Jun 14, 2018 9:31 am

Younger generations make up a majority of the electorate, but may not be a majority of voters this November

Voters in Provo, Utah, cast their ballots in the 2016 presidential election. (George Frey/Getty Images)
Voters in Provo, Utah, cast their ballots in the 2016 presidential election. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Generation X, Millennials and the post-Millennial generation make up a clear majority of voting-eligible adults in the United States, but if past midterm election turnout patterns hold true, they are unlikely to cast the majority of votes this November. Not only are younger adults less likely to participate in midterm elections, but Millennials and Gen Xers have a track record of low turnout in midterms compared with older generations when they were the same age.

As of April 2018 (the most recent data available), 59% of adults who are eligible to vote are Gen Xers, Millennials or “post-Millennials.” In the 2014 midterm election, which had a historically low turnout, these younger generations accounted for 53% of eligible voters but cast just 36 million votes – 21 million fewer than the Boomer, Silent and Greatest generations, who are ages 54 and older in 2018.

Since 2014, the number of voting-eligible Gen Xers, Millennials and post-Millennials has increased by 18 million. Some of this increase stems from Gen Xers and Millennials who have naturalized and become U.S. citizens. But the bulk of it is due to the addition of 15 million adult post-Millennials (18 to 21 years old) who are now voting age.

Meanwhile, the electoral potential of Baby Boomers and older generations has declined since the last midterm. Driven mainly by deaths, there are now 10 million fewer eligible voters among the Boomer and older generations than there were in 2014.

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Topics: Voter Demographics, Voter Participation, Elections and Campaigns, Demographics, Generations and Age, 2018 Election

Jun 13, 2018 3:00 pm

7 facts about American dads

Elsiana Ruiz gets help learning to ride her bike from her father, Sinahy, at a playground in Aurora, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Elsiana Ruiz gets help learning to ride her bike from her father, Sinahy, at a playground in Aurora, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Fatherhood in America is changing. Today, fathers who live with their children are taking a more active role in caring for them and helping out around the house. And the ranks of stay-at-home and single fathers have grown significantly in recent decades. At the same time, more and more children are growing up without a father in the home.

The changing role of fathers has introduced new challenges, as dads juggle the competing demands of family and work. Here are some key findings about fathers from Pew Research Center.

1Dads see parenting as central to their identity. Dads are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity. Some 57% of fathers said this in a 2015 survey by the Center, compared with 58% of mothers. Like moms, many dads also seem to appreciate the benefits of parenthood: 54% reported that parenting is rewarding all of the time, as did 52% of moms. Meanwhile, 46% of fathers and 41% of mothers said they find parenting enjoyable all of the time.

A sizable minority of childless men (44% of those 18 to 49) hope to become fathers at some point, and another 35% are unsure if they want to become parents, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. Among childless women in the same age group, 50% want to become mothers, while 22% are unsure if they want to.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Family Roles, Parenthood, Household and Family Structure

Jun 13, 2018 10:06 am

Younger people are less religious than older ones in many countries, especially in the U.S. and Europe

For some time now, surveys have shown that younger Americans are less likely than older adults to attend church, believe in God, or say religion is important to them. Such a religion age gap doesn’t exist in every country, but a new Pew Research Center study shows that it is far from unique to the United States.

In fact, in 46 countries around the world, adults under age 40 are less likely to say religion is “very important” in their lives than are older adults; the opposite is true in only two countries. In 58 countries, there are no significant age gaps on this question, according to surveys conducted in more than 100 nations.

While the size of the age gap varies from country to country, averaging the national results in each of the countries surveyed yields a clear global picture: 51% of younger adults in the average country consider religion to be very important, compared with 57% among people ages 40 and older – a difference of 6 percentage points.

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Topics: Religious Beliefs and Practices, Generations and Age

Jun 12, 2018 11:30 am

5 facts about the Supreme Court

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, top right, with the other U.S. Supreme Court justices in June 2017, several weeks after his confirmation. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, top right, with the other U.S. Supreme Court justices in June 2017, several weeks after his confirmation. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court holds a unique place in American government. Sitting justices have lifetime tenure and can influence public policy long after the presidents who nominated them and the senators who confirmed them have departed. Partisans have often battled over these nominations because of the court’s ability to reshape or strike down laws favored by one side or another.

As the court enters a period in which it is expected to deliver high-profile rulings – and with speculation mounting over whether one or more justices may soon retire – here are five facts about the U.S. Supreme Court, based on surveys and other recent research by Pew Research Center.

1The public’s opinion of the Supreme Court has rebounded after falling to a 30-year low in the summer of 2015. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) view the high court favorably and 28% view it unfavorably, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March. The share of Americans with a favorable view of the court is up 18 percentage points from July 2015, when only around half (48%) approved. The 2015 survey was conducted in the wake of a term that saw the justices uphold the Affordable Care Act and legalize same-sex marriage; it found that views of the court were strongly linked to views of these high-profile issues.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Supreme Court, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values

Jun 12, 2018 7:00 am

Education of Muslim women is limited by economic conditions, not religion

Yemeni students attend class in 2014. (Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Yemeni students attend class in 2014. (Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Muslim societies have sometimes faced criticism for failing to adequately educate women. Boko Haram’s kidnapping of schoolgirls in Nigeria and the Taliban’s attack on Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai have contributed to this perception, raising the question of whether Islam itself hampers women’s education. But a new analysis of Pew Research Center data on educational attainment and religion suggests that economics, not religion, is the key factor limiting the education of Muslim women.

It’s true that, historically, Muslim women have received less schooling than females of other major religions (except Hindus); they also have lagged behind Muslim men in educational attainment, according to previous analysis by Pew Research Center. More recently, however, Muslim women have been catching up – not only with Muslim men but also with other women around the world.

As Muslim women move up the educational ladder, the role of religion as a predictor of academic attainment is diminishing, according to the new study, which analyzes the Center’s education data and appears in the journal Population and Development Review. The findings challenge claims that there’s a culture clash between Muslim and Western societies over gender equality in education. (The study was authored by David McClendon, Conrad Hackett, Michaela Potančoková, Marcin Stonawski and Vegard Skirbekk. Hackett is a senior demographer and associate director of research at Pew Research Center. McClendon is a former research associate at the Center.)

The analysis shows that a country’s wealth – not its laws or culture – is the most important factor in determining a woman’s educational fate, with women in oil-rich Gulf countries, especially, making some of the biggest educational leaps in recent decades.  Read More

Topics: Educational Attainment, Muslims and Islam, Gender, Education, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Middle East and North Africa

Jun 11, 2018 11:00 am

Public support for the death penalty ticks up

Public support for the death penalty, which reached a four-decade low in 2016, has increased somewhat since then. Today, 54% of Americans favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder, while 39% are opposed, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in April and May.

Two years ago, 49% favored the death penalty for people convicted of murder, the lowest level of support for capital punishment in surveys dating back to the early 1970s.

While the share of Americans supporting the death penalty has risen since 2016, it remains much lower than in the 1990s or throughout much of the 2000s. As recently as 2007, about twice as many Americans favored (64%) as opposed (29%) the death penalty for people convicted of murder.

Since the mid-1990s, support for the death penalty has fallen among Democrats and independents but remained strong among Republicans.

About three-quarters of Republicans (77%) currently favor the death penalty, compared with 52% of independents and 35% of Democrats.

Since 1996, support for the death penalty has fallen 27 percentage points among independents (from 79% to 52%) and 36 points among Democrats (71% to 35%). By contrast, the share of Republicans favoring the death penalty declined 10 points during that span (from 87% to 77%).

The trends look somewhat different when considering a more recent time frame. Since 2016, opinions among Republicans and Democrats have changed little, but the share of independents favoring the death penalty has increased 8 percentage points (from 44% to 52%).  Read More

Topics: Criminal Justice, Political Polarization, Political Attitudes and Values

Jun 11, 2018 7:00 am

5 facts about how the U.S. and its allies see North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks with Kim Yong Chol (left), vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee, on the South Lawn of the White House on June 1 in Washington, D.C., as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks with Kim Yong Chol (left), vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party’s central committee, outside the White House on June 1 in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Eyes turn to Singapore this week as President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prepare to meet for the first time. While previous communication between the two leaders was marked by hostility, the meeting came about following North Korea’s more recent promises to suspend missile tests and discuss denuclearization.

Here are five key Pew Research Center findings about views toward North Korea:

1Americans overwhelmingly say they support direct talks between the United States and North Korea over its nuclear program. About seven-in-ten (71%) approved of such talks, while just 21% disapproved, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in late April and early May. While majorities from both parties approved of negotiating directly with North Korea, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were particularly likely to approve (85%) compared with Democrats and Democratic leaners (63%).

Despite the overall approval of direct talks between the two countries, the public was skeptical about whether North Korea’s leadership is serious about addressing concerns about its nuclear program. Around half of U.S. adults (49%) said North Korean leaders are not serious about addressing these concerns, while 38% thought North Korea’s leaders are serious.  Read More

Topics: Nuclear Threats, International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Asia and the Pacific, Donald Trump

Jun 8, 2018 9:30 am

Across Western Europe, public news media are widely used and trusted sources of news

Public news media play a prominent role in Western Europe. In seven Western European countries surveyed, the top main source for news is a public news organization – such as the BBC in the UK, Sveriges Television/Radio (SVT/Radio) in Sweden or ARD in Germany – rather than a private one. This is in strong contrast with the United States, where the largest public news outlets, NPR and PBS, rank far lower than many of the country’s private news outlets.

In the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands especially, adults are attached to their public broadcasters, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted across eight Western European nations. About half of British adults (48%) name the BBC as their main source for news, 39% of Swedes name SVT/Radio and 37% of Dutch adults name Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO).

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Topics: Western Europe, Media Ownership, Non-Profit News, Trust, Facts and Democracy, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Foreign News

Jun 7, 2018 7:00 am

Space tourism? Majority of Americans say they wouldn’t be interested

SpaceX's Dragon V2 spacecraft at its May 2014 unveiling in Hawthorne, California. (NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)
SpaceX’s Dragon V2 spacecraft at its May 2014 unveiling in Hawthorne, California. (NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

It’s summertime, which means Americans are embarking on vacation trips to destinations near and far. One getaway in the “far” category would be a trip to space, something a host of private companies are trying to make possible. But it’s not an excursion that appeals to everyone – more U.S. adults say they would not want to orbit the Earth than say they would, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

About four-in-ten Americans (42%) say they would definitely or probably be interested in orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft in the future, while roughly six-in-ten (58%) say they would not be interested.

Once regarded as a topic best suited for science fiction, space tourism is currently under development by private companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.

Interest in being a space tourist is higher among younger generations and men. A majority (63%) of Millennials (born 1981 to 1996) say they would definitely or probably be interested in space tourism. Only minorities of Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1980) (39%) and those in the Baby Boomer or older generations (27%) would be interested.

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Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Science and Innovation

Jun 6, 2018 1:00 pm

5 facts about religion in India

Graffiti on a Mumbai wall. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)
Graffiti on a Mumbai wall. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

India is home to 1.4 billion people – almost one-sixth of the world’s population – who belong to a variety of ethnicities and religions. While 94% of the world’s Hindus live in India, there also are substantial populations of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and adherents of folk religions.

For most Indians, faith is important: In a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, eight-in-ten Indians said religion is very important in their lives.

Here are five facts about religion in India:

1India’s massive population includes not only the vast majority of the world’s Hindus, but also the second-largest group of Muslims within a single country, behind only Indonesia. By 2050, India’s Muslim population will grow to 311 million, making it the largest Muslim population in the world, according to Pew Research Center projections. Still, Indian Muslims are projected to remain a minority in their country, making up about 18% of the total population at midcentury, while Hindus figure to remain a majority (about 77%).

2India is a religiously pluralistic and multiethnic democracy – the largest in the world. Its constitution provides for freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practice and propagate religion. It has protections for minorities against discrimination on the grounds of religion or caste (a strict social stratification based on Hinduism). In 1976, the constitution was amended, officially making the country a secular state. At the same time, a directive in the constitution prohibits the slaughter of cows – an animal Hindus hold sacred – which each state has the authority to enforce. Currently, 21 out of 29 states have prison sentences for the act.  Read More

Topics: Muslims and Islam, Hindus and Hinduism, Religion and Government, Restrictions on Religion, Asia and the Pacific