Nov 24, 2014 3:16 pm

Immigration changes draw broad public interest

FT_news-interest-11-23-14President Obama’s executive action on immigration, expanding deportation relief to millions of undocumented immigrants, attracted strong public interest last week.

Overall, 39% of the public say they paid very close attention to news about Obama’s policy allowing certain immigrants living in the U.S. illegally to remain in the country. A third (33%) tracked news about the outbreak of the Ebola virus very closely while about as many (31%) tracked news about the Islamic militant group known as ISIS.

Amid anticipation over a grand jury ruling in the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., 25% say they are following developments in the shooting death of Michael Brown very closely. That is on par with interest in the weeks following Brown’s death in August. Read More

Topics: News Interest, Unauthorized Immigration

Nov 24, 2014 12:20 pm

Different destinations for U.S. Hispanics, Latin Americans who leave Catholic Church

Where do former Catholics end up? Differences between U.S. Hispanics and Latin Americans.The share of Catholics in Latin America and among U.S. Hispanics is declining, according to two major Pew Research surveys, including a new poll on religion in 18 Latin American countries and Puerto Rico. But the two surveys also show that while Latin Americans leaving the Catholic Church largely have migrated to evangelical or Protestant churches, many of their Hispanic counterparts in the U.S. are abandoning religion altogether.

Of the nearly one-in-four U.S. Hispanics who have left Catholicism, about half (49%) now say that they are atheist, agnostic or have no particular religion, including 55% of those born in the U.S. and 44% of those born outside the U.S. Roughly four-in-ten (41%) Hispanics who have left the Catholic Church say they have joined Protestant churches.

Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Identity, Latin America, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Nov 24, 2014 9:00 am

Facing challenges, pollsters broaden experiments with new methodologies

With the 2014 election in the rearview mirror, public opinion researchers are taking stock of what was learned from new methodologies employed during the election season.

In July, The New York Times and CBS News announced they would begin including online survey panels from UK-based research firm YouGov as part of their election polling efforts.

Scott Keeter, Pew Research Center’s director of survey research

Efforts like these are becoming more common. Other research organizations, including the Pew Research Center, are working to broaden experiments aimed at dealing with the problems confronting traditional probability-based polls, such as the growing difficulty of contacting respondents and then gaining their cooperation. Another goal is to explore ways of taking advantage of opportunities provided by new technologies.

We checked in with Scott Keeter, Pew Research Center’s director of survey research, about these experiments and asked him to explain what they mean for the future of the field of survey research.

In addition to The New York Times/CBS News/YouGov effort, what other interesting methodological approaches did you see during the 2014 election season?

The New York Times/CBS News/YouGov collaboration was the most visible, but other organizations were quietly testing similar approaches. One other trend was the increase in the number of pollsters using registered voter lists, rather than the traditional random digit dialing, to obtain their samples. Although voter list sampling has been around for a long time, the quality of the voter databases has improved in the past few years, making them more attractive as sample sources. Nevertheless, regardless of methodology, many polls underestimated the size of the Republican victory this year, in contrast to 2012 when polls had the opposite problem: they tended to underestimate the performance of Democratic candidates. Read More

Topics: Polling, Research Methodology

Nov 21, 2014 4:36 pm

How Obama’s executive action will impact immigrants, by birth country

While President Obama’s executive action expanding deportation relief to almost half (48%) of the total unauthorized immigrant population will cover people from countries around the world, those born in Mexico will feel the most impact under existing and new guidelines, followed by Central Americans.

The shares of unauthorized immigrants who will be eligible to participate in these programs are lower from the rest of Latin America, Asia and other regions of the world.

More than half of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico (55%) and Central America (51%) will be eligible for deportation relief under the new or existing programs. Obama’s action was particularly relevant for Mexican-born unauthorized immigrants: While only 11% of Mexican unauthorized immigrants were previously eligible for deportation relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or through Temporary Protected Status (TPS), yesterday’s announcement will increase that share fivefold. By comparison, among the 51% of unauthorized immigrants born in Central America who will be now eligible for deportation relief, about half (26% of the total) had already been eligible under DACA or TPS.

Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Latin America, Unauthorized Immigration

Nov 21, 2014 3:33 pm

Immigrants in Western states most likely to benefit from Obama’s executive action

state breakdown of eligible immigrants obama executive action

At least four-in-ten unauthorized immigrants in 12 states will be eligible to benefit from the executive actions announced Thursday by President Obama, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

Idaho, where 46% of the state’s unauthorized immigrant population is eligible for deportation relief, tops all other states on this measure. Other states with at least four-in-ten eligible immigrants include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

More than 5 million unauthorized immigrants are eligible for deportation relief under Obama’s executive action announced Thursday or the president’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which grants relief to young adults who came to the U.S. as children. The new executive action also expands the DACA program. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Unauthorized Immigration

Nov 21, 2014 12:36 pm

Executive actions on immigration have long history

President Obama’s executive action to protect millions of unauthorized immigrants from deportation is an act that both follows and departs from precedents set by his predecessors.

As immigrant advocates — and the White House itself — point out, presidents have a long history of using their discretionary enforcement powers to allow people to enter and remain in the country outside the regular immigration laws. But Obama’s move offers relief to more people than any other executive action in recent history — about 3.9 million people, or roughly 35% of the estimated total unauthorized-immigrant population — a point that some opponents have used to differentiate Obama’s action from those of past presidents.

Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Immigration

Nov 20, 2014 9:57 pm

Those from Mexico will benefit most from Obama’s executive action

Unauthorized immigrants from Mexico account for two-thirds of those who will be eligible for deportation relief under President Obama’s executive action, even as they account for about half of the nation’s unauthorized population, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

The new action, which mainly applies to unauthorized immigrant parents of U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident children, would benefit those born in Mexico more than any other country of origin group. According to the Pew Research analysis, 44% of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico could apply for deportation protection under the new programs, compared with 24% of those from other parts of the world.

President Obama’s new programs could affect about 4 million total unauthorized immigrants who will be eligible for deportation protection and a three-year work permit. The largest group — at least 3.5 million, according to Pew Research estimates of 2012 data — consists of unauthorized immigrant parents who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and have children who either were born in the U.S. or are legal permanent residents. Of these, about 700,000 have adult children and the remaining 2.8 million have children younger than 18.

Read More

Topics: Immigration, Unauthorized Immigration

Nov 20, 2014 1:12 pm

About 1 in 5 victims of online harassment say it happened in the comments section

About 1 in 5 victims of online harassment say it happened in a comments section.The Reuters news service recently joined other media outlets that have closed or restructured their online comments. Popular Science made headlines last year when it shut down comments. The Huffington Post ended anonymous commenting in late 2013, with its editor calling comments sections one of the “darkest places on the internet.” And the Chicago Sun-Times suspended comments in April until a new monitoring system could be developed.

A recent Pew Research Center study found that roughly one-in-five (22%) internet users that have been victims of online harassment reported that their last experience occurred in the comments section of a website. While social media sites (66%) were the most common place noted for harassment, comments sections were named more frequently than online gaming sites (16%) and discussion sites like reddit (10%).

When internet users who witnessed online harassment were asked to describe the last incident they observed, general online comments or comments sections were mentioned in 8% of responses. That equals the percentage of responses (8%) that specifically cited comments sections of news sites, blogs or articles. Websites for news organizations were often described as particularly contentious. One respondent said, “Comment sections of news articles often contain some very racist, homophobic, sexist language.” Another noted that, on news sites, “people are brutal and seem to feel way too comfortable in their anonymity.”

Although most witnesses did not describe a specific online environment, social media sites were the most named digital space with 15%. There were fewer responses about witnessing harassment on gaming sites (1%) and over email (1%).

Topics: Internet Activities, News Media Ethics and Practices, Online Communities

Nov 18, 2014 2:58 pm

5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S.

The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. has stabilized in recent years after decades of rapid growth. But there have been shifts in the states where unauthorized immigrants live and the countries where they were born.

Millions could receive relief from deportation and work visas from an executive action that President Obama is expected to announce soon. The action would be the most significant protection from deportation offered to unauthorized immigrants since 1986, when Congress passed a law that allowed 2.7 million unauthorized immigrants to obtain a green card.

Here are five facts about the unauthorized immigrant population in the U.S.

1There were 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2012, a total unchanged from 2009, and currently making up 3.5% of the nation’s population. (Preliminary estimates show the population was 11.3 million in 2013.) The number of unauthorized immigrants peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million, when this group was 4% of the U.S. population.

Number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico declines since 2007 peak.2Mexicans make up about half of all unauthorized immigrants (52%), though their numbers have been declining in recent years. There were 5.9 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2012, down from 6.4 million in 2009, according to Pew Research Center estimates. Over the same time period, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Asia, the Caribbean, Central America and a grouping of countries in the Middle East, Africa and some other areas grew slightly (unauthorized immigrant populations from South America and Europe/Canada did not change significantly).

3Six states alone account for 60% of unauthorized immigrants—California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. But the distribution of the population is changing. From 2009 to 2012, several East Coast states were among those with population increases, whereas several Western states were among those with population decreases. There were seven states overall in which the unauthorized immigrant population increased: Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Meanwhile, there were 14 states in which the population decreased over the same time period: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Oregon. Despite a decline, Nevada has the nation’s largest share (8%) of unauthorized immigrants in its state population. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Unauthorized Immigration

Nov 17, 2014 12:12 pm

Where near-minimum-wage workers work, and how much they make

As Fact Tank noted earlier this month, about 20.6 million people — 30% of all hourly, non-self-employed workers 18 and older — are what we call “near-minimum-wage workers,” meaning they earn more than the current minimum wage (either the federal $7.25-an-hour minimum or a higher state minimum) but less than the $10.10 hourly rate that emerged over the past year as a consensus goal of many Democrats and labor groups.

We first explored the demographics of this group by workers’ age, sex and race. But we also wondered what jobs they held and how much they earned, so we took another run through the public-use microdata from the 2013 Current Population Survey.

restaurant workers most near minimum wageAs you might have guessed, the restaurant and food service industry is the single biggest employer of near-minimum workers. Last year, according to our analysis, that industry employed 3.75 million near-minimum workers, about 18% of the total. Many of those workers, presumably, are tipped, so their actual gross pay may be above $10.10 an hour. (Federal law, as well as wage laws in many states, allow tipped employees to be paid less as long as “tip credits” bring their pay up to at least the applicable minimum.) Read More

Topics: National Economy