Jul 11, 2016 7:00 am

Which U.S. religious groups are oldest and youngest?

The U.S. religious landscape is already in the midst of some dramatic changes when it comes to the growth or decline of people with certain religious identities. And while it is impossible to predict exactly how that landscape will shift in the future, some key demographic factors — particularly age — can provide a clue as to how things might unfold in the coming decades.

For example, religious groups whose members are younger may be more likely to grow, not only because those members will live longer, but also because more of them are still of childbearing age (and thus have a greater chance of passing on their religion to their descendants).

With this in mind, some of the groups that have already been growing in recent years may be primed for continued growth. This includes people with no religious affiliation: The median age of adults who say their religion is “nothing in particular” is 38, while for atheists and agnostics it is 34.

Age structure and median age of U.S. religious groups

Overall, these three groups together (often called religious “nones”) have a median age of 36 – fully a decade younger than the median age of U.S. adults overall (46), according to data from our 2014 Religious Landscape Study.

Members of some non-Christian faiths also are very young – U.S. Muslims and Hindus in the survey each have a median age of 33. About four-in-ten Muslim adults in the U.S. are under the age of 30, and nine-in-ten Hindu adults are under 50. Read More

Topics: Demographics, Generations and Age, Religion and Society

Jul 8, 2016 5:16 pm

How Americans view the Black Lives Matter movement

The Black Lives Matter movement, which came to national prominence in the wake of the 2014 police shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, continues to gain attention following other incidents involving the deaths of black Americans during encounters with the police. A recent Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 29-May 8, 2016, found that general awareness of Black Lives Matter is widespread among black and white U.S. adults, but attitudes about the movement vary considerably between groups.

Here are some key findings about Americans’ views of the Black Lives Matter movement:

1Roughly four-in-ten Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement. All told, 43% support the movement, including 18% who strongly support it. About one-in-five Americans (22%) oppose the movement, and a sizable share (30%) said they have not heard anything about the Black Lives Matter movement or did not offer an opinion.

Support for Black Lives Matter is particularly high among blacks: 65% support the movement, including 41% who strongly support it; 12% of blacks say that they oppose the movement. Among whites, 40% express support, while 28% say they oppose Black Lives Matter. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: African Americans, Race and Ethnicity, Violence and Society

Jul 8, 2016 10:55 am

Trump faces challenge in getting a united GOP behind him

With the Republican National Convention set to open in just over a week in Cleveland, Ohio, there are widespread doubts within the GOP that the party will unite behind the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.

Most Republican voters continue to doubt GOP will unite behind TrumpA new Pew Research Center survey finds that 54% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters think disagreements within the party will keep many Republicans from supporting Trump. Fewer (38%) think the party will solidly unite behind him.

It is unusual for partisans to doubt that their party will unite behind the nominee at this stage of the campaign. In 2012, a majority of Republicans (65%) thought their party would unite behind Mitt Romney in the spring of that year and about the same share (63%) believed that the party would unite behind John McCain in 2008.

On the Democratic side, sentiment is much more positive: 72% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters expect their party to unite solidly behind Hillary Clinton, compared with just 24% who think disagreements will keep many from supporting her. The share of Democrats who think the party will unite behind Clinton is up 8 percentage points from March; there has been no increase in the share of Republicans who expect their party to unite behind Trump over this period of time. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Elections and Campaigns, U.S. Political Figures, U.S. Political Parties

Jul 7, 2016 11:55 am

6 facts about religious hostilities in the Middle East and North Africa

Religious hostilities in Middle East-North Africa region

The Middle East is home to some of the world’s most chaotic and violent war zones – including in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq – as well as simmering conflicts in states such as Israel and Lebanon. And while these conflicts usually have multiple causes, religion and religious hostilities certainly are important factors.

A new Pew Research Center study, relying on information from 2014 (the most recent year data were available), carefully catalogued hostilities in the region’s 20 countries. For the first time since we began publishing these annual reports in 2007, the study also took into account activity by the Islamic militant group known as ISIS, which declared in June 2014 that it had established a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.

Here are six facts about religious hostilities in the Middle East and North Africa: Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Middle East and North Africa, Religion and Society, Religious Extremism, Restrictions on Religion

Jul 7, 2016 9:50 am

Key findings on the traits and habits of the modern news consumer

Twenty years ago, only 12% of U.S. adults got news online. Today, that number stands at 81%. About six-in-ten (62%) get news through social media – a figure that rises to 84% for 18- to 29-year-olds. We have also reached a point where a large majority of the public (72%) gets news on a mobile device. As consumers have changed the ways they access news, they also have new ways to interact with it – and new sources to inform them. How have these influences shaped the American public’s habits and attitudes toward the news?

A new Pew Research Center study explores the defining traits of the modern news consumer. One overarching conclusion is that news remains an important part of public life. More than seven-in-ten U.S. adults follow national and local news somewhat or very closely, and 65% follow international news with the same regularity.

Overall our findings show a public that is cautious as it moves into today’s more complex news environment and discerning in its evaluation of available news sources. It also reinforces how, despite the dramatic changes witnessed in the last decade, digital news is still very much in its adolescence.

Here are five key findings on today’s news consumers.

1Online news consumers more likely to get news from professional outlets than from friends, familyFriends and family are an important source of news, but Americans still count more on news organizations. Online news consumers are about twice as likely to often get news online from news organizations as they are from friends and family, and they find that news somewhat more accurate and just as near to their interests. Beyond just online news, Americans place as much trust in the information they get from news organizations as they do in information coming from family and friends – though there is a not a lot of trust placed in either. Only about two-in-ten trust information from local or national news organizations “a lot,” and 14% say the same of information from family and friends. At least three-quarters express some or a lot of trust in the information from each. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Media Sectors, News Media Trends, News Sources

Jul 7, 2016 7:00 am

Biggest share of whites in U.S. are Boomers, but for minority groups it’s Millennials or younger

Most common age in U.S., by race and ethnicity

There were more 24-year-olds in the U.S. than people of any other age in 2015. But for white Americans, 55 was the most common age, according to Census Bureau data.

In the histogram above, which shows the total number of individuals of each age last year, non-Hispanic whites tend to skew toward the older end of the spectrum (more to the right), while minority groups skew younger (more to the left).

Among whites, more Baby Boomers than MillennialsOne reason that non-Hispanic whites are disproportionately older than Americans overall is that they were the biggest population gainers from the post-World War II baby boom – an era before many of today’s minority immigrants entered the country. Whites were the only racial or ethnic group in which Baby Boomers (27% of whites) outnumbered Millennials (21%) in 2015. Read More

Topics: African Americans, Asian Americans, Demographics, Generations and Age, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Population Trends

Jul 6, 2016 7:00 am

Support for NATO is widespread among member nations

NATO receives mostly positive reviews from member nations surveyedNATO members will hold a summit this week in Warsaw, Poland, at a time when the alliance is facing many challenges, including political uncertainty in Europe. But a spring 2016 Pew Research Center survey of nine EU nations, the U.S. and Canada finds positive views of the military alliance.

A median of 57% across the 11 NATO member countries surveyed voiced favorable views of the coalition, with only about a quarter (median of 27%) expressing negative opinions.

The alliance’s strongest support among the countries surveyed comes from the Dutch and Polish. However, an overwhelming majority of Greeks express negative views, setting them apart as the most critical member of NATO included in the survey. Meanwhile, Americans regard NATO favorably by a more than two-to-one margin. Read More

Topics: International Governments and Institutions, International Organizations, International Threats and Allies, Wars and International Conflicts

Jul 5, 2016 7:00 am

5 facts about America’s political independents

The share of independents in the United States stands at its highest point in more than 75 years of public opinion polling. However, a substantial majority of independents have not fully declared their independence from the two major parties. Most say they “lean” toward a party. As we found in our recent study on political animosity, partisan leaners don’t have especially positive views of the party they lean toward, yet they feel very negatively about the opposing party. Nevertheless, partisan leaners share many of the political values of – and tend to vote similarly to – members of party they lean toward.

Here are five facts about political independents.

1Share of political independents has continued to growIndependents outnumber either Democrats or Republicans. A Pew Research Center analysis that examined partisan affiliation from 1992 to 2014 found that, in 2014, 39% of the public identified as independents, which was larger than the shares calling themselves Democrats (32%) or Republicans (23%). In 2004, roughly equal shares identified as Democrats (33%), independents (30%) and Republicans (29%).

However, most independents express a partisan leaning: In 2014, 17% of the public leaned toward the Democratic Party while 16% leaned toward the GOP; just 6% declined to lean toward a party. When the partisan leanings of independents were taken into account, 48% either identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic; 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Political Attitudes and Values, Political Party Affiliation, U.S. Political Parties

Jul 1, 2016 10:45 am

How the public views the secret to America’s success

Compared with many other countries in the world, Americans stand out for their patriotism. But surveys show that Americans disagree over what’s behind their country’s success.

Pew Research Center’s political values survey has consistently found that overwhelming majorities agree with the statement, “I am very patriotic.” In 2012, 89% agreed with this statement; the share agreeing had never fallen below 85% in the survey’s 25-year history.

Why has U.S. been successful? Younger adults point to its ‘ability to change’But when asked whether the U.S. owed its success more to its “ability to change” or its “reliance on long-standing principles,” 51% of Americans attributed its success to the ability to change, while 43% pointed to reliance on long-standing principles.

The question was one of many measures about the country and its future we examined for our 2015 survey on government performance. For most Millennials and Gen Xers, the country’s success was associated with its ability to change. About six-in-ten Millennials (62%), ages 18 to 34 in 2015, and 51% of Gen Xers (then ages 35 to 50) said the U.S. had been successful because of its ability to change. Read More

Topics: Baby Boomers, Generations and Age, Millennials, Political Party Affiliation, Political Typology

Jul 1, 2016 9:00 am

Racial, gender wage gaps persist in U.S. despite some progress

White men out-earn black and Hispanic men and all groups of women

Large racial and gender wage gaps in the U.S. remain, even as they have narrowed in some cases over the years. Among full- and part-time workers in the U.S., blacks in 2015 earned just 75% as much as whites in median hourly earnings and women earned 83% as much as men.

Looking at gender, race and ethnicity combined, all groups, with the exception of Asian men, lag behind white men in terms of median hourly earnings, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. White men are often used in comparisons such as this because they are the largest demographic group in the workforce – 33% in 2015.

White men had higher hourly earnings than all except Asian men in 2015In 2015, average hourly wages for black and Hispanic men were $15 and $14, respectively, compared with $21 for white men. Only the hourly earnings of Asian men ($24) outpaced those of white men.

Among women across all races and ethnicities, hourly earnings lag behind those of white men and men in their own racial or ethnic group. But the hourly earnings of Asian and white women ($18 and $17, respectively) are higher than those of black and Hispanic women ($13 and $12, respectively) – and also higher than those of black and Hispanic men.

While the hourly earnings of white men continue to outpace those of women, all groups of women have made progress in narrowing this wage gap since 1980, reflecting at least in part a significant increase in the education levels and workforce experience of women over time.  Read More

Topics: Gender, Income Inequality, Race and Ethnicity, Work and Employment