Apr 16, 2015 11:04 am

Car, bike or motorcycle? Depends on where you live

Last year, we asked people in 44 countries whether they owned certain household items such as microwaves, televisions or radios. We did this in part to explore whether owning more household goods has an effect on life satisfaction – and, indeed, owning more key items increases happiness by a substantial amount.

We also asked whether people have a car, bicycle or motorcycle in their home, and we found major variations of ownership by region around the world. One caveat: We didn’t ask about whether people used these items, just whether they had one in working order. People might primarily use other forms of transportation, such as public transit or walking, in their daily lives. Nevertheless, we found notable differences between economically advanced nations, emerging markets and developing countries:

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Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Socioeconomic Class, World Economies

Apr 15, 2015 12:01 pm

Europe projected to retain its Christian majority, but religious minorities will grow

In the coming decades, Europe is expected to have fewer Christians and more Muslims and other religious minorities, according to Pew Research Center projections. But while these changes will be significant, they will not radically alter the continent’s religious composition.

Largely due to low fertility rates across the continent, Europe is the only region of the world where the overall population is projected to decline in total number (by almost 50 million) between 2010 and 2050. The number of Christians in Europe is forecast to drop by about 100 million, from about 553 million to 454 million, and an increasingly small share of the world’s Christians will live in Europe.

Still, in 2050, almost two-thirds of all Europeans (65%) are expected to identify as Christian (this does not imply that most will be regular churchgoers). By contrast, roughly three-quarters of Europeans identified as Christian in 2010. Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Europe, Muslims and Islam, Population Projections, Religious Affiliation

Apr 15, 2015 7:00 am

For the U.S. and Japan, legacy of WWII is still painful

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Washington this month, he will become the first Japanese leader to speak before a joint session of Congress, seven decades after the end of World War II, in which the two countries were enemies.

U.S., Japan, WWIINearly a third of Americans cite World War II as the event that stands out when they think about relations between the United States and Japan, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. By contrast, only 17% of Japanese say WWII is the most significant occurrence in modern bilateral ties.

Nonetheless, the devastating event of the U.S. dropping atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 has long divided Americans and Japanese. Today, 56% of Americans believe the use of nuclear weapons was justified; 34% say it was not. In Japan, only 14% say the bombing was justified versus 79% who say it was not. Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Wars and International Conflicts

Apr 14, 2015 1:00 pm

Why some Americans have not changed their privacy and security behaviors

A string of revelations over the past two years about the National Security Agency’s domestic and international surveillance efforts have brought new awareness to many Americans about online privacy and security concerns. Yet most American adults have not made significant changes to their digital behavior, and 54% say that it would be “somewhat” or “very” difficult to find the tools and strategies that would enhance their privacy online and when using cellphones, according to a Pew Research Center report.

Majority Think Enhancing Their Privacy Protections Would Be Difficult

Why haven’t most Americans taken a more aggressive approach to protecting their digital data? When we asked respondents to tell us in their own words, several possible – and sometimes overlapping – reasons emerged: Read More

Topics: Federal Government, Internet Activities, Online Privacy and Safety, Surveillance

Apr 14, 2015 12:00 pm

6 facts about marijuana

Attitudes about marijuana have undergone a rapid shift in public opinion, paralleled by few other trends in the U.S. Our recent data, along with historical figures from Gallup and the General Social Survey, reveal how views have shifted about the drug over time. Our most recent survey, conducted in March 2015, finds that many more Americans now favor shifting the focus of the nation’s overall drug policy. Here are six key facts about public opinion and marijuana:

FT_15.04.14_marijuanaLegalization1Support for marijuana legalization is rapidly outpacing oppositionA slim majority (53%) of Americans say the drug should be made legal, compared with 44% who want it to be illegal. Opinions have changed drastically since 1969, when Gallup first asked the question and found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use. Much of the change in opinion has occurred over the past few years — support rose 11 points between 2010 and 2013 (although it has remained relatively unchanged since then).  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Drugs

Apr 14, 2015 10:35 am

On Equal Pay Day, key facts about the gender pay gap

Today marks “Equal Pay Day,” the date that symbolizes how far into the new year the average American woman would have to work to earn what the average American man did in the previous year.

Both men and women see inequalities in the workplace – 77% of women and 63% of men said “this country needs to continue making changes to give men and women equality in the workplace,” according to a Pew Research Center survey last fall.

According to the White House, full-time working women earn 77% of what their male counterparts earn. This means that women have to work approximately 60 extra days, or about three months, to earn what men did by the end of the previous year. However, our own estimate, which is based on hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers, finds women earn 84 percent of what men earn. Based on our estimate, it would take approximately 40 days, or until the end of February, for women to earn what men had by the end of last year. Read More

Topics: Gender, Work and Employment

Apr 14, 2015 10:05 am

Muslims expected to surpass Jews as second-largest U.S. religious group

Two trends that are already well underway – the decline of Christians and the growth of religiously unaffiliated people as a share of the U.S. population – are expected to continue in the decades ahead, according to the Pew Research Center’s projections of major religious groups around the world.

But, if current demographic trends hold, there also will be other significant changes in the U.S. religious landscape: Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion in the country and, by 2050, Muslims are projected to be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.

Due in part to their continued migration into the country, Muslims are forecast to make up 2.1% of the U.S. population in 2050, up from 0.9% in 2010. Two other major factors are driving Muslim growth: They currently have the highest fertility rate and the youngest median age of any major religious group in the U.S. Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Jews and Judaism, Muslims and Islam, North America, Population Projections, Religious Affiliation

Apr 14, 2015 7:00 am

The smartphone: An essential travel guide

As Americans are increasingly using mobile technology to access online information on the go, they are turning to mobile devices to help them get from one place to another.

Young adults are especially likely to use their smartphone for navigationDespite the growing popularity of ride-hailing applications such as Uber and Lyft, the biggest transportation use of smartphones by far has to do with driving rather than sharing a ride. Fully 67% of smartphone owners use their phone at least occasionally to get turn-by-turn navigation while driving, with 31% doing so frequently, according to a recent Pew Research Center report on how Americans use their phones.

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Topics: Internet Activities, Mobile, Technology Adoption

Apr 13, 2015 1:24 pm

The biggest U.S. tax breaks

Tax expendituresWith just a few days to go until the April 15 tax filing deadline, we’re sure some Americans are still sweating over their 1040s, Schedule A’s and self-employment tax worksheets. Here’s something for taxpayers to consider: the more than $1.3 trillion worth of tax breaks that are allowed under the U.S. tax code.

That’s the total estimated impact for fiscal year 2015 of the more than 200 “tax expenditures” – government lingo for tax breaks – that come in the form of exemptions, deductions, credits and other special breaks, according to an annual staff report from the Joint Committee on Taxation. Even that $1.3 trillion figure is an understatement, as the report only gives specifics for a break if it’s estimated to cost the government $50 million or more per year. Dozens of provisions in the tax code fall below that threshold. Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Taxes

Apr 13, 2015 12:26 pm

Hillary Clinton’s nomination would end long Cabinet drought

No Cabinet Member Has Been Nominated for President Since 1928

Hillary Clinton’s long-awaited announcement that she is indeed running for president represents more than just the possibility that she could become the first woman president, or even the first former first lady to move back into the White House by general election. Should Clinton win the Democratic nomination next year, she’d be the first former Cabinet secretary in 88 years to become a major party’s official choice for president.

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Topics: 2016 Election