Sep 13, 2015 7:00 am

5 facts about American grandparents

As life expectancy continues to increase for Americans, more and more are living long enough to become grandparents. For Grandparents Day, here are some key facts about them:

1Most Americans (83%) ages 65 and older say they have grandchildren, according to our nationally representative survey of U.S. adults. Of these grandparents, two-thirds (67%) say they have at least four grandchildren. Among those ages 50 to 64, the share with grandchildren drops to 52%, with about half (47%) of grandparents this age saying they have at least four grandchildren.

2More grandparents are living with a grandchild. About 7 million grandparents lived with a grandchild in 2013, up from 5.8 million grandparents who did so in 2000, according to Census Bureau data. Among these grandparents, a significant share (37%) also serve as their grandchildren’s primary caregiver.

3For most American grandparents, child care is only an occasional responsibility. Our survey on family support in graying societies found that among U.S. grandparents who have helped with child care in the past 12 months, nearly three-in-four (72%) said they did so only occasionally. About one-in-five (22%) said they provided child care regularly.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Generations and Age, Parenthood, Race and Ethnicity

Sep 11, 2015 9:00 am

On Grandparents Day, will you call, text or write?

Congress designated the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day back in 1978. Jimmy Carter, who was president at the time, spoke about the importance of grandparents, praising them for their “sacrifices that produced much of the progress and comfort we enjoy today.”

With the day coming up this Sunday, it’s a good time to look at how often and by what means Americans keep in touch with the eldest members of their families.

Keeping in Touch with Grandparents

Among U.S. adults who have at least one living grandparent, 64% say they are in touch with grandparents at least on a monthly basis, including 36% who say they keep in touch with their grandparents at least monthly (but not weekly) and 28% who do so weekly or daily, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey. But some adults rarely communicate with their grandparents: 35% of adults with a living grandparent say they communicate less often than monthly, including 2% who say they are never in contact with their grandparents.

Phone calls are the most popular mode of communication between adult grandchildren and their grandparents. About nine-in-ten (92%) of those who are in contact with their grandparents at least monthly say they use the phone. Still, about a third (32%) rely on at least one of the newer forms of technology such as text messages, social media or email.

One-in-five adults who are in touch with a grandparent at least monthly opt for texting their grandparents; about one-in-six (16%) cite using social media sites, like Facebook or Twitter; and 12% say they keep in touch with their grandparents via email. Read More

Topics: Digital Media, Family and Relationships

Sep 11, 2015 7:00 am

Class of 2025 expected to be the biggest, most diverse ever

Attention, parents of third graders: If demographic patterns hold, your children could be in the largest U.S. college freshman class ever.

College Enrollment Tracks with the Number of Births 18 Years Earler

That’s because in 2007 U.S. births surpassed 4.3 million – a feat not seen since 1957, when college enrollment was less common. Based on trends today, demographers can make certain assumptions about what share of those children will eventually graduate from high school and go on to college. According to the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE), the high school class of 2025 will be the largest and most ethnically diverse class we’ve ever seen.

This wouldn’t be the first time that colleges and universities have experienced a “college admissions bubble.” The last enrollment peak happened in 2009, when the children of Baby Boomers reached college age (and 18 years after 1991’s 4.1 million births). In addition, the Great Recession encouraged many young adults to ride out the difficult job market by continuing their education.

Since 2009, the number of first-time, full-time freshmen has come down somewhat (from 2.5 million to 2.4 million in 2013).

How can anyone know what college enrollment will look like a decade into the future? No projection is perfect and there are many unforeseen factors, such as the economy’s performance and how successful parents and schools are in getting students to graduate from high school. But generally, the number of first-time, full-time college freshmen tracks closely with the number of births from 18 years earlier.

In the post-recession era, about 70% of high school graduates go on to be first-time, full-time freshmen in either a two- or four-year college.

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Topics: College, Education, Educational Attainment, Generations and Age, Teens and Youth

Sep 11, 2015 12:01 am

Number of babies born in U.S. to unauthorized immigrants declines

About 295,000 babies were born to unauthorized-immigrant parents in 2013, making up 8% of the 3.9 million U.S. births that year, according to a new, preliminary Pew Research Center estimate based on the latest available federal government data. This was a decline from a peak of 370,000 in 2007.

Annual U.S. Births to Unauthorized Immigrants, 1980-2013Births to unauthorized-immigrant parents rose sharply from 1980 to the mid-2000s, but dipped since then, echoing overall population trends for unauthorized immigrants. In 2007, an estimated 9% of all U.S. babies were born to unauthorized-immigrant parents, meaning that at least one parent was an unauthorized immigrant.

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1868, grants an automatic right of citizenship to anyone born in the United States. But in recent years, some politicians have called for repeal of birthright citizenship, including Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who says that so-called anchor babies are a magnet for illegal immigration.

A Pew Research survey in February 2011 found that a majority of Americans (57%) opposed changing the Constitution to end birthright citizenship, while 39% favored such a change. That same survey found that most Americans (87%) said they were aware of the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Population Trends, Race and Ethnicity, Unauthorized Immigration

Sep 10, 2015 9:25 am

How the geography of U.S. poverty has shifted since 1960

Since President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty 50 years ago, the characteristics of the nation’s poor have changed: A larger share of poor Americans today are in their prime working years and fewer are elderly. In addition, those in poverty are disproportionately children and people of any age who are black, Hispanic or both.

Nation's Poor Population Is Less Southern, More Urban Than in 1960But perhaps just as striking is that the geographic distribution of the poor has changed dramatically, too. A new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data finds that the South continues to be home to many of America’s poor, though to a lesser degree than a half-century ago. In 1960, half (49%) of impoverished Americans lived in the South. By 2010, that share had dropped to 41%.

Much of the geographic shift of poverty reflects general trends in population shifts across the country over that same period. As rural areas, such as in the Midwest, have become less impoverished since the 1960s, those areas make up a smaller share of the U.S. population overall. At the same time, urban centers have gained in total population and hold a greater share of the U.S. population overall.

For example, in 1960, places like Maine and North Dakota had higher poverty rates than many of the nation’s biggest metro areas. But by 2010, the reverse was true: High-poverty areas were in counties that are a part of the nation’s largest metro areas such as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, but not in places like Nebraska and South Dakota. At the same time, the share of the population in the nation’s urban areas increased from 70% to 81% over that 50-year period. Read More

Topics: Demographics, Economics and Personal Finances, Population Geography, Poverty, Socioeconomic Class

Sep 9, 2015 7:00 am

Relatively few U.S. Catholics skipped annulment because of cost or complications

Catholics Seeking AnnulmentPope Francis has announced major changes to the Roman Catholic Church’s procedures for marriage annulments. While the new changes are aimed at making annulments faster and less expensive, a recent Pew Research Center survey found that most divorced U.S. Catholics who did not seek annulments did not cite the complicated nature of the process as a reason.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriages are unbreakable unions, and thus remarrying after a divorce (without an annulment) is a sin. But an annulment – a declaration from the church that a marriage was never valid – makes it possible for divorced Catholics to enter a new marriage and still be eligible to receive Communion.

A quarter of U.S. Catholic adults say they have experienced a divorce, according to our survey. That’s somewhat fewer than among U.S. adults overall (30%). Among U.S. Catholics who have ever been divorced, roughly a quarter (26%) say they or their former spouse have sought an annulment from the Catholic Church.

The survey asked all U.S. Catholics who have been divorced and have not sought an annulment why they did not do so.

The most common type of answer was that Catholics did not seek an annulment because they did not see it as necessary or did not want to get an annulment (43%). And about one-in-five divorced U.S. Catholics who did not seek an annulment say they were not married in the Catholic Church in the first place (21%), and may have thought they were ineligible for an annulment.

Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Marriage and Divorce

Sep 8, 2015 2:31 pm

Remembering Andy Kohut

Andrew KohutToday, we grieve the loss of our founder, mentor and bedrock, Andrew Kohut, who led Pew Research Center from 2004 until 2012 and previously led Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. He passed away this morning.

For those who knew Andy personally, professionally or even only through his media appearances, the thought that this day could come is unimaginable. Andy’s force of will was incomparable, and he went into tackling his leukemia with the same drive, attention to detail and optimism that he brought to everything else in his life. To us, Andy was indestructible, which makes his loss inconceivable.

But Andy will remain with us because of the impact his work will continue to have on the world. We at Pew Research Center live this every day, in an organization whose principles, methods and approach to doing research were forged by his leadership. He taught us the importance of innovation, relevance, rigor, objectivity, humility, and ultimately, getting it right. Andy’s values and mission drive the center, and we continue to strive to live up to the standard he set.

I worked side by side with Andy for more than 15 years, and he always brought out the best in me – sometimes with a guiding hand, and sometimes with a swift kick. I watched how his judgment, instincts and unwillingness to ever settle for second-best drove Pew Research Center to be what it is today, and I thank him for that.

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Sep 3, 2015 9:00 am

8 facts about American workers

Although the U.S. economy is recovering and appears to be on stable ground compared with other parts of the world, there’s still a lot of debate over how to best secure the future for American workers. Some Democrats have pushed for raising the federal minimum wage, and the Obama administration has proposed new overtime rules that would make millions of Americans eligible for extra pay. Meanwhile, some Republican presidential candidates have maintained that labor unions are too powerful and impede business.

Just in time for Labor Day, here are eight facts about the state of American workers.

A Long Downward Slide for Unions1Over the past three decades, the share of American workers who are union members has fallen by about half.  Union membership peaked in 1954 at nearly 35% of all U.S. wage and salary workers, but it’s fallen to just over 11% in 2014.

The biggest decline in union representation from 2000 to 2014 was in installation, maintenance and repair occupations, a broad grouping that includes everything from auto mechanics to avionics technicians and watch repairers. Americans have mixed views about this trend, with about as many people saying it’s mostly a bad thing as there are saying it’s mostly a good . Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Business and Labor, Educational Attainment, Gender, Generations and Age, Work and Employment

Sep 3, 2015 7:00 am

Who are ‘cultural Catholics’?

The share of Americans whose primary religious affiliation is Catholic has fallen somewhat in recent years, and now stands at about one-in-five. But according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Catholics and others, an additional one-in-ten American adults (9%) consider themselves Catholic or partially Catholic in other ways, even though they do not self-identify as Catholic on the basis of religion.

Who Are Cultural Catholics?Who are these “cultural Catholics”? Often, they think of themselves as Catholic in one way or another even though many belong to another faith tradition (such as Protestantism). Others are religiously unaffiliated, identifying as atheist, agnostic or simply “nothing in particular.”

Most of these cultural Catholics (62%) say that for them personally, being Catholic is mainly a matter of ancestry and/or culture (rather than religion). But majorities also point to religious beliefs and teachings as key parts of their Catholic identity. For example, 60% of cultural Catholics say that having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is essential to what being Catholic means to them. Likewise, 57% say the same about believing in Jesus’ resurrection. A similar share (59%) say that working to help the poor and needy is essential to their Catholicism. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Sep 2, 2015 11:00 am

45% of Americans have a connection to Catholicism

45% of Americans have a strong connection to Catholicism

The new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Catholics provides an opportunity to take stock of Americans’ Catholic identity – not just people who identify primarily as Catholics, but the entire spectrum of those whose lives have crossed paths with the Catholic Church in a meaningful way.

All told, fully 45% of U.S. adults have one of four types of connections to Catholicism:

  • 20% are Catholic: One-in-five Americans say that their current religious affiliation is with the Roman Catholic Church.
  • 9% are “cultural Catholics”: Nearly one-in-ten U.S. adults say that their religion is not Catholic (most are Protestants or are unaffiliated with any religion), but also say they consider themselves Catholic or partially Catholic in some other way. These cultural Catholics most often say they were raised Catholic or had a Catholic parent and still think of themselves as Catholic in terms of ancestry or family tradition.
  • 9% are “ex-Catholics”: These are people who were raised Catholic, but who no longer describe themselves as Catholic (by religion or otherwise). Like cultural Catholics, ex-Catholics also are now largely divided between people who are now Protestant and those who are religiously unaffiliated.
  • 8% have other connections to Catholicism: Some respondents do not fit into one of the above categories but nonetheless have a meaningful connection to the Catholic Church. This could be through a Catholic parent or spouse, or through occasional attendance at Catholic Mass.

While categorizing such a large number of people in such a way is imperfect, these groups show the wide influence of Catholicism in American society. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices