Nov 19, 2015 7:00 am

Building outpaces population growth in many of China’s urban areas

Construction in Beijing, China
Pedestrians walk past a construction site in Beijing. Photo credit: Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Millions of people across the East Asia Pacific are moving to cities, and nowhere more so than in China, where the urban population expanded by 131 million from 2000 to 2010, according to research from the World Bank.

But unlike other nations in the region, many of China’s urban areas have become less crowded (losing population density) in that time period, spurred by government policies that encourage rapid building. In the most unique cases, this has led to the creation of so-called “ghost cities,” where new urban infrastructure sits idle, waiting for the first inhabitants to arrive.

The extent of urban building in China can be studied in innovative ways, as seen in the World Bank report, which dispenses with traditional, administrative approaches to calculating urban populations and instead uses satellite imagery and census micro-data to measure urban density. The study defines urban areas as contiguous lands with 50% or more of the area covered by built-up infrastructures such as roads and buildings, and whose overall population was 100,000 or more in 2010.  Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, China, Demographics, Migration, Population Geography

Nov 18, 2015 2:54 pm

5 facts about family caregivers

Woman reading to mother at table
Photo credit: Shestock/Getty Images

As American society gets grayer, families are taking the lead role in providing care for aging adults. Most American adults say a family member is caring for their aging parent who needs help handling their affairs or caring for themselves. And if they’re not already helping out a parent, most expect to do so someday.

Here are five facts about caregivers of older Americans for National Family Caregivers Month: Read More

Topics: Family and Relationships, Family Roles, Health, Health Care

Nov 18, 2015 8:55 am

Where the world sees limits to free speech

In principle, most people around the world, and especially in the United States, support freedom of expression. But there is a fine line between general support for freedom of speech and support for specific forms of expression.

Views of Free Expression Worldwide

A new survey of people in 38 countries finds that for many provocative forms of speech, such as sexually explicit statements or calls for violent protests, most people draw a line between protected speech and speech that goes too far. And compared with the rest of the world, Americans generally are more accepting of free speech of any kind.

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Topics: Democracy, International Governments and Institutions, Internet Activities

Nov 17, 2015 4:17 pm

In nations with significant Muslim populations, much disdain for ISIS

Views of ISIS Overwhelmingly NegativeRecent attacks in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have once again brought terrorism and Islamic extremism to the forefront of international relations. According to newly released data that the Pew Research Center collected in 11 countries with significant Muslim populations, people from Nigeria to Jordan to Indonesia overwhelmingly expressed negative views of ISIS.

One exception was Pakistan, where a majority offered no definite opinion of ISIS. The nationally representative surveys were conducted as part of the Pew Research Center’s annual global poll in April and May this year.

In no country surveyed did more than 15% of the population show favorable attitudes toward Islamic State. And in those countries with mixed religious and ethnic populations, negative views of ISIS cut across these lines.

In Lebanon, a victim of one of the most recent attacks, almost every person surveyed who gave an opinion had an unfavorable view of ISIS, including 99% with a very unfavorable opinion. Distaste toward ISIS was shared by Lebanese Sunni Muslims (98% unfavorable) and 100% of Shia Muslims and Lebanese Christians.

Israelis (97%) and Jordanians (94%) were also strongly opposed to ISIS as of spring 2015, including 91% of Israeli Arabs. And 84% in the Palestinian territories had a negative view of ISIS, both in the Gaza Strip (92%) and the West Bank (79%).  Read More

Topics: Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Religious Extremism, Terrorism

Nov 17, 2015 2:00 pm

5 facts about the Muslim population in Europe

Recent killings in Paris as well as the arrival of hundreds of thousands of mostly Muslim refugees in Europe have drawn renewed attention to the continent’s Muslim population. In many European countries, including France, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, concerns about growing Muslim communities have led to calls for restrictions on immigration. But just how large is Europe’s Muslim population, and how fast is it growing?

Muslim population in EuropeUsing the Pew Research Center’s most recent population estimates, here are five facts about the size and makeup of the Muslim population in Europe:

1 Germany and France have the largest Muslim populations among European Union member countries. As of 2010, there were 4.8 million Muslims in Germany (5.8% of the country’s population) and 4.7 million Muslims in France (7.5%). In Europe overall, however, Russia’s population of 14 million Muslims (10%) is the largest on the continent.

2 The Muslim share of Europe’s total population has been increasing steadily. In recent decades, the Muslim share of the population throughout Europe grew about 1 percentage point a decade, from 4% in 1990 to 6% in 2010. This pattern is expected to continue through 2030, when Muslims are projected to make up 8% of Europe’s population.

3 Muslims are younger than other Europeans. In 2010, the median age of Muslims throughout Europe was 32, eight years younger than the median for all Europeans (40). By contrast, the median age of religiously unaffiliated people in Europe, including atheists, agnostics and those with no religion in particular, was 37. The median age of European Christians was 42. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Europe, Muslims and Islam

Nov 17, 2015 7:00 am

How Americans are – and aren’t – making eco-friendly lifestyle changes

FT_15.11.16_climateChangeAction_householdEnergy_310Nearly three-quarters of Americans see global climate change as a “very serious” (45%) or “somewhat serious” (29%) threat, and two-thirds (66%) say people will have to make major changes in the way they live to reduce the effects of climate change, according to a Pew Research Center report released earlier this month.

People have received all sorts of advice over the past few decades about how to reduce their climate impact – from driving less to recycling more to insulating their homes. Actual changes in behavior, though, have been very much a mixed bag.

Using the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate change website for suggestions on ways people can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we analyzed available data to gauge the extent to which Americans are heeding advice on living more climate-friendly lives. Among the indicators we looked at, actual changes ranged from significant to minimal to nonexistent. Here’s what we learned: Read More

Topics: Energy and Environment, Lifestyle

Nov 16, 2015 11:00 am

Church involvement varies widely among U.S. Christians

While most Americans still identify as Christian, there are big differences when it comes to how involved they are with a congregation – or whether they’re involved at all. Indeed, some of the largest Christian denominations in the U.S. have relatively low levels of involvement among their members.

Among all Christian religious traditions in the U.S., Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses have the largest shares of members who are highly involved in their congregations, according to a new analysis of data from Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study.

How Involved Are Christians in Their Congregations?Our analysis uses a scale we created drawing on the survey’s three measures of congregational involvement: membership in a congregation, frequency of attendance at worship services and frequency of attendance at small group religious activities. While these three measures don’t encompass all the potential ways people might be involved in their congregations, they represent common and broad categories of congregational engagement.

Those who are members of a congregation, attend religious services at least weekly and attend a prayer or scripture group weekly or monthly are categorized as having a “high” level of congregational involvement, while those who are not members of a congregation and who seldom or never attend religious services and small group prayer or scripture-reading groups are in the “low” category. All other respondents are categorized as having a “medium” level of congregational involvement.

Among U.S. adults who are Christian, three-in-ten have a high level of congregational involvement, while 58% have a medium level and 12% fall into the low category.

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Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Mormons and Mormonism

Nov 12, 2015 12:30 pm

In China, 1980 marked a generational turning point

China's Population Today Is Less Youthful Than Under Past Regimes

The year 1980 in China is well known as the beginning of the country’s one-child policy. But what may be overlooked is how that year also marked a turning point in China’s generational experiences: Roughly half (47%) of China’s current population were born under the policy (ages 0 to 34 today), and they lived through a very different China than the half who were born before.
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Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, China, Gender, Generations and Age

Nov 11, 2015 11:08 am

Religious ‘nones’ are not only growing, they’re becoming more secular

Religious “nones” are not only growing as a share of the U.S. population, but they are becoming more secular over time by a variety of measures, a fact that also is helping to make the U.S. public overall somewhat less religious, according to surveys done as part of our Religious Landscape Study.

The “nones,” a category that includes people who self-identify as atheists or agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is “nothing in particular,” now make up 23% of U.S. adults, up from 16% in 2007. But there is more to the story. To begin with, this group is not uniformly nonreligious. Most of them say they believe in God, and about a third say religion is at least somewhat important in their lives. Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Religiously Unaffiliated

Nov 11, 2015 6:50 am

Record share of young women are living with their parents, relatives

Not Leaving the Nest: Women Living With Family Returns to 1940 Level

A larger share of young women are living at home with their parents or other relatives than at any point since the 1940s.

A new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows that 36.4% of women ages 18 to 34 resided with family in 2014, mainly in the home of mom, dad or both. The result is a striking U-shaped curve for young women – and young men – indicating a return to the past, statistically speaking.

You’d have to go back 74 years to observe similar living arrangements among American young women. Young men, too, are increasingly living in the same situation, but unlike women their share hasn’t climbed to its level from 1940, the highest year on record. (Comparable data on living arrangements are not available from before then.)

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Topics: Educational Attainment, Gender, Household and Family Structure, Marriage and Divorce