In a report released today, the Pew Research Center estimates that there were 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States in 2012, compared with an estimated 11.5 million in 2011. But there’s a lot more to those numbers than meets the eye, and they’re not comparable to previously issued Pew Research estimates. To help explain how the new numbers were derived and how to interpret them, we spoke with senior demographer Jeffrey S. Passel, who’s been researching the unauthorized-immigrant population for more than three decades. An edited transcript follows:
Explain your basic approach to estimating the number of unauthorized immigrants.
The basic method we used is the same as before: We make an estimate of how many immigrants are in the country legally, and we have a government survey that measures how many immigrants total are in the country. Then we subtract the legal immigrants from the total.
Former Chongqing Communist Party boss Bo Xilai was given a life sentence yesterday, ending China’s most high profile political trial in decades. With plot lines involving bribery, adultery, and murder, the courtroom drama drew considerable attention in China and around the world. The Financial Times called it “the OJ Simpson trial and the life of Paris Hilton rolled into one.”
The case of Bo Xilai highlights an increasing central issue in Chinese politics: political corruption.
A median of 20% across 39 countries have a favorable view of Iran
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran is making a diplomatic push for better relations with the U.S. as he prepares to attend the UN General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday. As a part of this effort, the newly elected Iranian president penned an op-ed for the Washington Post calling for more constructive engagement with the West. In response, there are suggestions that President Obama may meet with Rouhani in New York, which would be the first such meeting between the country’s respective leaders since 1977. Read More →
Category: Daily Number
In The Sun Also Rises, impoverished Scottish war veteran Mike Campbell is asked how he went bankrupt. “Two ways,” he replies. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
That pretty well describes how Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy protection this summer.
A stellar analysis of the city’s troubled financial history by the Detroit Free Press concluded that Detroit’s bankruptcy was the result of decades of poor decisions by city leaders — failure to trim payroll in the 1960s and 1970s as the city’s population and property-tax base began to fall, heavy borrowing to cover operating expenses in recent years, mismanagement of urban redevelopment projects, paying $1 billion in pension bonuses from 1985 to 2008, and much more. The paper distilled five decades’ worth of data into a series of graphics (of which this is just one) and accompanying text that clearly lay out a series of lost opportunities to avoid tumbling into a fiscal black hole.
“There have been periods of economic growth and hope, such as in the 1990s when the population decline slowed, income-tax revenue increased and city leaders balanced the budget,” the paper states. “But leaders failed to take advantage of those moments of calm to reform city government, reduce expenses and protect the city and its residents from another downturn.”
Category: Chart of the Week
Nearly seven-in-ten Americans say large banks and financial institutions have benefited the most from post-recession government policies.
The public sees clear winners and losers as a result of the government’s economic policies following the recession that began in 2008.
In the public’s view, the beneficiaries of these policies are large banks and financial institutions, large corporations and wealthy people, according to a survey conducted earlier this month. Sizable majorities say government policies have helped all three at least a fair amount – 69% say that about large banks and financial institutions, 67% large corporations and 59% wealthy people.
Meanwhile, fewer than a third say policies implemented by the government following the recession have helped the poor, middle class and small businesses. Roughly seven-in-ten say government policies have done little or nothing to help the poor (72%), the middle class (71%) and small businesses (67%).
There has been little change in these perceptions since the question was last asked in July 2010.
The public had a dim view of assistance that the government gave to banks and financial institutions during the recession, after the 2008 fiscal meltdown threatened many of them. A Feb. 2012 survey found that 52% of Americans thought bailing out the banks through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was the wrong thing to do, while 39% supported the action. That was a big turnaround from 2008 when the crisis hit in 2008 and 57% had said TARP was the right thing to do.
Category: Daily Number
The pope said that the Roman Catholic church cannot be “obsessed” with imposing certain doctrines and that he wants to “find a new balance.” Although he did not directly mention abortion, gay marriage and contraception in that immediate context, he had referred specifically to those three issues earlier.
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible,” Francis told Antonio Spadaro, editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal.
The church teaches that abortion, artificial contraception and homosexual activity are wrong. However, majorities of American Catholics have opinions on contraception and homosexuality that run counter to church doctrine.
In an interview with Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart on Tuesday, President Obama said that it would be difficult to halt the deportation of immigrants living in the country illegally without the approval of Congress.
Five years ago, the collapse of investment banking firm Lehman Brothers ushered in the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. What may not be as vividly remembered is how the economic disaster that occurred just weeks before Election Day changed the media’s campaign coverage, and perhaps the outcome, of the presidential race.
Pew Research Center data analyzing the tone and focus of media coverage through the final stretch of that election showed how that coverage shifted dramatically in mid-September 2008 to focus on the financial crisis and the media narrative grew increasingly critical of Republican candidate John McCain. During this same period, our public opinion survey data indicate that what had essentially been a deadlocked contest between McCain and Obama before the Lehman meltdown turned into a solid lead for Obama in the weeks that followed. Read More →
Since Pew Research released its latest News IQ Quiz on Sept. 5, more than 250,000 people have taken our 13-question challenge. Now equipped with about two weeks of data, we decided to analyze how our online quiz-takers performed versus the general public who participated in the same survey.
The results are in: In our national survey of 1,052 randomly selected adults, Americans answered an average of 6.3 out of 13 questions correctly, including 1% who got them all correct. By contrast, those who have taken the quiz online so far have averaged 9.7 correct answers, with 9% getting perfect scores.
Topics: Public Knowledge
This week, House Speaker John Boehner agreed to tie funding of the government to defunding Obamacare, as conservative members of his caucus have demanded. This proposal may be unlikely to survive the Democratic-controlled Senate, not to mention the president’s veto pen, but recent Pew Research Center surveys show that it is clearly in step with the attitudes of the GOP primary-voting base. Most GOP primary voters not only oppose the Affordable Care Act, but they want elected officials who oppose it to take action to make it fail.
Topics: Health Care