Apr 16, 2014 11:54 am

67 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Major League Baseball looks very different

Jackie Robinson is caught off first base. Credit: Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is celebrating Jackie Robinson, who became the league’s first African-American player on April 15, 1947.

Robinson’s entry led the way to integrated teams and a steady rise in the number of professional black baseball players. However, in recent years, there has been growing concern about the declining share of black players in the league.

The share of black MLB players reached a high of 18.7% in 1981, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. In 2014, 8.3% of players on opening day rosters were black. Before the most recent decade’s decline, the last time baseball had such a small share of black players was 1958.

FT_14.04.16_BaseballAs the number of black players has declined, baseball has seen a rising share of white players, a trend that stands in stark contrast to the steady decline of whites as a share of the U.S. population. In 2012, the percentage of white ballplayers (63.9%) increased to levels last seen in 1995, when 64.5% of players were white.

Historically, the share of white players has been shrinking since the color barrier was broken, bottoming out at 60.3% in 2004. Since then, the percentage of white players has trended upward. Read More

Topics: Race and Ethnicity

Apr 16, 2014 11:03 am

Data Feed: Partisan Senate polls, Census changes, Health care sign-ups

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

55% say Ukraine is key to U.S., but most oppose using force, topline, McClatchy/Marist
Christie is regaining ground, but Clinton tops entire GOP field, McClatchy/Marist
88% of California voters say that their state is undergoing a serious water shortage, Field
Obama’s job approval is at 38% among South Carolina voters; Congress at 14%, Winthrop
In N.J., 73% say state too slow in getting funds to Sandy victims, Monmouth/Asbury Park
Ideology explains a lot of Congressional behavior, but what about personality? WashPost
Dems in some competitive Senate races are raising more money than Republicans, WSJ
How partisan are partisan Senate polls? FiveThirtyEight

Read More

Category: Data Feed

Apr 15, 2014 2:40 pm

NSA coverage wins Pulitzer, but Americans remain divided on Snowden leaks

Glenn Greenwald wins Pulitzer Prize for NSA coverage
Glenn Greenwald gives an acceptance speech after receiving the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. Greenwald, who reported for The Guardian, and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, in background, led coverage of the NSA at their news organizations, which shared the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew

Snowden, NSA, national interestWhile the journalism world conferred its top honor yesterday to the newspapers that reported on Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency leaks, the public remains divided over whether those classified leaks served the public interest.

Yesterday’s top Pulitzer Prize, in the category of Public Service, was awarded to the teams at The Washington Post and The Guardian US. News coverage of the award compared it to the 1971 news coverage and Pulitzer Prize for exposing the Pentagon Papers. In response to yesterday’s prize announcement, Snowden released a statement saying the award was a “vindication” of sorts.

But Snowden remains a polarizing figure to the American public, and the country is divided about whether the leaks have benefited the public interest more than they have harmed it. In a January survey by Pew Research and USA Today, 45% said his leaks served the public interest and 43% said they harmed the public interest. There was similar division when the story first broke last year: 49% said the leaks served the public interest and 44% said they harmed the public interest in June 2013.  Read More

Topics: National Security, Privacy and Safety, Surveillance

Apr 15, 2014 11:00 am

Data Feed: Tax Day facts, Americans’ Putin dilemma, global morality

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.  Read More

Category: Data Feed

Apr 15, 2014 10:05 am

What’s morally acceptable? It depends on where in the world you live

The Pew Research Center asked people in 40 countries about what is morally unacceptable, morally acceptable or not a moral issue. The issues included: married people having an affair, gambling, homosexuality, having an abortion, sex between unmarried adults, drinking alcohol, getting a divorce and using contraceptives. Our new Global Morality Interactive highlights the findings and allows users to sort the data in a variety of ways.

Visit the interactive →

Here are 5 key takeaways from the survey:

Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Apr 15, 2014 7:00 am

On Tax Day, Americans’ views of taxes and the IRS

Yes, it’s that day again — the April 15 deadline for filing your taxes. Many of you are not sweating it because you’re among the almost 100 million Americans who had filed their returns as of April 4 or the estimated 12 million who have requested extensions, according to the IRS. (Last year, the IRS said 148 million returns had been filed.)

So whether you’re ahead of the game or not, here are five facts about Americans’ views of taxes and the IRS:

1  A third (34%) of Americans liked or loved doing their taxes, according toSome Americans like doing their income taxes as April 15 deadline nears the survey we conducted at this time last year. Of course, that left 56% who didn’t like the annual exercise including 26% who hated doing their taxes. Among those who liked doing taxes, the largest share said it was to get a refund followed by those who said they didn’t mind or prided themselves for being good at. The IRS says the average refund so far this year is $2,792. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Taxes

Apr 14, 2014 12:00 pm

SpaceX launch illustrates NASA’s growing use of private companies

The Falcon 9 rocket at SpaceX’s launch site at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (Credit: SpaceX)

Later this month, a company called SpaceX is scheduled to launch its Falcon 9 rocket on a routine supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). But if all goes as planned, this mission could herald the beginning of something decidedly not routine: the use of private, reusable rockets to service America’s space program.

SpaceX and another private launch company, Orbital Sciences, are the beneficiaries of a recent shift in the American space program toward privatizing more routine missions – such as the transport of supplies and eventually people to and from the ISS. While this upcoming mission is only a preliminary test, SpaceX eventually hopes to dramatically reduce the cost of launching cargo and people into space by eventually making both the first and second stages of its rockets reusable. Last year, the company estimated that once its rockets are able to land back on earth and, after re-fueling, quickly be re-launched, the cost for a trip to the ISS could drop to as low as from $5 million to $7 million. Read More

Topics: Science and Innovation

Apr 14, 2014 11:15 am

Data Feed: Google’s campaign donations, tax day facts, world military spending

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.  Read More

Category: Data Feed

Apr 14, 2014 11:00 am

U.S. workforce more concentrated in large — and largely low-paid — occupations

Chart showing largest U.S. occupations, and average salaries, for 2013 and 1999

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the 10 largest occupations (as of May 2013), accounting for more than a fifth of all U.S. wage and salary jobs, are predominantly low-paid ones — cashiers, sales clerks, fast-food workers and the like. That’s broadly been the pattern in U.S. employment for many years. But overall employment has become more concentrated in those largest occupational categories over the past decade or so, and well-paying jobs account for a smaller share of them. Read More

Topics: Work and Employment

Apr 14, 2014 9:00 am

Attending a Seder is common practice for American Jews


Percentage of U.S. Jews who say they participated in a Seder last year.

Jewish participation in SederThe Jewish festival of Passover begins at sundown tonight, when many Jews will gather with family and friends for the first of two Seders. While the exact nature of a Seder varies, Jews traditionally read from a book known as the Haggadah – or “telling” in Hebrew – and retell the story of the exodus from slavery in Egypt before eating a festive meal.

Among several common traditions are a Seder plate with symbolic foods, a reading of the “four questions” to explain the uniqueness of Passover and a search by children for a hidden afikoman (a broken piece of matzah, the unleavened bread that is eaten during the holiday).

A 2013 Pew Research survey of Jewish Americans found that attending a Seder is an extremely common practice for the group. While only 23% of U.S. Jews said they attend religious services at least monthly, 70% said they participated in a Seder last year. That includes 42% of Jews of no religion (those who consider themselves Jewish in some way, were raised Jewish or had a Jewish parent, but say they are atheist or agnostic or have no particular religion.)

Participation in a Seder is more common among Jewish Americans than any of the other practices we asked about, including fasting for all or part of Yom Kippur (53%) – often considered the holiest day of the Jewish calendar – and always or usually lighting Sabbath candles (23%).

Category: Daily Number

Topics: Religious Beliefs and Practices