Jan 8, 2016 8:55 am

Q&A: Why Millennials are less religious than older Americans

While the U.S. public in general is becoming less religious, the nation’s youngest adults are by many measures much less religious than everyone else. Indeed, one of the most striking findings in the recently released Religious Landscape Study is that Millennials (young adults born between 1981 and 1996) are much less likely than older Americans to pray or attend church regularly or to consider religion an important part of their lives.

Michael Hout, Professor of Sociology, New York University. (Credits: New York University; Eva Seto)
Michael Hout, Professor of Sociology, New York University. (Credits: New York University; Eva Seto)

Recently, we sat down with Michael Hout, a professor of sociology at New York University, to examine possible reasons Millennials are generally not as religious as older Americans. Hout, who has spent years studying generational and religious changes in the United States, is the author or co-author of a number of books, including “Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years.”

By many measures of religious commitment, Millennials are less religious than older Americans. Why do you think this is?

Most age differences at any given time are the legacy of the times people grew up in. Many Millennials have parents who are Baby Boomers and Boomers expressed to their children that it’s important to think for themselves – that they find their own moral compass. Also, they rejected the idea that a good kid is an obedient kid. That’s at odds with organizations, like churches, that have a long tradition of official teaching and obedience. And more than any other group, Millennials have been and are still being formed in this cultural context. As a result, they are more likely to have a “do-it-yourself” attitude toward religion. Read More

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

Jan 7, 2016 12:00 pm

In 21 states, local newspapers lack a dedicated D.C. reporter covering Congress

Recent shifts in the media landscape have meant big changes within the Washington press corps – including a decline in the number of Washington-based reporters who work for local newspapers. Between 2009 and 2014, the number of D.C.-based reporters for local newspapers around the country who are accredited by the Senate to cover Congress declined by 11%, according to data from the U.S. Senate Press Gallery, which accredits Capitol Hill journalists.

In 21 states, local newspapers have no reporters on Capitol HillPapers that do employ these reporters – who are tasked in part with interpreting the decisions and policies of Washington for readers back home – are not clustered in any one part of the country, but rather are spread out around the United States. But 21 of 50 states do not have a single local daily newspaper with its own dedicated D.C. correspondent accredited to cover Congress.

While these 21 states tend to have smaller populations and thus small congressional delegations, there are notable exceptions. Arizona and Indiana (both with a nine-member delegation) have no local paper with its own dedicated D.C. correspondent.

Read More

Category: Sortable Table

Topics: Community Media, Congress, Federal Government, Newspapers, State of the News Media

Jan 7, 2016 9:55 am

6 takeaways about how parents monitor their teen’s digital activities

Parents have long faced the dilemma of when to step back and when to take a more hands-on approach with their kids. Technology has added a new wrinkle to that problem: Today’s parents must navigate how, when and to what extent they oversee their teens’ online and mobile activities.

A new Pew Research Center report on parents of 13- to 17-year-olds finds that parents take a wide range of actions to monitor their teen’s digital life and to encourage their child to use technology in an appropriate and responsible manner.

Here are six takeaways from the report:

1A majority of parents check their teen’s web history or social media profile, while fewer use tech-based parental controls Parents are keeping a close eye on their teen’s digital life, but few do so by tech-based means. Roughly six-in-ten parents say they have either checked which websites their teen has visited or looked at their teen’s social media profile. And about half say they have looked through their teen’s phone call records or messages. But few parents are utilizing more technical measures – such as parental controls or location tracking tools – to monitor their teen.

2A majority of parents employ “digital grounding” or restrict their teen’s online access. Sixty-five percent of parents say they have taken away their teen’s internet privileges or cellphone as punishment, while half of parents limit how often their teen can be online. Pew Research Center surveys have found that 92% of teens say they go online daily, with 24% using the internet “almost constantly,” and nearly three-quarters of teens have access to a smartphone. Therefore, “digital grounding” is a potentially potent form of discipline. But limiting online screen time isn’t always a consequence of bad behavior: 55% of parents say they limit the amount of time their teen can go online, regardless of behavior. Moreover, parents of younger teens are especially likely to place limits on their teen’s internet use. Read More

Topics: Online Privacy and Safety, Social Media, Teens and Technology, Teens and Youth

Jan 7, 2016 7:00 am

The Middle East’s sectarian divide on views of Saudi Arabia, Iran

Wide variation in favorability of Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle EastThe recent execution of Shia leader Nimr al-Nimr, along with dozens of other prisoners, by the Saudi Arabian government has sparked a furor in the Middle East. The storming of the Saudi Embassy amid protests in Iran, a predominantly Shia Muslim nation with long-standing animosity toward predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia, has led to the cutting of diplomatic ties between the two powers. Saudi allies in the region, such as Bahrain, have followed suit.

The tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are often characterized as sectarian – that is, Iran and its Shia allies versus Saudi Arabia and its Sunni brethren. And this characterization plays out to a large degree in public attitudes toward the two countries in five Middle Eastern nations Pew Research Center surveyed in spring 2015. In Jordan, a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, 78% of the public have a favorable view of Saudi Arabia, compared with only 8% who have a positive opinion of Iran.

Read More

Topics: Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam

Jan 6, 2016 2:03 pm

Around half of newspaper readers rely only on print edition

This weekend, Boston Globe editorial employees received an unusual request: Could anyone run a paper route? Due to problems with the paper’s new distributor, some home subscribers had not received their print editions. About 200 Globe workers responded to the call, and hand-delivered copies to local residents.

Although the paper announced Tuesday that it was returning to its old distributor for help with home deliveries, the Globe situation is a reminder that even in the digital era, many local news consumers still rely on the print product for their news.

Around half of newspaper readers only read in print

Read More

Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Media Trends, News Sources, Newspapers

Jan 6, 2016 12:02 pm

A new estimate of the U.S. Muslim population

Total American Muslim population share projected to growPew Research Center estimates that there were about 3.3 million Muslims of all ages living in the United States in 2015. This means that Muslims made up about 1% of the total U.S. population (about 322 million people in 2015), and we estimate that that share will double by 2050.

Our new estimate of Muslims and other faiths is based on a demographic projection that models growth in the American Muslim population since our 2011 estimate and includes both adults and children. The projection uses data on age, fertility, mortality, migration and religious switching drawn from multiple sources, including the 2011 survey of Muslim Americans. Read More

Topics: Muslim Americans, Muslims and Islam, Population Projections, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation

Jan 5, 2016 1:11 pm

5 facts about guns in the United States

As President Barack Obama unveils a new initiative aimed at curbing gun violence this week, the public’s attitudes about gun policy will garner renewed attention. Here are some key facts about gun attitudes from recent Pew Research Center surveys:

1Partisan views of gun proposalsAmericans have shown broad and consistent support for expanded background checks for gun purchasers. In July, 85% of the public – including large majorities of both Republicans (79%) and Democrats (88%) – favored making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks. There also was substantial bipartisan support for laws to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns.

And Pew Research isn’t the only polling organization with these findings. In 2013, a number of other polling organizations found similar results about public views of background checks, asking slightly different questions. A review of more recent polls on this question finds it’s still the case.

Other proposals were more contentious, however. Fully 85% of Democrats, but just 55% of Republicans, supported a federal database to track gun sales. And while 70% of Democrats favored a ban on assault-style weapons, only about half of Republicans (48%) did so. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Gun Control, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Party Affiliation

Jan 5, 2016 10:00 am

Pew Research Center will call 75% cellphones for surveys in 2016

As more Americans go mobile, Pew Research Center will conduct more survey interviews via cellphone

Pew Research Center will increase the percentage of respondents interviewed on cellphones from 65% to 75% in most of its 2016 telephone surveys. We’re making this change to ensure our survey samples properly represent the now roughly half (47%) of U.S. adults whose only phone is a cellphone.

Nine-in-ten Americans have a cellphone, and the share of adults who are cellphone-only has steadily increased since 2004, the year the government began tracking the size of this group. To keep pace with the public’s changing habits and lifestyle, we have increased the percentage of respondents interviewed by cellphone nearly every year since 2009.

Despite the prominence of cellphones in public opinion polling, many outside the field are still unclear what role these devices play in surveys. Here are some frequently asked questions: Read More

Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Polling, Research Methods, Technology Adoption

Jan 4, 2016 10:00 am

Millennials’ views of news media, religious organizations grow more negative

Millennials' ratings of news media, religious organizations declineYounger generations tend to have more-positive views than their elders of a number of institutions that play a big part in American society. But for some institutions – such as churches and the news media – Millennials’ opinions have become markedly more negative in the past five years.

Since 2010, Millennials’ rating of churches and other religious organizations has dipped 18 percentage points: 55% now say churches have a positive impact on the country compared with five years ago, when nearly three-quarters (73%) said this. Views among older generations have changed little over this time period. As a result, older generations are now more likely than Millennials – who are much less likely than their elders to be religious – to view religious organizations positively.  Read More

Topics: Business and Labor, Generations and Age, Millennials, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Religion and Society

Dec 31, 2015 10:02 am

Your favorite Fact Tank data in 2015

When Pew Research Center started the Fact Tank data blog back in 2013, our goal was to present data that would help people better understand the news of the day. But in looking at our top blog posts of 2015, we realized that the pieces we published often made news, too. From Millennials in the workforce to religion in America, our most popular posts told important stories about trends shaping our world.

Here’s a look at some of the themes of 2015’s most popular Fact Tank posts.

1This year’s deadly attacks by radical Islamic groups sparked a hunger for information about Muslims and Islam, as evidenced by the amount of traffic reaching our posts via Web search.

Our five facts about the Muslim population in Europe answered the question: Just how large is Europe’s Muslim population, and how fast is it growing? Another post explored why Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group. And our roundup of key findings about Muslims and Islam published shortly after the Paris attacks answered key questions about Muslims and the Islamic faith.

We also dug into our international polling and found that in nations we surveyed that have significant Muslim populations, there is much disdain for ISIS – but in a few countries, such as Pakistan, favorable views were not insignificant.  Read More

Topics: Education, Internet Activities, Middle Class, Millennials, Muslims and Islam, Religious Affiliation, Taxes, Unauthorized Immigration