Dec 18, 2015 7:00 am

Most U.S. Christian groups grow more accepting of homosexuality

Almost all Christian groups now more accepting of homosexualityAcceptance of homosexuality is rising across the broad spectrum of American Christianity, including among members of churches that strongly oppose homosexual relationships as sinful, according to an extensive Pew Research Center survey of U.S. religious beliefs and practices.

Amid a changing religious landscape that has seen a declining percentage of Americans who identify as Christian, a majority of U.S. Christians (54%) now say that homosexuality should be accepted, rather than discouraged, by society. While this is still considerably lower than the shares of religiously unaffiliated people (83%) and members of non-Christian faiths (76%) who say the same, the Christian figure has increased by 10 percentage points since we conducted a similar study in 2007. It reflects a growing acceptance of homosexuality among all Americans – from 50% to 62% – during the same period.

Among Christians, this trend is driven partly by younger church members, who are generally more accepting of homosexuality than their elder counterparts. For example, roughly half (51%) of evangelical Protestants in the Millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1996) say homosexuality should be accepted by society, compared with a third of evangelical Baby Boomers and a fifth of evangelicals in the Silent generation. Generational differences with similar patterns also are evident among Catholics, mainline Protestants and members of the historically black Protestant tradition. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Mormons and Mormonism

Dec 17, 2015 9:55 am

5 key takeaways about parenting in changing times

The landscape of the American family has changed dramatically in recent decades. In the wake of these changes, a new Pew Research Center report looks at the challenges parents face in raising their children and how parenting approaches differ across demographic groups.

Here are some key findings from the report:

1A declining share of children live in two-parent households. Today, 69% of children younger than 18 are living with two parents, down from 87% in 1960. A record-low 62% of children live with two married parents, while 7% live with two cohabiting parents. Meanwhile, the share of children living in single-parent households has increased threefold, from 9% in 1960 to 26% in 2014.

The rising prevalence of divorce, remarriage and cohabitation has caused other changes in family living arrangements, even among those living in two-parent households. In 2014, fewer than half of children (46%) lived in a household with two married parents in their first marriage, down from 73% in 1960. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Parenthood, Socioeconomic Class, Teens and Youth

Dec 17, 2015 7:00 am

Views on gaming differ by race, ethnicity

About half of U.S. adults (49%) report playing video games on a computer, television, game console or mobile device, and whites, blacks and Hispanics are all equally likely to say they have done so, according to a new Pew Research Center report. But there are some differences among those groups when it comes to how they see gaming.

Today’s gaming population is a more diverse one than in previous years because smartphones and tablets have had a mainstreaming effect on who plays games, according to Dmitri Williams, associate professor at the University of Southern California’s School for Communication and Journalism. But one of the gaps that stand out is between those who play games and those who self-identify as a gamer, Williams said.

Blacks somewhat more likely to find positive attributes in video games, less likely to say they are a waste of timeHispanics are more likely than whites or blacks to categorize themselves as gamers. Some 19% of Hispanics say the term “gamer” describes them well, compared with 11% of blacks and 7% of whites. (Pew Research Center also found that identifying as a gamer varies by gender and age.)

Racial and ethnic differences are evident in other areas. Hispanics are the most likely racial or ethnic group to see a link between violent video games and actual violence. Half (52%) of Hispanics agree with the statement that people who play violent video games are more likely to be violent themselves, compared with 39% of blacks and 37% of whites.

Across several questions, blacks generally hold more positive views about video games. Some 19% of blacks say that most games promote teamwork and communication, compared with 10% of Hispanics and 8% of whites. Blacks are also more inclined to agree that most video games help develop good problem solving and strategic thinking skills – 22% hold this view, versus 18% of Hispanics and 15% of whites. Read More

Topics: Online Gaming, Race and Ethnicity

Dec 16, 2015 2:15 pm

Americans’ views of Fed depend on their politics

The U.S. Federal Reserve
Photo Credit: Hisham Ibrahim, Getty Images

Conservative Republicans skeptical of the Federal ReserveWith the Federal Reserve raising interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, views of the institution are not immune from today’s politically polarized climate. In 2014, roughly half of Americans (47%) had a favorable opinion of the Fed and 37% had an unfavorable view. But Republicans, especially conservative Republicans, were more likely to view the institution unfavorably.

Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents expressed favorable opinions of the Fed by a roughly two-to-one margin (57% vs. 28%). Only 39% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said the same, while nearly half (48%) expressed an unfavorable opinion. Read More

Topics: Economic and Business News, Economic Policy, Economic Recession, Federal Government, National Economy

Dec 16, 2015 7:00 am

Americans divided on government’s role in space exploration

From the moon landings to Star Wars, Americans have long had a fascination with space and affection for NASA, but today’s public is divided on what role their government should play in future space exploration.

Americans less supportive of government playing major role in space explorationAmong 13 areas asked about in Pew Research Center’s recent report on views of government, nearly half of U.S. adults (48%) say the federal government should play a minor or no role in advancing space exploration. This includes 39% who say government should have only a minor role and 9% who think it should have no role at all.

On the other hand, 47% of U.S. adults say the federal government should have a major role in advancing space exploration, making it the only area measured that does not have majority support for major government involvement. This stands in contrast to other issues such as curtailing terrorism, responding to natural disasters and ensuring food and medicine safety, for which a vast majority of Americans think government should be heavily involved. Read More

Topics: Federal Government, Science and Innovation

Dec 15, 2015 4:13 pm

5 facts about Republicans and national security

When Republican presidential candidates meet in Las Vegas tonight for their sixth debate, terrorism, foreign policy and national security are expected to be major topics. Here are five facts about Republicans and their views on these issues, based on a new survey released today:

1For Republicans, international concerns now dominate. When asked about what they feel is the nation’s most important problem, 42% of Republicans cite an international concern – terrorism, the Islamic militant group ISIS or another national security issue – while just half as many (21%) mention an economic issue. That’s a dramatic reversal from a year ago. In December 2014, just one-in-ten Republicans (11%) mentioned an international issue – 3% said national security or defense issues, 2% said the wars and 1% said terrorism – while more than a third (38%) cited an economic issue.

2Most Republicans see ‘overwhelming military force’ as best way to defeat global terrorismRepublicans broadly support an aggressive approach toward ISIS and global terrorism. Twice as many Republicans as Democrats favor the use of U.S. ground forces to fight Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria (66% vs. 33%). More generally, there are stark partisan differences over how the United States should deal with global terrorism.

Fully 72% of Republicans say that using overwhelming force is the best way to defeat global terrorism. Among Democrats, just 27% favor the use of overwhelming military force, while 66% say relying too much on military force creates hatred that leads to more terrorism. Read More

Topics: Foreign Affairs and Policy, Muslims and Islam, National Security, Political Attitudes and Values, Terrorism, U.S. Political Parties

Dec 14, 2015 2:42 pm

America’s middle class is shrinking. So who’s leaving it?

FT_15.12.14_middleIncomeShifts (1)

Over the past four decades, the American middle class has been shrinking relative to upper- and lower-income groups, both of which represent bigger shares of the population than at any time since at least 1971, a new Pew Research Center report finds.

Which raises the question: Which industries and occupations are more likely to offer opportunities for middle- and upper-income jobs? A follow-up analysis finds that, as you might expect, the upper-income tier has grown the most in the financial and natural-resources industries (think oil and gas), and among executives and managers. At the same time, the lower-income tier increased the most among retail sales workers and “operators,” a grouping of mostly blue-collar manufacturing-type jobs.

Read More

Topics: Income, National Economy, Socioeconomic Class

Dec 11, 2015 11:35 am

Patriotic, honest and selfish: How Americans describe … Americans

Most Americans say the 'typical American' is patriotic, intelligent - and selfishThe American public has shown itself to be quite critical in its views of politicians and the federal government, expressing low levels of trust in both. Yet a recent Pew Research Center survey of attitudes about government also finds that Americans pull no punches when assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their fellow citizens.

The public gives the “typical American” a mixed assessment when asked about specific traits. Most (79%) agree that the term “patriotic” describes the typical American very or fairly well, and majorities also view the typical American as “honest” (69%) and “intelligent” (67%).

However, just over two-thirds (68%) say the term “selfish” also applies to the typical American very or fairly well, and half of the public says that the typical American can be aptly described as “lazy.” Read More

Topics: Millennials, Political Attitudes and Values, Social Values

Dec 11, 2015 9:45 am

Twins, triplets and more: More U.S. births are multiples than ever before

Newborn Triplets

The share of multiples born in the U.S. is at an all-time high, according to recently released data from the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2014, 3.5% of all babies born were twins, triplets or higher-order multiples, accounting for almost 140,000 births.

After decades of stability, multiple births on the riseWhile multiples still make up a small share of all births, this marks a dramatic increase since 1915 – the first year for which reliable data are available – when about 2% of all births were multiples. In fact, the share of multiples remained quite constant for decades until the 1980s, when it started to tick up.

This growing market for double strollers might reflect a shift in Americans’ lifestyles. First, as women delay childbearing into their 30s and beyond, their likelihood of having multiples – even in the absence of medical intervention – naturally rises. Second, the increasing use of fertility treatments, such as hormone therapy or in vitro fertilization (IVF), further bolsters the likelihood of multiple births.  Read More

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Generations and Age, Population Trends

Dec 10, 2015 1:02 pm

As smog hangs over Beijing, Chinese cite air pollution as major concern

Most days, air quality in Beijing is unhealthy or worse

Beijing experienced more than 200 days of air pollution categorized as “unhealthy” or worse in 2014, including 21 days that were “hazardous” – while only about 10 days were considered “good,” according to data gathered by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

This week, smog was so severe that authorities declared a “red alert” for the first time, closing down schools, halting construction and limiting car traffic. The alert came during a week when negotiators at the U.N. climate summit in Paris accused China of trying to weaken a global accord, and a month after a report that China has been burning up to 17% more coal a year than it previously disclosed. Read More

Topics: China, Energy and Environment