Jan 22, 2015 11:49 am

House Catholics are trending Republican

Catholics in CongressMore House Republicans in the new, 114th Congress identify as Catholic than in any other recent Congress, and they now outnumber Catholic Democrats in the House, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

Although the difference is slight – there are now 69 Catholic Republicans and 68 Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives – the new balance is a departure from the previous three Congresses (2009-2014). Indeed, just six years ago, there were more than two and a half times as many Catholic Democrats (98) as Catholic Republicans (37) in the House. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Congress, Religious Affiliation

Jan 22, 2015 7:00 am

Obama heads to India, where the public is warm to him

Obama and Modi
(Photo by Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

Next week, President Barack Obama will be the “chief guest” at India’s Republic Day, the annual celebration of the 1950 Indian Constitution. The visit is expected to usher in a new, positive era in India-U.S. relations at a time when a majority of Indians have a favorable view of the United States and a majority of Americans express a positive opinion of India.

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Topics: Barack Obama, U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism

Jan 21, 2015 2:24 pm

Inequality is at top of the agenda as global elites gather in Davos

A new report from the anti-poverty group Oxfam has helped put inequality back near the top of the global agenda, just in time for the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of global elites in Davos, Switzerland. In particular, one striking claim from the Oxfam report has generated headlines: By next year, the top 1% of the world’s population could own more wealth than the other 99%. The Oxfam report – just one of many attempts at measuring worldwide economic disparities – fits into a broader pattern of growing interest in, and concern about, inequality.

Broad Majorities See Inequality as a ProblemIt’s certainly a topic on the minds of average citizens around the world. In a spring 2014 Pew Research Center survey, majorities in all 44 nations polled described the gap between rich and poor as a big problem for their country, and majorities in 28 nations said it was a very big problem. Concerns about inequality are most common in Africa, although they are widespread in wealthier parts of the world as well, especially in European nations such as Greece (84% very big problem), Spain (74%) and Italy (73%) that were hit hard by the Great Recession.

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Topics: Economic Policy, Income Inequality, Socioeconomic Class, World Economies

Jan 21, 2015 1:21 pm

5 facts about abortion

Forty-two years after Roe v. Wade, the debate over the issue continues even as public opinion has held relatively steady. Supporters on both sides plan to commemorate the day Thursday by holding rallies at the Supreme Court building, where the Roe decision establishing a woman’s constitutional right to abortion in the first three months of pregnancy was handed down in 1973.

Here are a few key facts about Americans’ views on the topic, based on recent Pew Research Center polling:

1More than six-in-ten (63%) U.S. adults surveyed in 2013 said they would not like to see the Supreme Court completely overturn Roe v. Wade, while about three-in-ten (29%) want to see the ruling overturned. When asked directly about the legality of abortion, 51% of U.S. adults say it should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 43% who say it should be illegal all or most of the time. In both cases, these figures have remained relatively stable for more than 20 years.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Abortion

Jan 20, 2015 10:00 am

Hispanics to benefit from Obama’s community college plan

Hispanics, College EnrollmentA proposal by President Obama to offer free tuition for students attending community college could have a significant impact on Hispanics. More Hispanics are already enrolled in college than ever before and, among those who are, nearly half (46%) attend a public two-year school, the highest share of any race or ethnicity, according to U.S. Department of Education data.

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Topics: College, Education, Educational Attainment

Jan 20, 2015 7:00 am

State of the Union 2015: How Americans see the nation, their leaders and the issues

President Obama delivers the State of the Union address in 2014.
(Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Obama and other administration officials have been road-testing several possible themes and proposals that are likely to come up in his State of the Union speech today. Here’s a look at public opinion on the issues that Obama and Republicans say they will push in the coming year, as well as Americans’ views of their leaders and how well (or not) they think things are going in the country. Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Issue Priorities, U.S. Political Figures, U.S. Political Parties

Jan 19, 2015 7:00 am

On MLK Day, a look at black and white America

race relations black white views mlkOn a day commemorating what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 86th birthday, blacks and whites in the United States in many ways continue to live starkly different lives. African Americans are less financially secure than whites, less likely to have ever been married, and less likely to own their own homes.

More than six decades after Brown v. Board of Education, more than three-quarters of black public-school students attend majority-minority schools. Yet blacks express a higher degree of satisfaction with current conditions in the U.S. (though that likely reflects partisan differences as much as anything).

Small wonder that blacks and whites often see the world very differently. We’ve gathered some key findings from recent Pew Research Center reports on black-white perception gaps. On this Martin Luther King Day holiday, it makes for sobering reading.

Topics: African Americans, Discrimination and Prejudice, Economics and Personal Finances, Race and Ethnicity

Jan 16, 2015 11:25 am

Religious conversion in Latin America: How we surveyed people on their beliefs

Neha Sahgal, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center
Neha Sahgal, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center

Late last year, the Pew Research Center released a major survey on religion in 18 Latin American countries and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, finding that many Latin Americans are leaving Catholicism and joining evangelical Protestant churches.

Fact Tank sat down with Neha Sahgal, one of the study’s lead researchers, to learn more about how Pew Research was able to reach these conclusions:

In general, how do you manage to determine whether people have converted from one faith tradition to another?

The Pew Research Center routinely conducts surveys that, among other topics, address religious conversion. Typically, we do not ask respondents if they have changed their religious faith, because people may answer this question in different ways. For example, to one respondent, switching from Catholicism to Protestantism may constitute changing their faith, while to another it may not. Instead, in the Latin America survey, we asked all respondents about their current religion, and we also asked them how they were raised as a child. When childhood religion differed from current religion – for example, someone who said that he or she is currently Protestant but was raised Catholic – we considered this an instance of “religious switching.”

This approach captured substantial levels of religious switching in Latin America – in nearly every country surveyed, the Catholic Church has experienced net losses.

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Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Latin America, Pentecostals and Pentecostalism, Religious Affiliation, Research Methodology

Jan 16, 2015 7:00 am

This year, Millennials will overtake Baby Boomers

Millennials largest generation outnumber Baby BoomersThis year, the “Millennial” generation is projected to surpass the outsized Baby Boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau last month. Millennials (whom we define as between ages 18 to 34 in 2015) are projected to number 75.3 million, surpassing the projected 74.9 million Boomers (ages 51 to 69). The Gen X population (ages 35 to 50 in 2015) is projected to outnumber the Boomers by 2028.

The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand their ranks. Boomers – a generation defined by the boom in U.S. births following World War II — are older and shrinking in size as the number of deaths exceed the number of older immigrants arriving in the country. Read More

Topics: Baby Boomers, Generations and Age, Millennials, U.S. Census

Jan 15, 2015 12:28 pm

For most highly educated women, motherhood doesn’t start until the 30s

best time for women to have children career familyWhen should women who want to advance professionally have children? The public is split — 36% say that having kids early in her career is the way to go for a woman who wants to “reach a top executive position,” while 40% say it’s better for a woman to hold off until she’s well established in her career. And another one-fifth say that women who want to advance up the career ladder should not have kids at all, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

But what are U.S. women — particularly those well-positioned to pursue a career — actually doing when it comes to building their families? Read More

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Educational Attainment, Family and Relationships, Work and Employment