One-in-five adults who don’t have kids that believe in Santa still plan on a visit from Santa this year.
A new Pew Research survey makes one thing clear: Santa is not just for children. A significant share of Americans will pretend that Santa Claus visits their home on Christmas Eve, even some who don’t have kids. Seven-in-ten parents (69%) with at least one child under age 18 say they plan to pretend that Old St. Nick visits their house on Christmas Eve this year.
But even among parents whose children don’t believe in Santa, or adults who are not parents, about one-in-five plan on a visit from him. About one-third of U.S. adults say Santa Claus will drop in on them Christmas Eve, including 23% of those ages 65 and older. Even 11% of people who say they do not celebrate Christmas say they plan to get a visit from Kris Kringle.
Some young adults who are not parents may go through the Santa routine for the benefit of siblings that still believe, and older adults may do so for grandchildren and other young family members. Holiday traditions and nostalgia are also possible reasons Santa remains a part of people’s Christmas routine. Among U.S. adults overall, 72% say they typically got a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve when they were children.
Category: Daily Number
Topics: Religious Beliefs and Practices
Many people may not know that less than 1% of the world’s Christians live in the place where Christianity began — the Middle East-North Africa region. With only about 4% of its residents identifying as Christian, the region’s share of Christians is the smallest in the world, according to a 2011 Pew Research report. There are more Christians living in Indonesia (24 million) than in the region where Jesus of Nazareth was born (13 million as of 2010).
Although all Christians in the Middle East live as a minority, roughly nine-in-ten Christians worldwide live in countries where they are in the majority. Of the 232 countries and territories included in our 2012 Global Religious Landscape survey, roughly two-thirds have Christian majorities.
How much do you know about the world’s Christian population? How many Christians are there? Which country has the largest Catholic population, and which has the largest number of Protestants? Take our short, ten-question quiz on the global Christian population and test your knowledge.
We first did this back in September, when we examined how many substantive laws had been enacted by that point in the year and compared the current Congress to the previous seven. (We deliberately chose an expansive definition of “substantive,” excluding only purely ceremonial legislation such as post-office renamings and commemorative-coin authorizations.) At that time, we concluded that while the current Congress was “on track to be one of the least productive,” it hadn’t quite made it there yet.
However, as of today (and after extending our analysis back to the 104th Congress of 1995-96), the 113th has passed fewer substantive measures than any Congress in two decades — just 55 laws, versus 63 in 2011 (the first year of the 112th Congress, itself one of the least productive in recent history). Overall, the current Congress has enacted only 65 laws, according to the Library of Congress’ THOMAS website and the White House’s log of signed legislation.
Of course, there are other ways to measure Congress’ job performance. House Speaker John Boehner has said that Congress “should not be judged on how many new laws we create, we ought to be judged on how many laws that we repeal,” though it bears noting that that would require passing a repeal measure, which itself would count as substantive legislation by our definition. At any rate, the current Congress hasn’t repealed any laws either (despite dozens of votes to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act).
Earlier this month, The New York Times calculated that the House had been in session a total of 942 hours in 2013 (not counting brief pro-forma sessions) — “the fewest hours in a nonelection year since 2005, when detailed information about legislative activity became available.” By contrast, according to the Times, the House was in session 1,200 hours in 2011, 1,350 hours in 2005 and nearly 1,700 hours in 2007. However, the National Journal argued that much of the work of members of Congress takes place off the floor.
In the course of conducting public opinion surveys and demographic analyses, the Pew Research Center found a wide range of data milestones, breakthroughs, peaks and valleys in 2013, including record support for same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana; record levels of distrust of the federal government; record numbers of mothers who were the primary breadwinners for their families; and record numbers of Millennials living with their parents. Here is a look at the highs and lows Americans reached this year, according to our data.
1Just over half (51%) of the public now favors same-sex marriage, while 42% are opposed.
The state where people most rely on their cellphones isn’t, as you might think, a busy metropolis (like New York) or a city crowded with texting college students (like Boston). It’s scenic, sparsely populated Idaho, where as of last year more than half (52.3%) of adults lived in households that had cut the landline-phone cord completely.
That’s according to a recent report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, which has tracked the rise of wireless-only households since 2003. Close behind Idaho were Mississippi, where 49.4% of adults lived in wireless-only households, and Arkansas (49% of adults). Washington, D.C. came in fifth at 46%, just behind Utah, but New York was clustered near the bottom with several other Northeastern states, with 23.5% of adults in wireless-only households. Where you’re most likely to find a landline: New Jersey, where 78.9% of households have one (regardless of how much they use it).
Topics: Internet Activities
About eight-in-ten non-Christians in the U.S. celebrate Christmas.
Nearly all U.S. Christians (96%) say they celebrate Christmas. No big surprise there. But a new Pew Research Center survey also finds that 81% of non-Christians in the United States celebrate Christmas, testifying to the holiday’s wide acceptance – or, at least, its unavoidability – in American society.
Non-Christians are a diverse group. They include Americans who are religiously unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics and people who describe themselves, religiously, as “nothing in particular”), of whom 87% celebrate Christmas.
Category: Daily Number
Polling organizations devote a great deal of attention to the wording of survey questions, but they need to be just as concerned about how questions are ordered. The context in which a specific question is asked, particularly what directly precedes a question in a telephone interview, often has an impact on the way people respond.
In our most recent survey on the budget deficit, we asked three separate, but similarly worded questions of 1,024 respondents: Whether it is more important to take steps to reduce the budget deficit or: 1) to keep spending for programs that help the poor and needy at current levels; 2) to keep military spending at current levels; 3) to keep Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are. The order in which the three were asked was randomized, meaning that different respondents were asked the questions in a different sequence.
The survey found that among all respondents, 69% prioritized maintaining current Social Security and Medicare benefits over reducing the budget deficit; in March 2013, somewhat fewer (57%) said this.
On the surface, this appears to be a substantial change in opinion. But in the past, the question comparing Social Security and Medicare benefits with deficit reduction was asked alone. In the current survey, because we wanted to address more than one area of spending relative to the deficit, it was randomized along with questions on military spending and programs for the poor, meaning that for about two-thirds of respondents the question about Social Security followed questions about other deficit tradeoffs. Read More →
Topics: Research Methodology
Among 38 of the world’s more developed nations, the United States has the least liberal government policies regarding paid parental leave, leading some to argue that this puts American women at a disadvantage as they navigate their careers.
Millions, if not billions, of people around the world start (and often continue) their days with a hot, stimulating beverage. And despite the popularity of yerba mate in Argentina and its neighbors, for most people the pick-me-up of choice is coffee or tea. But, as economic geographers and market analysts have long known, most countries show a distinct preference for one or the other — a legacy of geopolitics, colonial expansion and shifting trade patterns.
This map from The Economist (aggregating data on 79 countries from market-research firm Euromonitor International) clearly delineates the coffee and tea blocs. Coffee predominates in the Americas and in continental Europe, while tea is preferred in most of Asia and the former Soviet Union. Read More →
Category: Chart of the Week
A third of Americans say commercialism is what they like least about the holidays.
A new Pew Research Center survey asked respondents an open-ended question (with multiple responses accepted): What do you like the least about Christmas or the holiday season?
The three top responses all involve shopping or money: a third of Americans (33%) say they dislike the commercialism or materialism of the holidays; roughly one-in-five (22%) cite the high expenses of the season or the expectation of buying gifts; and one-in-ten (10%) mention shopping or crowded stores.
Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of the public (86%) plan to buy gifts this year. Americans may be spending somewhat less on Christmas gifts than in previous years, but they’re still forking over a considerable amount. Americans will spend an average of $740 this year on the holiday, down from $770 last year, according to a Gallup poll. (The figure declined sharply in the midst of the recession, falling from $866 in 2007 to $616 in 2008; it has since rebounded somewhat, but not to pre-recession peaks.)
Our Christmas survey also asked what people look forward to the most about Christmas. A majority (69%) say they look forward to spending time with family and friends. A smaller number say they look forward to the religious elements of the holiday (11%). By comparison, 4% cite giving or exchanging gifts, and 1% mention shopping.
Category: Daily Number