Oct 25, 2017 11:30 am

How Americans, Mexicans see each other differs for those closer to border

The border city of Tijuana, in the Mexican state of Baja California, as seen from the U.S. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)
The city of Tijuana, Mexico, along its border with the U.S. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

Amid tense relations between the United States and Mexico, one of the factors affecting the way Mexicans and Americans view each other is proximity to the border. But border-dwellers in the two countries don’t lean the same way: Americans living in parts of southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are less favorable toward Mexico than Americans further from the border, while in Mexico those near the boundary between the two countries are more positive toward the U.S. than other Mexicans.

Nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) living within 200 miles of the border hold a favorable view of Mexico, compared with 66% in other parts of the U.S. The reverse is true on the Mexican side: 41% of Mexicans who live within 200 miles of the U.S. border have a favorable view of the U.S. compared with only 28% of those who live further away.

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Topics: U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, Mexico, Latin America

Oct 25, 2017 6:59 am

Many minority students go to schools where at least half of their peers are their race or ethnicity

Blacks and Hispanics make up 15.5% and 25.4% of the U.S. public school population, respectively. Yet large shares in each group attend schools where their own race or ethnicity accounts for at least half of students, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Department of Education data.

Meanwhile, whites, who continue to make up by far the largest share of the U.S. public school population, tend to go to schools where half or more of students are white.

In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, 44.1% of black public elementary and secondary school students attended schools where at least half of their peers were also black. Among Hispanics, 56.7% went to schools where at least half of students were also Hispanic. Read More

Topics: Educational Attainment, Education, Race and Ethnicity

Oct 24, 2017 2:16 pm

Understanding Pew Research Center’s political typology

Pew Research Center’s new political typology report is our seventh such study since 1987. Like its predecessors, this year’s typology is an effort to go beyond partisanship and categorize people based on the combination of political values they hold as a way of better understanding the complexities of the current political landscape.

The 2017 typology study is a companion to our recent study on the growing partisan divide in American politics. While the first report documents how gaps between Republicans and Democrats have grown over time, the typology provides a look at internal divisions within both the Republican and Democratic coalitions. Both reports draw on a pair of surveys conducted with a total of 5,009 adults nationwide this summer.

The typology divides the public into eight political groups – four largely Republican groups and four largely Democratic groups – along with a ninth group of less politically engaged Americans, whom we call Bystanders. See where you fit in the typology by taking our quiz.

Who are the political typology groups?

Core Conservatives: In many ways the most traditional group of Republicans. Overwhelmingly support smaller government and lower corporate taxes, and a majority think U.S. involvement in the global economy is a good thing.
Country First Conservatives: Older and less educated than other GOP-leaning typology groups. Unhappy with the nation’s course, highly critical of immigrants and wary of U.S. involvement abroad.
Market Skeptic Republicans: Stand out from other Republican-oriented groups in their negative views of the economic system. Skeptical of banks and financial institutions, and support raising taxes on corporations
New Era Enterprisers: Optimistic about state of the nation and its future. Younger and somewhat less overwhelmingly white than other GOP typology groups. Most say U.S. involvement in the global economy is a good thing and that immigrants strengthen the nation.
Devout and Diverse: Majority nonwhite, highly financially stressed, religiously observant and older than other Democratic-leaning groups. The most politically mixed typology group, with about a quarter leaning Republican. Take somewhat more conservative views than other Democratic-leaning groups on a number of issues.
Disaffected Democrats: Majority-minority group and highly financially stressed. Have positive feelings about the Democratic Party and its leaders, but are highly cynical about politics, government and how things are going in U.S.
Opportunity Democrats: Less affluent, less liberal and less politically engaged than Solid Liberals, though the two groups agree on many major issues. Believe most people can get ahead if they work hard.
Solid Liberals: Largest group in the Democratic coalition. Highly educated and largely white. Express liberal attitudes on virtually every issue. Say the nation should be active in world affairs.
Bystanders: A relatively young, less educated group that pays little or no attention to politics.

Here are answers to some questions that are often asked about the political typology.

Do the groups in the political typology correspond to groups in the real world?

Some typology groups are more immediately recognizable as real-world groups than others. In particular, the most ideologically consistent groups, Solid Liberals and Core Conservatives, are familiar anchors of the two parties. To some degree, this is because they are the most politically engaged groups – their political “voices” are louder than those of other groups.

Mirroring some of the internal party divisions in the Republican Party playing out today, Country First Conservatives differ from Core Conservatives in key ways (though the two groups are similarly strong in their GOP partisanship). They are unhappy with the nation’s course, highly critical of immigrants and deeply wary of U.S. global involvement.

Less politically engaged groups, such as Disaffected Democrats or Devout and Diverse – both within the Democratic coalition – don’t necessarily correspond to organized groups in the political world. One reason is that politics is a peripheral concern for many people, especially for people who don’t fit comfortably within either party. The relatively low level of interest in politics, as well as a sense of futility regarding the ability to influence political decisions, reduces the incentive to organize and act, even when a relatively large number of people may have similar political views. But this can be a vicious cycle – people who feel they are “outside” of politics may feel that nobody shares their views. The typology shows that is not the case.

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Topics: Political Typology

Oct 24, 2017 10:00 am

Among developed nations, Americans’ tax bills are below average

As Congress debates a major overhaul of the tax code, it’s an opportune time to take another look at how Americans’ tax bills compare with those of people in other countries. While cross-national comparisons of tax burdens are complicated and tricky, most research has concluded that, at least among developed nations, the United States is on the low end of the range

We looked at 2015 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s database of benefits, taxes and wages, which has standardized data from 39 countries going back to 2008 and allows comparisons across different family types. Some of the tricky part of comparing taxes has to do with calculating benefits – not only do the amounts vary a lot from country to country, but some (such as the U.S.’s earned income tax credit) are run through the tax system, while other benefits are themselves taxable (for example, unemployment compensation in the U.S. but not in Japan or South Korea).

So we chose to focus on a simple measure of tax burden: national-level income taxes plus mandatory social-insurance contributions as a percentage of gross income. We calculated this for four different families: a single employed person with no children; two types of married couples with two children, one with both parents working and the other with one worker; and a single working parent with two children. In all cases, the U.S. was below the 39-nation average – in some cases, well below.

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Topics: Taxes, National Economy

Oct 23, 2017 10:00 am

In polarized era, fewer Americans hold a mix of conservative and liberal views

In political values ranging from views of government and the social safety net to opinions about immigrants, race and homosexuality, Americans are less likely than in the past to hold a mix of conservative and liberal views. At the same time, ideological consistency – the shares of Americans holding liberal or conservative views across a wider range of issues – is increasingly associated with partisanship, a recent Pew Research Center study shows. This reflects a continuation of trends documented in the Center’s 2014 study of political polarization in the American public.

Overall, 32% of Americans now take a roughly equal number of conservative and liberal positions on a scale based on 10 questions asked together in seven surveys since 1994. As recently as 2015, 38% had this mix of values – and 49% did so in 1994 and 2004.

Reflecting growing partisan gaps across most of the individual questions in the scale – even those where both parties have shifted in the same direction – Republicans and Democrats are now further apart ideologically than at any point in more than two decades.

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Topics: Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties

Oct 20, 2017 7:00 am

The most export-dependent places in the U.S. are small counties

The United States is on pace to export more than $2.3 trillion in goods and services this year, representing about 12% of total gross domestic product. With the Trump administration talking tough about renegotiating various trade deals with other countries – or even leaving them altogether – local economies that rely heavily on exports could be significantly affected.

Although counties containing big cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Houston generate the highest dollar volumes of exports, the most export-dependent places tend to be relatively small, often rural or suburban counties whose economies are based on a single industry – or sometimes even a single company or plant. In fact, of the 154 counties or county equivalents where exports accounted for more than a quarter of GDP last year, only 11 had populations above 100,000 and half had fewer than 25,000 residents, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data compiled by the Brookings Institution for its “Export Monitor 2017” report. (Overall, 602 counties and county equivalents, or about 19% of the total, had populations above 100,000 last year.)

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Topics: Globalization and Trade, Economic and Business News

Oct 19, 2017 4:04 pm

After Las Vegas attack, Democrats in Congress were far more likely than Republicans to mention guns on Facebook

The issue of gun policy returned to the political front burner following the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas. And in the week after the attack, partisan differences were on full display in how elected officials responded on Facebook: Among Democratic members of Congress who posted about the attack, 63% mentioned guns, compared with only 2% of congressional Republicans, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

Republicans also were somewhat less likely than Democrats to post about the attack in general: 66% of GOP members with Facebook pages did so between the day of the attack and Oct. 9, compared with 84% of Democrats. (Oct. 9 was chosen as the cutoff date to gauge lawmakers’ early reactions to the shooting.)

In all, 373 out of 503 voting members of Congress who have official Facebook pages posted about the attack at least once during the period studied. The analysis only examined Facebook posts that included text written from a member’s account; posts with only an image, for instance, were excluded.

In addition to tallying the number of posts by lawmakers in each party, the Center’s analysis determined whether each post that discussed guns expressed support for stricter gun policies, opposed stricter policies or did not take a position, based on the language of the post. For instance, one post that was counted as opposing stricter gun policies stated that “no amount of gun control will stop a barbarian,” while a post coded as supporting stricter gun policies referred to a perceived lack of “common-sense reforms to protect human life.”

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Topics: Congress, Gun Policy, Political Polarization, Violence and Society, Data Labs

Oct 18, 2017 9:01 am

In Trump’s first 100 days, news stories citing his tweets were more likely to be negative

President Donald Trump’s prolific Twitter output has become source material for news outlets covering him – and during the early days of his administration, stories that included his tweets stood out from those that did not. They were more likely to have a negative assessment of the administration’s words and actions and to include a challenge by the journalist to something Trump or a member of his administration said, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of more than 3,000 stories across 24 media outlets.

A recent report from the Center found that about one-in-six news stories about the president or the administration (16%) during the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency included one of his tweets. Another element measured in the study was whether statements from the journalist or statements cited in a story gave an overall positive or negative evaluation of the Trump administration’s words or actions – or fell somewhere in between.

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Topics: News Media Ethics and Practices, Social Media, Federal Government, U.S. Political Figures, Donald Trump

Oct 17, 2017 12:00 pm

Amid decline in international adoptions to U.S., boys outnumber girls for the first time

The number of children from outside the U.S. adopted by Americans continued its steady decline in 2016, according to data from the U.S. Department of State. And for the first time on record, males outnumbered females among adoptees from abroad, a trend driven by changing adoption patterns in China.

Americans adopted around 5,370 children from other countries in fiscal year 2016 – 77% fewer than the peak in 2004 and 66% fewer than in 1999, the earliest year for which data on all countries are available. (By comparison, Americans adopted about 53,500 U.S.-born children through public agencies in fiscal 2015, the most recent year for which data from the Health and Human Services Department are available.)

The decline in international adoptions has been driven by a significant drop in adoptions from the five countries where most international adoptees were born: China (which accounts for 78,257 of a total 267,098 adoptees from 1999 to 2016), Russia (46,113), Guatemala (29,805), South Korea (20,318) and Ethiopia (15,317). Together, these five countries have accounted for 71% of all adoptions to the U.S. since 1999, and they have driven 88% of the total decline since 2004.

All five countries have revised their adoption protocols in recent years, making it more difficult for Americans to adopt from these countries. In Russia, a diplomatic rift with the U.S. led to a ban of new American adoptions of Russian children as of 2013. In Guatemala, reports of fraud and corruption within the Guatemalan adoption system prompted the government to suspend new adoptions from the country in late 2007. (The few U.S. adoptions from Russia and Guatemala that occurred after the bans were “transitional” cases – adoptions initiated before the restrictions were in place.) In China, South Korea and Ethiopia, the decrease in international adoption numbers reflects the tightening of domestic laws regarding adoptions in general. The Ethiopian government suspended all international adoptions in April.

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Topics: Global Migration and Demography, Family and Relationships, Household and Family Structure

Oct 16, 2017 2:17 pm

A growing share of Americans say it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral

Most U.S. adults now say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values (56%), up from about half (49%) who expressed this view in 2011. This increase reflects the continued growth in the share of the population that has no religious affiliation, but it also is the result of changing attitudes among those who do identify with a religion, including white evangelical Protestants.

Surveys have long shown that religious “nones” – those who describe themselves religiously as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – are more likely than those who identify with a religion to say that belief in God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality. So the public’s increased rejection of the idea that belief in God is necessary for morality is due, in large part, to the spike in the share of Americans who are religious “nones.”

Indeed, the growth in the share of Americans who say belief in God is unnecessary for morality tracks closely with the growth in the share of the population that is religiously unaffiliated. In the 2011 Pew Research Center survey that included the question about God and morality, religious “nones” constituted 18% of the sample. By 2017, the share of “nones” stood at 25%.

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Topics: Religiously Unaffiliated, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices