlock the phone because it jeopardizes other users’ security and privacy.

Americans’ views about the trade-off between security and personal privacy have shifted over time and public opinion is often influenced by major news events. Following the San Bernardino and Paris attacks, 56% of Americans said they were more concerned that counterterrorism efforts had not gone far enough to protect the country, while just 28% said they were concerned that efforts have gone too far in restricting civil liberties. By contrast, after the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013, concerns over civil liberties were more prevalent than concerns for national security. Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Mobile, Online Privacy and Safety, Technology Adoption