May 2, 2014 9:00 am

How religious harassment varies by region across the globe

In nearly three out of every four countries of the world, religious groups experience harassment by individuals or groups in society. The harassment and intimidation take many forms, including physical or verbal assaults; desecration of holy sites; and discrimination against religious groups in employment, education and housing. Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Restrictions on Religion

May 2, 2014 7:00 am

Support for al Qaeda was low before (and after) Osama bin Laden’s death

views of al qaeda among muslims

Three years ago, U.S. Navy Seals led a raid into Abbottabad, Pakistan, which resulted in the death of the most infamous terrorist of our lifetime, Osama bin Laden. His death was met with more relief than happiness among the American public at the time, but it’s also worth remembering that, prior to his killing, confidence in the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks had slipped among Muslims in many of the countries we surveyed.

The Pew Research Center has been polling on issues of extremism in majority-Muslim nations for many years. Support for al Qaeda, the terrorist organization that bin Laden founded, was low among the Muslim publics surveyed when we first asked the question in 2010, and remained low in 2013, two years after bin Laden’s ignominious end. Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, Terrorism

May 1, 2014 2:48 pm

In Germany, U.S., polls find little support for military aid to Ukraine

U.S., German public opinion on UkrainePresident Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet at the White House on Friday, and likely to be high on the agenda is an issue that has been the subject of public opinion polls in both countries — what stance to take towards Russia in the Ukraine crisis.

Six-in-ten Germans say their country should stand together with the U.S. and the western allies in the face-off with Russia, according to the ARD-DeutschlandTREND poll conducted April 28-29. But the survey suggests there are some different currents at work in looking at sentiment in both countries.

The action most favored by Germans (69%) in response to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine is economic and financial support for Ukraine, a measure that both governments have backed.

Germany has big economic interests in Russia, and while solid majorities support standing with the allies and giving economic aid to Ukraine, Germans are more skittish about the imposition of economic sanctions against Russia; half of those surveyed said they were in favor. (That represents a 12-point increase since March.)  Read More

Topics: Eastern Europe, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Foreign News, International Threats and Allies, Wars and International Conflicts

May 1, 2014 7:00 am

5 facts about prayer

May 1 is the National Day of Prayer in the U.S.

Today is the National Day of Prayer, on which presidents annually proclaim that “the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.” The day has spawned a rival National Day of Reason on the same day, started by opponents of the National Day of Prayer.

Here are five facts about prayer, including survey data on Americans’ prayer habits and historical instances of prayer intersecting with the government:

Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Apr 30, 2014 3:56 pm

Botched execution in Oklahoma renews death-penalty debate

chart of death penalty support over timeTuesday night’s botched execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett is renewing debate about how, and whether, the U.S. should continue to impose the death penalty. Though a majority (55%) of Americans in a 2013 Pew Research Center survey said they favored the death penalty for convicted murderers, that was the lowest support level in four decades; support has been falling for the past two decades. (Gallup’s most recent poll on the subject, from this past October, found 60% support, also the lowest in more than 40 years.)

While that survey didn’t ask people why they supported or opposed the death penalty, a 2011 survey (which found 62% support for capital punishment), did. Roughly half (53%) of supporters said death was the appropriate punishment for murder; as one respondent put it, “You kill someone, you get the same deal.” 15% of supporters cited the cost of keeping prisoners locked up for life (or, as one respondent said, “If you took a life you should lose your life rather than the people having to pay for you to watch TV and sit around in jail”). Only 6% of death-penalty supporters cited a deterrent effect. Read More

Topics: Death Penalty

Apr 30, 2014 2:27 pm

5 facts about the modern American family

The classic nuclear family, the kind imprinted on the American imagination by TV shows like Leave It To Beaver, has been left behind. In 1960, 37% of households included a married couple raising their own children. More than a half-century later, just 16% of households look like that.

Here are 5 facts about the modern family:  Read More

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Family and Relationships, Household and Family Structure, Intermarriage, Marriage and Divorce

Apr 30, 2014 11:56 am

Long-term unemployment is still high; new research suggests geography could be one reason

chart of unemployment duration
Median number of weeks unemployed people have been out of work (seasonally adjusted). Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

One of the defining features of the Great Recession and not-so-great recovery has been the surge in long-term unemployment. As of March, more than 3.7 million Americans had been out of work for more than six months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the median duration of unemployment (seasonally adjusted) was 16.3 weeks — down from the record high of 25 weeks in mid-2010, but well above pre-recession norms.

Analysts have advanced several explanations for the persistence of long-term unemployment: an unintended consequence of extending jobless benefits; a mismatch between the skills unemployed workers have and what employers want; a breakdown in the efficiency of labor markets; or simply bad timing. Whatever the reason, it’s a major concern for policymakers, who fear that many of the long-term unemployed may never find their way back into the workforce. Read More

Topics: Work and Employment

Apr 30, 2014 11:11 am

Data Feed: Millennials and midterms, America’s global role, Homeownership rate hits low

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Americans divided on prospects for two state solution in Mideast, Pew Research Center
Americans want to pull back from world stage, topline, WSJ/NBC News
8.7% of Congress members have come from ‘dynastic’ families, Washington Post
What college towns tell us about midterm elections, The Wall Street Journal
23% of young Americans say they will definitely vote in midterms, topline, Harvard
Analysis: Younger millennials not as Democratic as older millennials, Washington Post
Poll shows no leader in wide-open GOP race, Washington Post
Florida voters back gay marriage, immigrant in-state tuition, Quinnipiac

Read More

Category: Data Feed

Apr 30, 2014 10:51 am

Illegal immigration by boat: A dangerous, but common way of entering Europe

Illegal migration by boat highest in Europe 2013
Every year, tens of thousands of migrants from poor and war-stricken countries attempt a risky journey by boat for what they hope will be a better life in Europe, according to EU border patrol agency, Frontex, who counts the number of migrants apprehended by border patrols along Europe’s shores.

Nearly 300 migrants drowned last year just half a mile off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, and in the last week the Italian navy has rescued thousands from the rough seas off the Sicilian coast. With the number of migrants waiting to travel to Europe by sea suggested by one immigration official to be in the hundreds of thousands Italian leaders are debating the $12 million monthly cost of those rescue efforts. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration

Apr 29, 2014 1:13 pm

Mobile apps collect information about users, with wide range of permissions

Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The Supreme Court will hear two cases this term about whether police can search the contents of a mobile device without a warrant.

The legal boundaries of technology and privacy have become more urgent to address as mobile connectivity has become central to Americans’ lives. According to the Pew Research Center 58% of adults own smartphones and 42% own tablet computers. Half of American cell phone owners have downloaded apps to their mobile devices.

Apps are pieces of software that allow users to interact with mobile services, from online banking, to news and games and driving directions. When they download apps, many users may not realize the apps collect information about them. The cases before the high court could clarify whether police searches of smartphones, including app content, without a warrant represent “unreasonable search and seizure” and violate citizens’ privacy in a new technological era. Read More

Topics: Mobile, Privacy and Safety