Nov 30, 2018 7:00 am

Members of both parties find meaning in family but differ when it comes to faith

Americans across the political spectrum placed family at the top of the list of things that make life meaningful. (Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Democrats and Republicans are increasingly divided in their political values, but there are some things in life they generally agree on. When asked in a national survey to say what makes their lives meaningful, Americans across the political spectrum placed family at the top, and partisan differences were modest among those who mentioned family, career, money or friends.

Democrats and Republicans find meaning in similar sources, except when it comes to faithAmong nine aspects of life cited by at least 10% of respondents, the only large difference between the parties was in the importance of spirituality and faith, according to a September 2017 Pew Research Center survey of 4,867 U.S. adults that asked people to describe in their own words what keeps them going in life. Overall, 28% of Republicans mentioned the importance of spirituality and faith, compared with 13% of Democrats.

In other areas, there was little difference between the parties. Family was cited by 72% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats. Career was mentioned by 36% of Democrats and an only slightly smaller share of Republicans (32%), while Republicans were only slightly more likely than Democrats to give a response about money (25% vs. 21%). Democrats and Republicans were equally likely to mention friends (19% each) and health (16%).

The difference in how often partisans mentioned faith and spirituality becomes more pronounced when ideology is factored in. About a third (35%) of conservative Republicans mentioned spirituality’s importance to them, compared with about half as many liberal and moderate Republicans (17%) and conservative and moderate Democrats (also 17%). Only about one-in-ten liberal Democrats (9%) mentioned something about spirituality or faith in response to this open-ended question.

Responses to the survey question were analyzed with a computational model that helped identify recurring keywords that appeared when people mentioned particular topics. Several validation tests were then conducted to ensure that these keywords were accurately characterizing responses. More information about this process is described here.

Topics: Life Satisfaction, U.S. Political Parties, Lifestyle, Family and Relationships

Nov 29, 2018 12:01 pm

In midterm voting decisions, policies took a back seat to partisanship

Partisan loyalty and dislike of the opposing party and its candidates were major factors for voters’ choices in this month’s midterm elections, with far fewer citing policies as the main reason why they voted for Democratic or Republican candidates.

For Democratic voters, as many say congressional vote was in opposition to GOP as in support of DemocratsAlthough partisan motivations dominated across the board, the tone of these partisan motivations differed somewhat between Republican and Democratic voters, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Nov. 7-13.

Asked an open-ended question about why they voted as they did, 36% of those who voted for the Democratic candidate in their district cited opposition to President Donald Trump, the Republican Party or the GOP’s candidate as the main reason for their vote – about the same share (37%) as said they were motivated primarily by support for their own party or party’s candidate. (For more on reactions to the election and expectations for the new Congress, see “Public Expects Gridlock, Deeper Divisions With Changed Political Landscape.”)

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Topics: Voter Participation, Elections and Campaigns, U.S. Political Parties, Voting Issues, Voter Preferences, 2018 Election

Nov 29, 2018 11:05 am

More than one-in-ten U.S. parents are also caring for an adult

Tanisha Vinson, right, of Washington, D.C., cares for her mother, Angelina, while also raising her daughter Khloe Edwards. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

About three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) have a child younger than 18 at home, and 12% of these parents provide unpaid care for an adult as well. All told, these multigenerational caregivers provide more than two and a half hours of unpaid care a day, on average, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Multigenerational caregivers spend more than two and a half hours a day on unpaid careThe amount of time parents spend on child care has been on the rise for decades in the United States. Mothers now spend 40% more time with their kids than they did in the mid-1960s, and the amount of time spent by fathers has tripled during that span. All told, parents – both those who are multigenerational caregivers and those who are not – now spend just over an hour and a half a day on child care. Parents who are multigenerational caregivers, meanwhile, spend just over an hour a day performing adult care in addition to the time spent caring for their children.

In this analysis, a multigenerational caregiver is any parent who is age 18 or older, lives with their own child younger than 18 and provided unpaid adult care on the prior day, according to the BLS American Time Use Survey data. Caregiving can include an array of activities: Adult care may include tasks such as providing hands-on assistance with dressing, eating or medical care; providing transportation to appointments; or helping to maintain the homes or finances of those who receive care. Child care may also include hands-on assistance, as well as reading or playing, attending children’s events or helping with homework. A multigenerational caregiver may be providing care to anyone who needs it, be it a relative, friend or neighbor. (See additional tables for a detailed list of caregiving activities included in this analysis.)

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Topics: Family Roles, Family and Relationships, Household and Family Structure

Nov 28, 2018 2:30 pm

5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S.

The number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States was lower in 2016 than at any time since 2004. This decline is due mainly to a large drop in the number of new unauthorized immigrants, especially Mexicans, coming into the country. The origin countries of unauthorized immigrants also shifted during that time, with the number from Mexico declining and the number rising from only one other region, Central America, according to the latest Pew Research Center estimates.

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

1There were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2016, representing 3.3% of the total U.S. population that year. The 2016 unauthorized immigrant total is a 13% decline from the peak of 12.2 million in 2007, when this group was 4% of the U.S. population.

2The number of Mexican unauthorized immigrants declined since 2007, but the total from other nations changed little. Mexicans made up half of all unauthorized immigrants in 2016, according to the Center’s estimate, compared with 57% in 2007. Their numbers (and share of the total) have been declining in recent years: There were 5.4 million Mexican unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016, down from 6.9 million in 2007.

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Meanwhile, the total from other nations, 5.2 million in 2016, remained about the same as in 2007, when it was 5.3 million. The number of unauthorized immigrants has grown since 2007 only from one birth region: Central America, from 1.5 million that year to nearly 1.9 million in 2016. This growth was fueled mainly by immigrants from the Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The totals also went down over the 2007-2016 period from South America and the combined region of Europe plus Canada. The remaining regions (the Caribbean, Asia, Middle East-North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world) did not change significantly in that time.

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Topics: Unauthorized Immigration, Immigration Trends, Global Migration and Demography, Migration, Immigration

Nov 28, 2018 10:00 am

Teens who are constantly online are just as likely to socialize with their friends offline

Close to half of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they are on the internet “almost constantly,” and more than nine-in-ten are social media users. These highly plugged-in youth, however, are just as likely as their less-connected peers to socialize regularly with their friends in person, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data.

Teens who use the internet 'almost constantly' are as likely to socialize with their friends offline as their peers who are online less frequentlyIn fact, when taking into account both online and offline interactions, highly connected teens report more contact with their friends compared with other teens, according to the analysis, which comes amid concerns that screen time is taking away opportunities for teens and others to socialize face-to-face.

Overall, 24% of teens who report being constantly online say they meet with their friends in person outside of school every day or almost every day. That is nearly identical to the 23% of less-frequently online teens who say they see their friends almost daily. And when it comes to online interaction with their friends, 69% of teens who are online constantly say they talk to their friends online every day or almost every day, compared with 52% of teens who visit the internet less frequently.

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Topics: Teens and Technology, Social Media, Teens and Youth, Generations and Age

Nov 28, 2018 7:02 am

Key global views about issues and leaders in the spotlight at the G20 summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with President Mauricio Macri of Argentina and U.S. President Donald Trump at the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Macri will host this year’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires. (Friedemann Vogel – Pool/Getty Images)

Political leaders from 19 member countries and the European Union will gather in Buenos Aires this Friday for the annual G20 summit. As always, the agenda will feature both economics and geopolitics. U.S. President Donald Trump will attend and is expected to meet individually with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others.

Here are findings from a 2018 Pew Research Center survey that show how people around the world view some of the issues likely to be discussed at the meeting – particularly their attitudes on the economy, the future of work, and trade – as well as their opinions of world leaders who will be present.

In many countries, views of economy do not align with optimism for the future1The global economic mood has improved somewhat in recent years, but many are still pessimistic about the future. In the United States, Japan and several European nations, economic confidence has rebounded from the depths of the Great Recession. For instance, 78% of Germans believe their national economy is in good shape, compared with just 28% in 2009.

However, in many advanced economies positive assessments of current economic conditions do not translate into optimism for the future. Only 36% of Germans think that when children in their country grow up they will be financially better off than their parents. Similarly, while nearly two-thirds of Americans say economic conditions are good, only one-in-three are optimistic about the next generation’s financial prospects.

And in many nations, people are dissatisfied with the current state of their economy as well. This is certainly true in G20 host Argentina, where President Mauricio Macri has had to seek help from the International Monetary Fund and implement austerity measures in response to a sharp recession. Just 17% of Argentines say the economy is in good shape. In neighboring Brazil, which just elected the former military officer Jair Bolsonaro as president, only 9% give their economy positive marks.

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Topics: Globalization and Trade, Global Balance of Power, International Organizations, International Governments and Institutions

Nov 26, 2018 5:01 pm

Americans and Germans are worlds apart in views of their countries’ relationship

At a time of rising tensions between their countries, people in the United States and Germany express increasingly divergent views about the status of their decades-long partnership. They are divided not only on the overall state of the relationship, but also on future levels of cooperation, the importance they ascribe to each other on foreign policy and the efficacy of retaliatory tariffs. Despite these differences, people in the U.S. and Germany still find common ground on the benefits of free trade, the importance of NATO and the continued need to spend on defense, according to surveys conducted in the U.S. by Pew Research Center and in Germany by the Körber-Stiftung in September 2018.

Here are seven charts that explain the status of this complicated relationship:

Americans and Germans diverge sharply in their views of bilateral relations1Americans and Germans are worlds apart on the overall state of their relationship. In the U.S., seven-in-ten say the relationship is good, while 73% in Germany say the relationship is bad. Among Germans, this constitutes a sharp elevation in negative assessments since 2017, when 56% said the relationship was bad.

Despite their generally negative perceptions, only one-in-ten Germans say the relationship with the U.S. is very bad. Most Americans (58%), for their part, say the relationship is somewhat good, while a far smaller share (12%) say it is very good.

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Topics: Western Europe, Bilateral Relations, Globalization and Trade, Global Balance of Power, International Threats and Allies, Europe

Nov 26, 2018 11:03 am

The U.S. class divide extends to searching for a religious congregation


(Monashee Frantz/OJO Images via Getty Images)

Looking for a new religious congregation is common in the United States. In fact, about half of American adults (49%) have at some point searched for a new church or congregation.

But how likely Americans are to look for a new church varies by their education and income levels. About six-in-ten (59%) college-educated Americans have searched for a new religious congregation, compared with only 38% of those with a high school education or less, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of survey data collected in 2015. Likewise, higher-income Americans are more likely to look for a new church than those with lower incomes. This may be due in part to the fact that highly educated and affluent Americans tend to be more geographically mobile.

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Topics: Educational Attainment, Religion and Society, Wealth, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Socioeconomic Class, Education

Nov 26, 2018 7:00 am

Americans are divided over whether eating organic foods makes for better health

(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Younger adults are more inclined to say organic produce is better for healthAmericans are closely divided over the health benefits of organic produce. Some 45% of U.S. adults say organic fruits and vegetables are better for you than conventionally grown produce, compared with 51% who say that organic produce is neither better nor worse, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year. The share of U.S. adults who say that organic produce is better for one’s health declined by 10 percentage points since a 2016 survey.

However, younger people remain more likely than their older counterparts to say organics are healthier than conventionally grown food. Some 54% of those ages 18 to 29 and 47% of those ages 30 to 49 believe organic fruits and vegetables are generally better for one’s health, compared with 39% of those 65 and older who say the same. As in the 2016 survey, there are no differences among men and women on views of the healthfulness of organic foods.

These latest findings come as consumers sort through ongoing public debates over how the foods we eat can affect our health. Today, the perception of what constitutes a “healthy” diet can be in the eye of the beholder, as even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wrestles with new guidelines for which food products can legally have “healthy” printed on their labels.

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Topics: Health, Science and Innovation, Lifestyle

Nov 21, 2018 11:04 am

Millennials, Gen X increase their ranks in the House, especially among Democrats

Democratic Reps.-elect (from left) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida, Abby Finkenauer of Iowa and Sharice Davids of Kansas join with other newly elected House members for an official class photo at the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The 2018 midterm elections not only sent a record number of women to the House of Representatives – at least 102 in total, including 36 newly elected members, with a handful of races still to be called – but also significantly boosted the number of Millennials and Generation Xers in the lower chamber, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

Younger generations make up increasing shares of U.S. HouseWhen the 116th Congress convenes in January, at least 26 House members will be Millennials (i.e., born between 1981 and 1996), up from only five at the start of the current Congress in January 2017 and six just before the Nov. 6 midterms. (Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb, 34, won a special election this past spring for a seat that had been vacated by Tim Murphy, a Boomer; Lamb and the five other serving Millennials all were re-elected.) More than a fifth (20) of the 91 freshmen members-elect are Millennials, and 14 of those 20 are Democrats – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, at 29 the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. (All figures in this post are as of Nov. 21, when three seats had yet to be called.)

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Topics: Congress, Millennials, Federal Government, Generations and Age, 2018 Election