Feb 10, 2014 1:13 pm

Few in LGBT community see pro sports as friendly


Just 4% of LGBT adults in the U.S. said that professional sports leagues are friendly toward LGBT people.

Michael Sam could become the first openly gay player in the NFL after coming out publicly to ESPN over the weekend. Sam finished his college career as a star defensive lineman at the University of Missouri and is eligible for the NFL draft in May.

DN_Sports_LGBT2Several major American sports leagues have yet to feature an active, openly gay male player, and LGBT Americans have negative feelings toward pro sports leagues in general. A Pew Research survey of LGBT adults conducted last year in the U.S. found that just 4% saw pro sports leagues as friendly toward LGBT people, while a majority (59%) saw the leagues as unfriendly and 36% saw them as neutral.

Only 2% of LGBT Americans mentioned sports figures when they were asked about which public figures at the national level they saw as important to advancing their rights.

Although Sam said his teammates at Missouri were supportive after he came out to them last summer, an article on Sports Illustrated’s website includes anonymous quotes from several NFL executives and coaches questioning the league’s readiness for an openly gay player in a locker room, with some predicting that Sam’s announcement could cause him to be selected later in the draft.

Former NBA player Jason Collins announced that he is gay last year, but the 35-year-old center has not played in the league since his announcement.

Category: Daily Number

Feb 10, 2014 11:19 am

Data Feed: Biggest nonprofit donors, what world’s Catholics think, favorite first ladies

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Americans like Michelle Obama, except for GOP conservatives, Pew Research Center
Democrats are from cities, Republicans are from exurbs, Daily Kos
51% in Colorado say legalization of marijuana is bad for state’s image, Quinnipiac

A look at consumption inequality, 1992-2012, Chris Walker
State-by state projections for 2014 job growth, The Pew Charitable Trusts
More people quitting their jobs as optimism grows, The Wall Street Journal
Workforce participation highest in cities, lowest in rural counties, The Wall Street Journal
5 facts on poverty, inequality and mobility, Brookings
Sales of $2 million+ homes booming in California, The Wall Street Journal
High prices show stresses in New England natural gas system, EIA

Read More

Category: Data Feed

Feb 10, 2014 7:00 am

Americans like Michelle Obama, except for conservative Republicans


The Obama administration has had its share of ups and downs during the last five years when it comes to how the public sees it, but there’s been at least one constant on the positive side — the large number of Americans who have a favorable view of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Since becoming first lady, Obama’s favorable ratings have never been lower than 62%, a far better showing than that of her husband, who was in the 70s during the early months of his presidency but whose favorability has mostly been in the 50s since summer 2010.

But there’s one faction that isn’t enamored of Michelle Obama: Conservative Republicans see her unfavorably by a roughly two-to-one margin. But even there, she fares better than the president, whom conservative Republicans see unfavorably by 88% to 8%. She is also less of a lightning rod among them than Hillary Clinton was at the same point in her time at the White House.

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Feb 7, 2014 2:02 pm

Chart of the Week: How the Winter Olympics has raised its ‘cool’ factor


With the XXII Winter Olympics now underway in Sochi, some viewers (especially those who remember watching Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill and the Heiden siblings) may experience a bit of disconnect with several of this year’s events. What on earth is the ski halfpipe or snowboard slopestyle, anyway?

Since the early 1990s, as The Economist chart above shows, Olympics organizers have steadily added more and more freestyle skiing, snowboarding and other X Games-style events in a bid to appeal to younger viewers. At Sochi, according to the magazine, 20 of the 98 official events are “cool.” (Wondering what all those mid-air spins and flips are all about? The New York Times asked several athletes to explain their tricks.)

Fiddling with the event lineup is nothing new, though the chart makes clear that the trend has been more about adding than dropping events. (Some of the events you’ll miss out on this year are skijoring, sled dog racing and bandy.) Some of that expansion has been a consequence of opening many sports that for decades were men-only to female athletes (that’s our silver medal Chart of the Week). For the first time this year, for instance, women will compete in ski jumping.

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: International Organizations

Feb 7, 2014 12:02 pm

Sochi Olympics shine spotlight on Russia’s Muslim population


Security has been among the main storylines leading up to the Winter Olympics, set to begin in Sochi, Russia. Sochi is not far from the city of Volgograd, the target of several recent suicide bombings, and according to The Associated Press, up to 100,000 security personnel have been deployed to guard against potential terrorist acts.

A new Pew Research survey finds that many Americans say holding the Olympics in Russia was a bad idea – citing security concerns as the reason. In Russia, attention is focused on potential threats from the restive North Caucasus region, just east of Sochi. The battlefield for two wars between Chechen separatists and the Russian military in the 1990s and 2000s, the North Caucasus continues to be the site of violent clashes between government forces and Muslim extremists. One Islamist leader in the region, Doku Umarov, has urged his followers to disrupt the Olympics.

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Topics: Muslims and Islam, Religion and Government

Feb 7, 2014 11:39 am

Data Feed: Low-wage breadwinners, record expatriations, Texas Hispanics

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Texas Hispanics tilt Democratic, but state likely to stay red, Gallup
The state-by-state odds of Republicans winning the Senate, The Monkey Cage
Obama and mass deportation, The Economist

Payrolls up 113,000, weaker than expected; jobless rate 6.6%, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Charting the current state of the labor market, BLS
The rise of the low-wage breadwinner, CNN Money
The demographic engine of city growth, DemoMemo
Students from “quality” high schools do better in college, NBER

Read More

Category: Data Feed

Feb 7, 2014 10:57 am

Parenthood and happiness: It’s more complicated than you think

Credit: Fabrice LEROUGE
Credit: Fabrice LEROUGE

For most parents (most of the time) their children are a source of happiness and joy. But as is often the case, social science research offers a more complicated view of the relationship between being a parent and being happy.

A recent study by researchers from Princeton University and Stony Brook University found little difference between parents and non-parents in terms of overall life satisfaction, once you control for factors such as marital status, income, education and religion. Another recent study from the U.K.’s Open University found that couples without children tend to be happier with their relationships and feel more valued by their partners than those with children. And Jennifer Senior’s new book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood explores what the author sees as a historical shift toward “child-centric” parenting and the impact this is having on parents’ happiness. Read More

Topics: Parenthood

Feb 7, 2014 9:04 am

Who smokes in America?

FT_14.02.06_WhoSmokes_310pxDrugstore chain CVS has received a lot of attention, most of it positive, for its decision to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by Oct. 1. The company expects to lose $2 billion in sales to tobacco shoppers, though it says it’s identified unspecified “incremental opportunities that are expected to offset the profitability impact.” It’s worth noting, though, that CVS is leaving a shrinking business: Not only do fewer Americans smoke, but those who still do are smoking less.

In 2011, 19% of adult Americans, or 43.8 million, were current cigarette smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent National Health Interview Survey. Those figures are down  from 22.3% (or 45.8 million) in 2002, though smoking prevalence has hovered around 20% for the past several years. By contrast, in 1965 — a year after the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health — 41.9% of U.S. adults smoked. As recently as 1979, fully a third did so.

Smoking rates today are highest among the poor and less-educated, according to government data. For instance, 29% of people living below the official poverty level smoke, versus 17.9% of people at or above poverty. People whose highest educational level is a General Educational Development (GED) certificate — typically high-school dropouts — are nine times more likely to smoke than people with graduate degrees (45.3% versus 5%).

Smoking rates vary considerably by geography. The highest rates in the 2009-2011 period were in nonurban counties in the South (31.9%) and small towns in the South (31%) and Midwest (30%). The lowest rates are in big Western cities (15%) and their suburban fringes (16.9%). Read More

Topics: Health

Feb 6, 2014 2:30 pm

New census data show more Americans are tying the knot, but mostly it’s the college-educated

FT_adults-newly-marriedMarriage is back – at least, a little bit, and with some caveats. Recently released Census data indicate that the number of new marriages in the U.S. went up in 2012, reversing a three-year decline. Since marriage is tied to economic mobility, some economists may interpret this development as a small sign that shows the U.S. economy is improving. But a closer look at the data shows some reason for caution.

The new data show that 4.32 million adults (ages 18 or older) were newlywed in 2012, a 3% percent increase over the 4.21 million adults newly married in 2011. (The data do not include same-sex couples.)

Is the uptick in newly married adults due to the national economic recovery that officially began in June 2009?  It is certainly possible. There’s already a fairly vigorous debate about to what extent marriage and divorce are affected by economic activity.  Some researchers have shown that marriage rates did not decline significantly during the Great Recession.  And others have cautioned that it is difficult to conclude that the recession accelerated the retreat from marriage , so it seems premature to assert too much from the new data. Read More

Topics: Marriage and Divorce

Feb 6, 2014 2:01 pm

Obama advocates for global religious freedom at a time of high restrictions


About two-thirds of the world’s population lives in countries with high or very high government restrictions on religion.

In a speech at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, President Obama talked about what he sees as the importance of religious freedom. He observed that it’s “clear that around the world freedom of religion is under threat. … We see governments engaging in discrimination and violence against the faithful.” He said the U.S. “will keep standing for religious freedom around the world.”

A recent Pew Research study quantified the levels of government restrictions on religion – as well as social hostilities involving religion – in 198 countries and territories around the world. As of 2012, 29% of the nations studied had high or very high levels of government restrictions on religion (according to our measure), with 64% of the global population living in those countries.


Obama mentioned several countries specifically, including China. He said when he meets with Chinese leaders, he stresses “that realizing China’s potential rests on upholding universal rights, including for Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists, and Uighur Muslims.”

China has had very high government restrictions on religion in each of the six years of the study (since 2007), and was among the most restrictive in the world in 2012. In terms of social hostilities involving religion, China moved into the “high” category for the first time in the study in 2012.

Category: Daily Number