May 6, 2015 9:55 am

5 facts about prayer

55% of Americans Say They Pray Every Day

May 7 is the National Day of Prayer, on which presidents annually proclaim that “the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” The day has spawned a rival National Day of Reason on the same day, started by humanist groups and other opponents of the National Day of Prayer.

Here are five facts about prayer, including survey data on Americans’ prayer habits and historical instances of prayer intersecting with the government: Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Religion and Government, Religion and Society, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Beliefs and Practices

May 6, 2015 7:00 am

U.S. voter turnout trails most developed countries

By International Standards, U.S. Voter Turnout is Low

Country % of voting age population % of registered voters
Belgium (2014)* 87.2% 89.4%
Turkey (2011)* 86.4% 87.2%
Sweden (2014) 82.6% 85.8%
Denmark (2011) 81.8% 87.7%
Australia (2013)* 80.5% 93.2%
South Korea (2012) 80.4% 75.8%
Iceland (2013) 80.0% 81.4%
Norway (2013) 77.9% 78.2%
Israel (2015) 76.1% 72.3%
New Zealand (2014) 73.2% 77.9%
Finland (2015) 73.1% 66.9%
Greece (2015)* 71.9% 63.6%
France (2012) 71.2% 80.4%
Netherlands (2012) 71.0% 74.6%
Austria (2013) 69.3% 74.9%
Italy (2013) 68.5% 75.2%
Germany (2013) 66.0% 71.5%
Mexico (2012)* 64.6% 63.1%
Ireland (2011) 63.8% 69.9%
Hungary (2014) 63.4% 61.8%
Spain (2011) 63.3% 68.9%
U.K. (2010) 61.1% 65.8%
Czech Republic (2013) 60.0% 59.5%
Slovakia (2012) 57.8% 59.1%
Portugal (2011) 56.6% 58.9%
Luxembourg (2013)* 55.1% 91.1%
Estonia (2015) 54.7% 64.2%
Poland (2010) 54.5% 55.3%
Canada (2011) 54.2% 61.1%
Slovenia (2014) 54.1% 51.7%
UNITED STATES (2012) 53.6% 84.3%
Japan (2014) 52.0% 52.7%
Chile (2013) 45.7% 42.0%
Switzerland (2011) 40.0% 49.1%

Pew Research Center

On Thursday, voters in the United Kingdom will elect a new Parliament, continuing a busy electoral calendar in Europe and elsewhere around the world. Greece, Israel, Finland and Estonia are among the countries that already have held national elections this year. Poland, Mexico, Turkey and Canada have big national elections scheduled in the coming weeks and months. And in the U.S., the 2016 presidential election campaign already is starting to take shape.

All that electoral activity got us wondering: How does voter turnout in the U.S., regularly decried as dismal, compare with other developed democracies? As is so often the case, the answer is a lot more complicated than the question. Read More

Topics: Elections and Campaigns, World Elections

Apr 30, 2015 12:00 pm

Racial and ethnic differences in how people use mobile technology

For many years, researchers have studied the “digital divide” by examining the gap between those who have access to digital technology and those who don’t. But as these gaps have narrowed over time, another set of contrasts has emerged when it comes to the ways different demographic groups use technology.

African Americans and Latinos Rely Heavily on Smartphones for Health Info, Educational Content, Job SeekingAlthough whites, blacks and Hispanics have similar rates of smartphone ownership, minorities tend to rely more heavily on their phone for internet access, according to Pew Research Center’s recent report on smartphone adoption. Some 13% of Hispanics and 12% of blacks are smartphone-dependent, meaning they don’t have a broadband connection at home and have few options for going online other than their cellphone. In comparison, only 4% of white smartphone owners rely heavily on their cellphone for online access.

Blacks and Hispanics reach for their phones more often than whites when it comes to looking up information about health conditions, jobs or educational content. However, there is little difference between these groups in using phones for online banking or getting information about real estate or government services. Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Mobile, Race and Ethnicity

Apr 30, 2015 10:26 am

40 years after fall of Saigon, Vietnamese see U.S. as key ally

Fall of Saigon
North Vietnamese tanks invade the Doc Lap Palace on April 30, 1975. (Herve Gloaguen/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, a national holiday in Vietnam better known as Liberation Day. The event signified the end of the Vietnam War, culminating with a North Vietnamese army tank bulldozing through the gates of the Reunification Palace – the residence of the president of South Vietnam – and major helicopter evacuations of American military personnel and Vietnamese citizens. Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, International Threats and Allies, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, Wars and International Conflicts

Apr 29, 2015 12:00 pm

For vast majority of seniors who own one, a smartphone equals ‘freedom’

Smartphone AttitudesWhen it comes to tech adoption, seniors generally lag behind their younger counterparts. But for Americans ages 65 and older who own a smartphone, having one in their pocket is a liberating experience.

Asked if they feel that their phone represents “freedom” or “a leash,” 82% of smartphone-owning seniors described their phone as freeing, compared with 64% of those ages 18 to 29. By contrast, 36% of adult smartphone owners under the age of 30 described their phone as a leash, double the 18% of adults ages 65 and older who chose this term to describe their phone.

Similarly, when asked to describe their smartphone as “connecting” or “distracting,” older users are significantly more likely to choose “connecting” as the best descriptor. On the other hand, younger smartphone users are twice as likely as older adults to view their phone as “distracting” (37% vs. 18%). Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Technology Adoption

Apr 29, 2015 9:37 am

5 key takeaways from State of the News Media 2015

Pew Research Center today released State of the News Media 2015, our annual report surveying the landscape of U.S. journalism, covering topics ranging from the changes driven by mobile devices to the ups and downs of legacy news organizations. Here are five key takeaways drawn from 13 media sectors we looked at.

Mobile Drives Online Traffic1Among the top 50 digital news sites based on an analysis of comScore data, 39 get more traffic to their sites and associated applications from mobile devices than from desktop. But mobile visitors don’t stick around as long: On only 10 of the top 50 digital sites did mobile users spend more time than desktop visitors. (In both cases, the mobile figure exceeded the desktop figure by at least 10%.) Read More

Topics: Audio and Radio, Digital Media, Local News, Media Performance, Newspapers, Television

Apr 28, 2015 5:29 pm

Divide between blacks and whites on police runs deep

From this month’s death of a 25-year-old black man in Baltimore while in police custody to the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., last August, race and community relations have become the focal point of tension in a series of incidents over the past year.

One constant serving as a backdrop to the discussions about policing is how differently the issue is viewed by blacks and whites.

Pew Research Center polling has consistently found that blacks and whites have very different views about many aspects of race overall — from confidence in the police to progress on racial equality. For example, 48% of whites said a lot of progress has been made since 1963, compared with 32% of blacks, according to a 2013 survey conducted just before the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington. Read More

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Violence and Society

Apr 28, 2015 10:07 am

With help from Mexico, number of child migrants crossing U.S. border falls

Mexico Deportations Trim Flow of Child Migrants to U.S.The Mexican government has deported a record number of Central American children traveling without a guardian since last fall, which President Obama and other U.S. officials say has contributed to a significant drop in children apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexico’s 3,819 deportations of unaccompanied minors from Central America during the first five months of the fiscal year represent a 56% increase over the same period a year earlier, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Mexican and U.S. government data. The stepped up security was a result of a plan by Mexican officials to address the record surge in child migrants last year.

Overall, U.S. officials apprehended 12,509 unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border in the first five months of the fiscal year that began in October, down from 21,403 over the same time period a year ago. (Most children apprehended during this fiscal year — 7,771 — came from the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with nearly all of the rest coming from Mexico.) Read More

Topics: Immigration Trends, Latin America, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration

Apr 28, 2015 7:00 am

Among transgender adults, stories about a ‘difficult’ transition

Bruce Jenner first became famous by winning the gold in the men’s decathlon at the 1976 Olympics, but in a recent interview with ABC News, he transformed his fame into something else — immediately raising the visibility of transgender adults in America. By one reputable estimate, transgender adults represent about 0.3% of the U.S. adult population, and about 5% of the adult lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population identifies primarily as transgender.

In 2013, Pew Research Center surveyed more than 1,100 LGBT adults to better understand their views and experiences. Among the 43 transgender respondents we interviewed, most said they first felt their gender was different from their birth sex before puberty. For many, being transgender is a core part of their overall identity, even if they may not widely share this fact about themselves with many people in their lives. Read More

Topics: Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Social Values

Apr 27, 2015 9:53 am

Job categories where union membership has fallen off most

Unionization rates by job category

For nearly all of the past three decades, Americans have looked somewhat more favorably upon labor unions than unfavorably, according to Pew Research Center polling. In a new survey, for instance, nearly half of Americans (48%) held favorable views of unions, versus 39% who had unfavorable views. But those fairly benign views come as union membership continues to plummet, with certain job categories hit particularly hard. Read More

Topics: Business and Labor