Mar 1, 2017 10:01 am

Most violent and property crimes in the U.S. go unsolved

Only about half of the violent crimes and a third of the property crimes that occur in the United States each year are reported to police. And most of the crimes that are reported don’t result in the arrest, charging and prosecution of a suspect, according to government statistics.

In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, 47% of the violent crimes and 35% of the property crimes tracked by the Bureau of Justice Statistics were reported to police. Those figures come from an annual BJS survey of 90,000 households, which asks Americans ages 12 and older whether they were victims of a crime in the past six months and, if so, whether they reported that crime to law enforcement or not.

Even when violent and property crimes are reported to police, they’re often not solved – at least based on a measure known as the clearance rate. That’s the share of cases each year that are closed, or “cleared,” through the arrest, charging and referral of a suspect for prosecution. In 2015, 46% of the violent crimes and 19% of the property crimes reported to police in the U.S. were cleared, according to FBI dataRead More

Topics: Criminal Justice, Federal Government, Social Values, Violence and Society

Mar 1, 2017 8:50 am

How to access Pew Research Center survey data

Pew Research Center regularly makes available the full datasets that underlie most of our reports. We typically do not publish the dataset at the same time as the report. That’s because it takes some time for us to complete all reporting for a given study and to clean and prepare the data for public release. The lag time varies by study, and some data (including surveys of certain populations, such as scientists or foreign policy experts) are never released, in order to protect respondent confidentiality. Survey data are cleaned to remove any information that could be used to identify individual respondents.

There are two ways to locate available datasets. You can go to this page and click on the research area in which you are interested. Or you can go to the research area’s page on the Center’s website, where you will find a “Datasets” or “Data and Resources” section with the available data listed in reverse chronological order by when the survey was fielded.

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Topics: Research Methods

Feb 28, 2017 8:03 am

A look at historically black colleges and universities as Howard turns 150

A graduate waves to family members as she takes her seat for Howard University's commencement in May 2014. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
A graduate waves to family members as she takes her seat for Howard University’s commencement in May 2014. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Prior to the Civil War, higher education opportunities were virtually nonexistent for nearly all black Americans. In the years following the war, more colleges sprang up to meet the educational needs of the newly freed black population. Congress defines a historically black college or university (HBCU) as a school “established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans.”

One of these institutions – Howard University – will celebrate its 150th anniversary on March 2. Founded in 1867, the Washington, D.C., university is not the oldest institution dedicated to educating black Americans, but it has become one of the largest historically black colleges in the nation.

Today, there are 101 HBCUs across the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands – roughly the same as in 1980, but down since the 1930s when there were 121 of these institutions, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Overall enrollment at these schools, including non-black students, has risen over the past several decades, albeit at a much slower rate than at universities overall. NCES figures show that in fall 2015, the combined total enrollment of all HBCUs was 293,000, compared with 234,000 in 1980. By comparison, enrollment at all universities and colleges nearly doubled during this time.

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Topics: Education, Race and Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, North America, African Americans

Feb 27, 2017 11:03 am

Most white evangelicals approve of Trump travel prohibition and express concerns about extremism

While most Americans disapprove of Donald Trump’s recent executive order that would prohibit refugees and travel from some Muslim-majority countries, a recent Pew Research Center survey finds a sizable divide on the issue among the country’s major religious groups.

Most Republicans support and most Democrats oppose the order, which would temporarily prohibit accepting new refugees from Syria into the U.S. and also prevent people (refugee or otherwise) from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

The partisan gap is mirrored by a religious one. About three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants (76%), most of whom identify with or lean toward the GOP, say they approve of the travel ban. In stark contrast, big majorities of black Protestants (84%) and religious “nones” (74%) – two strongly Democratic constituencies – disapprove of the executive order.

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Topics: Immigration, Religion and Society, Religious Extremism, Immigration Trends, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Catholics and Catholicism, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Muslims and Islam, Migration, Religiously Unaffiliated

Feb 24, 2017 5:30 pm

Since travel order lifted, more than 1,800 refugees from affected countries have entered U.S.

More than 1,800 refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have resettled in the U.S. since a federal court judge suspended key parts of an executive order President Donald Trump signed on Jan. 27 that restricted travel from these seven nations, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. Virtually all of these refugees were admitted after a federal court judge suspended the president’s executive order.

Trump’s executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days, with the exception of persecuted religious minorities who would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the order barred entry to the U.S. for 90 days for most people who hold citizenship from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Separately, admission of Syrian refugees was suspended pending a revision of security screening measures.

A week later, on Feb. 3, a federal judge in Washington State suspended key parts of Trump’s order, lifting the seven-country travel restrictions, a decision that was upheld by a federal appeals court. Trump is expected to issue a revised executive order next week that would reinstate travel restrictions but will also change who will be affected in order to address the legal concerns surrounding the first order.  Read More

Topics: Immigration, Middle East and North Africa, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Muslims and Islam, Migration, Donald Trump

Feb 24, 2017 3:01 pm

Most Americans continue to oppose U.S. border wall, doubt Mexico would pay for it

As was the case throughout the presidential campaign, more Americans continue to oppose (62%) than favor (35%) building a wall along the entire U.S. border with Mexico. And while President Donald Trump has said the U.S. would make Mexico pay for the wall, the public is broadly skeptical: 70% think the U.S. would ultimately pay for the wall, compared with just 16% who think Mexico would pay for it.

The proposal to build the wall was one of several contentious issues that loomed over a meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mexican officials this week to discuss immigration and border issues.

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Topics: Immigration, Unauthorized Immigration, U.S. Political Parties, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Political Issue Priorities, Political Polarization

Feb 23, 2017 3:47 pm

Support for 2010 health care law reaches new high

With congressional Republicans discussing proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, public support for the 2010 health care law has reached its highest level on record.

Currently, 54% approve of the health care law passed seven years ago by Barack Obama and Congress, while 43% disapprove, according to a national Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 7-12 among 1,503 adults.

Throughout the law’s history, opinions about the Affordable Care Act have tended to be more negative than positive — or, less frequently, divided. As recently as December, about as many approved (48%) as disapproved (47%) of the law.

The new survey finds that when those who disapprove of the law are asked about what should happen to it now, more want GOP congressional leaders to focus their efforts on modifying the law than on getting rid of it. One-in-four adults want Republican leaders to modify the law, while 17% want them to get rid of it entirely.  Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Health Care, U.S. Political Parties, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Political Issue Priorities

Feb 23, 2017 10:32 am

Q&A with Solomon Messing of Pew Research Center’s Data Labs

Today, Pew Research Center released the first major report from its Data Labs team, examining the degree to which partisan conflict shows itself in congressional communications – specifically, press releases and Facebook posts. We sat down with Solomon Messing, who directs Data Labs, to discuss the report, the project’s mission and the opportunities and challenges that come with using “big data.” The conversation has been edited for space and clarity.

Solomon Messing, director of Pew Research Center's Data Labs
Solomon Messing, director of Pew Research Center’s Data Labs

First off, what does Data Labs do?

We use approaches from the emerging field of what I would call “computational social science” to complement and expand on the Center’s existing research agenda. What we do generally is collect text data, network data or behavioral data and analyze it with new and innovative computational techniques and empirical strategies.

So this goes beyond the Center’s traditional emphasis on public opinion surveys?

Surveys are a fantastic way to study a wide swath of social science questions. The reason to expand into these new areas might be to study things that you can’t get at using survey data – because you can’t survey a particular group of people, or because you need fine-grained evidence about what people do, which they may be unable or unwilling to report accurately in surveys.

In the context of this report, for example, it’s really difficult to study the substance of congressional rhetoric in a survey: We would have had a hard time getting every member of Congress to take a survey, and even if they did they might have trouble reporting exactly how often they “go negative” in their public outreach.

Another key point here is that these approaches allow us to supplement survey data with additional types of data. People might not know the average income in their ZIP code, but using that data can add another dimension to what we know about public opinion.  Read More

Topics: Research Methods, Congress, Data Labs

Feb 22, 2017 3:20 pm

6 facts about black Americans for Black History Month

Since 1976, Black History Month has been celebrated every February to commemorate the accomplishments of black Americans throughout history. Over the past 40 years, blacks have made progress on several fronts, including educational attainment and representation in Congress. Yet large racial gaps persist in areas such as wealth and poverty, and concerns remain about the state of race relations in the country. Here are six facts about black Americans:

1A growing share of blacks are completing high school and college, yet blacks lag behind whites in college completion. High school dropout rates reached an all-time low in 2014 for black students, and the high school completion gap between blacks and whites continues to narrow. In 2015, 93% of whites ages 25 and older had a high school diploma, compared with 88% of blacks the same age – only a 6-percentage-point difference, roughly half of what it was in 2000. The share of blacks ages 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree has also trended upward for several decades. In 2015, nearly a quarter of blacks ages 25 and older (23%) had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 36% of whites and 53% of Asians.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Education, Immigration, Income, Race and Ethnicity, Educational Attainment, African Americans, Income Inequality

Feb 22, 2017 6:54 am

20 years after Dolly the sheep’s debut, Americans remain skeptical of cloning

Twenty years ago today, the world’s first clone made from the cells of an adult mammal made her public debut. Dolly, a Finn Dorset sheep, was introduced to the public in 1997 after scientists at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland implanted the cell nucleus from a sheep into an egg that was subsequently fertilized to create a clone.

Dolly’s debut set off a firestorm about both the practical value and ethics of cloning, including the possibility of human cloning. Currently, more than 40 countries – including the UK, France, Germany and Japan – formally ban human cloning. In other countries, including the U.S. and China, there is no legal prohibition on it.

On the anniversary of Dolly’s unveiling, here are five noteworthy findings about cloning and public opinion:

1 No one has ever cloned a human being, though scientists have cloned animals other than Dolly, including dogs, pigs, cows, horses and cats. Part of the reason is that cloning can introduce profound genetic errors, which can result in early and painful death. At the same time, labs in a variety of countries have successfully cloned human embryos for the purpose of producing stem cells that can be used in medical therapies.

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Topics: Religion and Society, Science and Innovation, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Bioethics, Emerging Technology Impacts