May 10, 2017 12:10 pm

9 key findings about religion and politics in Central and Eastern Europe

Roughly a quarter century after the collapse of the Soviet Union, religion has reasserted itself as an important part of individual and national identity in many places where communist regimes once repressed religious worship and promoted atheism, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey of 18 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to religious identity, beliefs and practices, and national identity, the survey explores respondents’ views on social issues, democracy, the economy, religious and ethnic pluralism, and more.

Here are nine key findings from the report:

1 Shares of Orthodox Christians have risen sharply across the region, while shares of Catholics have declined. The percentage of Russians who identify as Orthodox Christians has risen substantially since the end of the USSR, from 37% in 1991 to 71% in the new survey. Consequently, the share of Russians who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” has fallen. And the trend is not limited to Russia. Similar patterns are evident in Ukraine and Bulgaria. At the same time, historically Catholic countries in Central and Eastern Europe have undergone a shift in the opposite direction: The Catholic share of the population in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic has declined at least modestly since 1991.

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Topics: Religion and Society, Religion and Government, Communism, Religious Affiliation

May 9, 2017 11:00 am

Views of NAFTA less positive – and more partisan – in U.S. than in Canada and Mexico

The Trump administration and governments in Ottawa and Mexico City have indicated they will renegotiate the trilateral, quarter-century-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While the existing accord enjoys the support of roughly three-quarters of the Canadian public and six-in-ten Mexicans, it is viewed less favorably in the United States, with Republicans far less supportive than Democrats, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of all three countries.

About half of Americans (51%) say NAFTA has been a good thing for the U.S., including 11% who say it has been very good. That compares with 74% of Canadians who say the agreement has been good for Canada, including 20% who say it has been very good. Among Mexicans, 60% see NAFTA as being good for their country, including 10% who hold that view strongly. These differences in views may, in part, reflect the fact that both Canada and Mexico run merchandise trade surpluses with the U.S. In 2016, the U.S. ran a collective $74 billion trade goods deficit with its two NAFTA partners.
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Topics: Globalization and Trade, Economic Policy, U.S. Political Parties, National Economy, North America, Political Polarization

May 5, 2017 11:45 am

It’s becoming more common for young adults to live at home – and for longer stretches

Through both recession and recovery, the share of young adults living in their parents’ home continues to rise. Today’s young adults are also more likely to be at home for an extended stay compared with previous generations of young adults who resided with their parents, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. census data.

As of 2016, 15% of 25- to 35-year-old Millennials were living in their parents’ home. This is 5 percentage points higher than the share of Generation Xers who lived in their parents’ home in 2000 when they were the same age (10%), and nearly double the share of the Silent Generation who lived at home in 1964 (8%).

It doesn’t appear that a lack of jobs is keeping Millennials at home. As of the first quarter of 2016 (when the living arrangements data were collected), only 5.1% of older young adults were unemployed, down from 10.1% in the first quarter of 2010. Yet the share of 25- to 35-year-olds living at home rose during that span, increasing from 12% in 2010 to 15% in 2016.

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Topics: Lifestyle, Family and Relationships, Generations and Age, Household and Family Structure, Millennials

May 4, 2017 3:04 pm

Though still conservative, young evangelicals are more liberal than their elders on some issues

Millennials are more likely than older adults to take liberal positions on social and political issues. This generation gap exists even among evangelical Protestants – who constitute one of the country’s most conservative religious groups – in areas including same-sex marriage, immigration and environmentalism.

The gap between younger and older evangelicals is perhaps most noticeable on LGBT issues. Evangelical Protestants who are Millennials (those born from 1981 to 1996) are considerably more likely than older evangelical Protestants to support same-sex marriage and to say homosexuality should be accepted by society, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study.

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Topics: Religion and Society, Generations and Age, Religious Affiliation, Social Values, Political Issue Priorities

May 4, 2017 1:01 pm

Q&A: Political polls and the 2016 election

Voters cast their ballots at a fire station in Alhambra, California, on Nov. 8, 2016. (Ringo Chiu/AFP/Getty Images)
Voters cast their ballots at a fire station in Alhambra, California, on Nov. 8, 2016. (Ringo Chiu/AFP/Getty Images)

The outcome of the 2016 presidential election surprised a lot of people – not least the many political pollsters and analysts covering it. Today the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the nation’s leading organization of survey researchers, released a long-awaited report that examines polling during last year’s long primary and general election campaigns.

Courtney Kennedy, Pew Research Center director of survey research
Courtney Kennedy, Pew Research Center director of survey research

Courtney Kennedy, Pew Research Center’s director of survey research, chaired the AAPOR task force that produced the report. We sat down with Kennedy recently to discuss its findings and recommendations. The conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity and conciseness.

Ever since Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton last year, there’s been plenty of criticism of the performance and trustworthiness of polls. Was that the impetus for this report?

Actually, this committee was organized back in May 2016, months before any of us had the slightest inkling that last year would be a particularly unusual year for polling. The original intent was pretty straightforward: to evaluate the performance of polls, both in the primary season and the general election; to compare how they did relative to past years; and, to the extent the data would support it, assess whether certain types of polls – online versus telephone, live versus automated – did better or worse than others.

But as of midnight or so on Nov. 8it was clear that what the committee needed to do had changed. We couldn’t just do this very technical, “what was the average deviation” type of report. We needed to, in addition, consider another question: “Why did the polls seem to systematically underestimate support for Donald Trump?” There already were a number of hypotheses floating around – such as the so-called “shy Trump” effect (Trump supporters being less willing than others to disclose their support to an interviewer),  differential nonresponse (Trump supporters being less likely than others to participate in surveys), things of that nature – and we felt obligated to take on that additional piece.

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Topics: Research Methods, Voter Preferences, Elections and Campaigns, Polling, 2016 Election, Donald Trump

May 4, 2017 11:37 am

Asylum applications from unaccompanied minors fell sharply in Europe in 2016

The European Union, Norway and Switzerland received nearly 66,000 asylum applications from unaccompanied minor migrants in 2016, a decline of nearly 40% from 2015’s record total but still well above the total of prior years, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency.

From 2008 to 2016, the EU, Norway and Switzerland received some 274,000 total asylum applications from unaccompanied minors, or those younger than 18 applying without a parent or guardian. (Data are not available before 2008.) The annual number of unaccompanied minor applications remained relatively flat from 2008 to 2013 before nearly doubling to 25,000 in 2014. During the refugee surge in 2015, European countries received more than 104,000 applications from unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. Counting all age groups, the EU, Norway and Switzerland received more than 4.8 million first-time asylum applications from 2008 to 2016, with unaccompanied minors representing almost 6% of the total.
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Topics: Europe, International Threats and Allies, Immigration Trends, Migration, Middle Class

May 3, 2017 11:30 am

Key findings about U.S. immigrants

Immigrants listen to a speech as they wait to become U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles. (Mark Ralson/AFP/Getty Images)
Immigrants listen to a speech as they wait to become U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles. (Mark Ralson/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants in 2015. The population of immigrants is also very diverse, with just about every country in the world represented among U.S. immigrants.

View interactive charts and detailed tables on U.S. immigrants.

Pew Research Center regularly publishes statistical portraits of the nation’s foreign-born population, which include historical trends since 1960. Based on these portraits, here are answers to some key questions about the U.S. immigrant population.

How many people in the U.S. are immigrants?

The U.S. foreign-born population reached a record 43.2 million in 2015. Since 1965, when U.S. immigration laws replaced a national quota system, the number of immigrants living in the U.S. has more than quadrupled. Immigrants today account for 13.4% of the U.S. population, nearly triple the share (4.7%) in 1970. However, today’s immigrant share remains below the record 14.8% share in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the U.S.

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Topics: Education, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Population Trends, Population Geography, Business and Labor, Migration, Asian Americans

May 2, 2017 10:01 am

Why people are rich and poor: Republicans and Democrats have very different views

Beyond partisan differences over economic policies, there are stark divisions on a fundamental question: What makes someone rich or poor? Most Republicans link a person’s financial standing to their own hard work – or the lack of it. Most Democrats say that whether someone is rich or poor is more attributable to circumstances beyond their control.

The public overall is about evenly divided over which has more to do with why a person is rich: 45% say it is because he or she worked harder than most people, while 43% say it is because they had more advantages in life than others, according to a survey conducted April 5-11 among 1,501 U.S. adults. Opinion has shifted modestly on this question: In both 2015 and 2014, more attributed a person’s wealth to greater advantages than to a stronger work ethic.

In assessing why some people are poor, 53% think it is because of circumstances beyond their control, while 34% attribute it to a lack of effort. There has been little change in these opinions in recent years, according to a survey in December.

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Topics: Education, Gender, Individualism and Individual Opportunity, Work and Employment, Income, U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, Lifestyle, Socioeconomic Class, Income Inequality, Political Polarization

May 1, 2017 7:03 am

Democrats far more supportive than Republicans of federal spending for scientific research

There is a wide and growing partisan gap in the U.S. over how much government should spend for scientific research.

Six-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents back increased federal spending for scientific research, up from 46% four years ago. But just a third of Republicans and Republican leaners support increased spending for scientific research today, up modestly from 25% in 2013.

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Topics: U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, Government Spending and the Deficit, Science and Innovation, Political Polarization

Apr 28, 2017 11:30 am

Sub-Saharan Africa experienced largest increase in religious restrictions in 2015

While sub-Saharan Africa had fewer religious restrictions in 2015 than many other parts of the world, it experienced a larger increase that year than any other region, according to a recent Pew Research Center report that tracks these restrictions by both governments and private individuals and groups. Attacks by the Nigeria-based extremist group Boko Haram, along with subsequent government reactions to those incidents, played a role in this increase.

Government harassment of religious groups was reported in a total of 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (77%) in 2015, increasing from 25 countries (52%) the year before, and was at the highest level recorded for the region since 2007 – the first year for which data are available. Some of the government harassment included bans on religious attire tied to an increase in terrorist activity. For instance, in West Africa, the governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Republic of the Congo banned wearing various forms of Islamic veils in public after Boko Haram suicide bombers used such veils to hide explosives.  Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Religion and Government, Sub-Saharan Africa, Religious Affiliation, Restrictions on Religion