Jun 2, 2015 1:55 pm

Interfaith marriage is common in U.S., particularly among the recently wed

Marrying within the faith is still common in the United States, with nearly seven-in-ten married people (69%) saying that their spouse shares their religion, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. But a comparison of recent and older marriages shows that having a spouse of the same religion may be less important to many Americans today than it was decades ago.

Interfaith MarriageOur Religious Landscape Study found that almost four-in-ten Americans (39%) who have married since 2010 have a spouse who is in a different religious group. By contrast, only 19% of those who wed before 1960 report being in a religious intermarriage.

Many of these recent interfaith marriages are between Christians and the religiously unaffiliated (sometimes called “nones”). Of all U.S. adults married since 2010, almost one-in-five (18%) are in marriages between a Christian and a religiously unaffiliated spouse. This is true for only 5% of those who married before 1960. Read More

Topics: Intermarriage, Marriage and Divorce, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Jun 1, 2015 2:30 pm

The darkest side of online harassment: Menacing behavior

Forty percent of adult internet users have personally experienced some kind of online harassment, most of it involving things like name-calling or attempts to embarrass someone.

Online HarassmentBut there are also more menacing forms of harassment, such as physical threats. That was the focus of a decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned the conviction of a man who had made violent threats on Facebook against his estranged wife.

The case involved a Pennsylvania man who had written posts on the social media site saying that he wanted to slit the throat of his estranged wife. The argument pitted prosecutors against free-speech advocates over whether the man’s posts constituted a “true threat” or whether it was “protected speech” under the First Amendment. Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Social Media

Jun 1, 2015 10:59 am

How Millennials’ political news habits differ from those of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers

News Sources, Millennials, Baby BoomersIt’s been well documented that younger adults differ from their elders in their news habits, both in the platforms they use and the sources they rely on. A Pew Research Center report released today looks specifically at the political news habits of Millennials, and how they vary from the two generations before them. Here are five key takeaways from the report:

1Millennials rely on Facebook for their news far more than any other source. About six-in-ten online Millennials (61%) report getting political news on Facebook in a given week. Baby Boomers’ political media habits, on the other hand, are strongly rooted in local TV: A majority of them (60%) say they turn there for political news. Millennials’ relatively low reliance on local TV (37% watch political news there in a given week) almost mirrors Baby Boomers’ low reliance on Facebook (39%). Gen Xers bridge the gap, with about equal portions of online adults in this generation getting political news from Facebook (51%) and local TV (46%). Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Digital Media, Generations and Age, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Media Trends, News Sources, Social Media, State of the News Media

May 29, 2015 11:59 am

What Americans think about NSA surveillance, national security and privacy

Fourteen years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and two years after Edward Snowden’s revelations about extensive U.S. government surveillance of phone and internet data, Americans continue to have mixed – and sometimes conflicting – views about government surveillance programs.

On the one hand, a majority of Americans oppose the government collecting bulk data on its citizens, and two-thirds believe there aren’t adequate limits on what types of data can be collected. But at the same time, Americans generally support monitoring the communications activity of suspected terrorists. Here’s a rundown of what we know about attitudes toward U.S. government surveillance, at home and abroad: Read More

Topics: National Security, Online Privacy and Safety, Surveillance

May 28, 2015 3:30 pm

5 facts about the death penalty

Where the Death Penalty Has Been Abolished in the U.S.

Nebraska this week became the 19th state to ban the death penalty – a practice that a majority of Americans still support, but in declining numbers. Earlier this month, a federal jury sentenced one of the Boston Marathon bombers to death, despite a poll showing that the local public favored life imprisonment instead. And by the end of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case involving whether Oklahoma’s lethal injection methods amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Although there have been fewer executions in recent years than there were in the 1990s, 31 states still have the death penalty on their books, as does the federal government. Here are five facts about the issue:

Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Criminal Justice, Death Penalty

May 28, 2015 7:00 am

What we know about Cuba’s economy

Two-thirds of Americans favor an end to the decades-long U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, a January Pew Research Center study found, and the two nations reportedly are making progress on re-establishing diplomatic relations. As the communist government continues to slowly reform Cuba’s economy, American businesses – from airlines to law firms – are exploring commercial opportunities on the island nation. But even if the embargo were to be lifted, it’s not clear just what sort of Cuban economy those businesses would find. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Globalization and Trade, Latin America, World Economies

May 27, 2015 11:29 am

Q&A: A look at what’s driving the changes seen in our Religious Landscape Study

David Campbell, University of Notre Dame
David Campbell, director, Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, University of Notre Dame

Based on more than 35,000 interviews, the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study presented a detailed portrait of an America where changes in religious affiliation have affected all regions of the country and many demographic groups.

The survey’s findings raise questions about why these changes are occurring.

Fact Tank sat down with David Campbell, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, to explore what the new findings mean. Campbell is the author of a number of books on religion, including (along with Robert Putnam) “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.”

For you, what stands out as the most important new finding or findings in the Religious Landscape Study? Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Jews and Judaism, Millennials, Mormons and Mormonism, Muslim Americans, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religiously Unaffiliated, Research Methods

May 26, 2015 1:34 pm

5 facts about Latinos and education

Educational attainment among U.S. Latinos has been changing rapidly in recent years, reflecting the group’s growth in the nation’s public K-12 schools and colleges. Over the past decade, the Hispanic high school dropout rate has declined and college enrollment has increased, even as Hispanics trail other groups in earning a bachelor’s degree.

High School Dropout Rate, By RaceHispanics cited education as a top issue in 2014, ranking alongside the economy and above health care and immigration in importance, a Pew Research Center survey found.

Economic factors remain an obstacle for enrollment, however. In a 2014 National Journal poll, 66% of Hispanics who got a job or entered the military directly after high school cited the need to help support their family as a reason for not enrolling in college, compared with 39% of whites.

Here are five facts about Latinos and education: Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Education, Educational Attainment, Race and Ethnicity, School Enrollment

May 26, 2015 7:00 am

Lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans differ from general public in their religious affiliations

Although many lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults feel that most major faiths are unwelcoming to their community, a majority of LGB adults are religiously affiliated, according to a new Pew Research Center study. But they are much less likely to be Christian than the general public and are more drawn to smaller, non-Christian denominations.

About 5% of the 2014 Religious Landscape Study’s 35,000-plus respondents identified themselves as members of the LGB population. Of that group, 59% said they are religiously affiliated. But only 48% of them reported belonging to a Christian faith group, compared with 71% of the general public.

Religious Composition by Self-Reported Sexual Identity

Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation

May 22, 2015 3:00 pm

Memorial Day: About half of veterans of post-9/11 wars served with someone who was killed

Veteran Salutes Flag During Parade
Retired Army 1st Sgt. William Staude, of Elliott, Pa., salutes the U.S. flag being carried by soldiers from the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. Credit: The U.S. Army

The practice of dedicating a day to honoring America’s war dead has its roots in the years immediately after the Civil War — though it wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday by Congress to honor the fallen of all wars.

47% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans served with someone who was killed during their serviceThe day will be an intensely personal experience for many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts — about half (47%) said that they served with a comrade that had been killed, according to a Pew Research Center survey of veterans conducted in 2011. That number rises to 62% among soldiers who were in combat.

Service members who were seriously wounded or knew someone who was killed or seriously wound were more likely to say the wars were worth fighting. In the case of Iraq, 48% of these veterans said the war was worth fighting compared with 36% among those not exposed to casualties. For Afghanistan, the margin saying the war was worth fighting was higher — 55% to 40%.  Read More

Topics: Military and Veterans, Wars and International Conflicts