Mar 2, 2016 9:55 am

Women relatively rare in top positions of religious leadership

While many large religious organizations in the United States allow women to be ordained – and to hold leadership positions within the organization – few women have actually served at the very top.

Women in religious leadershipWe looked at nine major religious organizations in the U.S. that both ordain women and allow them to hold top leadership slots. Of those organizations, four have had a woman in the top leadership position. And, so far, each of these four has had only one woman in the top position.

Currently, the American Baptist Churches USA and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are the only groups in our analysis with women in their top leadership positions. Susan Gillies is interim general secretary of the Baptist churches and Elizabeth Eaton is the presiding bishop of the Lutheran group. Read More

Topics: Gender, Religion and Society, Religious Leaders

Mar 2, 2016 7:00 am

UN peacekeeping at new highs after post-Cold War surge and decline

The rise of UN peacekeeping forces

The number of United Nations peacekeeping forces around the world has peaked in recent months, after falling off in the late 1990s. Today, more than 100,000 uniformed peacekeepers are deployed under 16 different missions – with the highest numbers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and South Sudan.

The first historical mission with a sizable military force was the UN Operation in the Congo (ONUC) in the early 1960s, which sought to restore order in the former Belgian colony that had fallen into violence. About 20,000 peacekeepers took part in the mission, during which then Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld died in a plane crash while flying into the region for diplomatic talks.

Peacekeeping activities were relatively infrequent for the next 25 years, but they spiked under the leadership of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who died in mid-February. During Boutros-Ghali’s January 1992 to December 1996 tenure, the number of ongoing missions rose from 10 to 18 – including high-profile operations in the former Yugoslavia, Somalia and Rwanda – while the number of peacekeeping forces reached a then high of nearly 79,000 in 1994, according to data from the UN, the Stimson Center and the International Peace Institute.

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Topics: International Governments and Institutions, International Organizations, International Threats and Allies, Wars and International Conflicts

Mar 1, 2016 10:55 am

Afro-Latino: A deeply rooted identity among U.S. Hispanics

Identity for U.S. Hispanics is multidimensional and multifaceted. For example, many Hispanics tie their identity to their ancestral countries of origin – Mexico, Cuba, Peru or the Dominican Republic. They may also look to their indigenous roots. Among the many ways Hispanics see their identity is their racial background.

A quarter of U.S. Hispanics identify as Afro-LatinoAfro-Latinos are one of these Latino identity groups. They are characterized by their diverse views of racial identity, reflecting the complex and varied nature of race and identity among Latinos. A Pew Research Center survey of Latino adults shows that one-quarter of all U.S. Latinos self-identify as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean or of African descent with roots in Latin America. This is the first time a nationally representative survey in the U.S. has asked the Latino population directly whether they considered themselves Afro-Latino.

In the U.S., Latinos with Caribbean roots are more likely to identify as Afro-Latino or Afro-Caribbean than those with roots elsewhere (34% versus 22%, respectively). Those who identify as Afro-Latino are more concentrated on the East Coast and in the South than other Latinos (65% of Afro-Latinos live in these regions vs. 48% of other Latinos). They are also more likely than other Latinos to be foreign born (70% vs. 52%), less likely to have some college education (24% vs. 37%), and more likely to have lower family incomes. About six-in-ten Afro-Latinos reported family incomes below $30,000 in 2013, compared with about half of those who did not identify as Afro-Latino (62% vs. 47%). Read More

Topics: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Identity, Latin America, Race and Ethnicity

Mar 1, 2016 9:37 am

A divide between college, non-college Republicans

There also are clear differences between college-educated Republicans and those without college in their views on immigration, racial issues, politics and government, and business.
A supporter holds a sign as GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a Feb. 19 rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

The 2016 presidential campaign has exposed class and education differences among Republicans. In several primary contests to date, billionaire Donald Trump has fared better among white Republican voters who have not completed college than among white GOP college graduates.

A review of Pew Research Center surveys over the past several months finds that white Republican college graduates and white Republicans who do not have a degree generally agree on many political and policy issues. But there also are clear differences in their views on immigration, racial issues, politics and government, and business.

Based on political surveys in 2015, white non-Hispanics made up a large majority (80%) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents; white non-Hispanics made up a smaller share (65%) of the public overall.

Among Republicans and Republican leaners, about a quarter (23%) are white college graduates. Nearly six-in-ten (57%) are whites who either have attended college but have not obtained a degree, or have not attended college.

Views of immigration, nation’s growing racial and ethnic diversity

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Topics: Educational Attainment, Political Attitudes and Values, Race and Ethnicity, U.S. Political Parties

Feb 29, 2016 10:55 am

Super Tuesday showcases electorate’s growing racial, ethnic diversity

Race and ethnicity of Super Tuesday states

The U.S. electorate this year will be the country’s most diverse ever, and that is evident in several Super Tuesday states holding primaries or caucuses on March 1 in which blacks could have a significant impact.

In five of 12 Super Tuesday states, blacks account for at least 15% of the electorate, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of 2014 census data. Black eligible voters have the largest footprint in Georgia (31%) and Alabama (26%), while Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas also have sizable black electorates. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Vote, Race and Ethnicity, Voter Demographics

Feb 29, 2016 10:00 am

5 facts about online dating

Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships. Few Americans had online dating experience when Pew Research Center first polled on the activity in 2005, but today 15% of U.S. adults report they have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps.

Here are five facts about online dating:

1Attitudes toward online dating grow more positiveOnline dating has lost much of its stigma, and a majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people.

When we first studied online dating habits in 2005, most Americans had little exposure to online dating or to the people who used it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people. Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating – and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Online Dating

Feb 29, 2016 9:25 am

How religious is your state?

Mississippi, Alabama and other Southern states are among the most highly religious states in the nation, while New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine in New England are among the least devout, according to some of the key measures used to determine levels of religiosity in the Pew Research Center’s most recent Religious Landscape Study.

To begin, select a state to see where it ranks in terms of overall religiosity. In exploring the interactive it is important to keep in mind that differences between two states may not always be statistically significant due to the margins of error that are inherent in this survey data.

How religious is your state?

There are many potential ways of defining what it means to be religious, but for the purposes of this analysis, we looked at four common measures of religious observance: worship attendance, prayer frequency, belief in God and the self-described importance of religion in one’s life. The interactive tool above allows you to rank the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia by each of these measures – and by the percentage of adults in each state who are “highly religious” overall. Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Feb 26, 2016 11:09 am

Long Supreme Court vacancies used to be more common

Longest vacancies in Supreme Court seats

If Senate Republicans stick with their declared intention to not consider anyone President Obama might nominate to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, his seat on the court could remain vacant for a year or more. That would be the longest vacancy on the court in nearly five decades, but by no means the longest in U.S. history.

In fact, for much of the 19th century it was not uncommon for Supreme Court seats to be unoccupied for months at a time – or, in a few cases, years. But there were only two extended vacancies in the 20th century: the 391 days from the resignation of Abe Fortas in May 1969 to Harry Blackmun’s swearing-in in June 1970, and the 237 days from Lewis Powell’s retirement in June 1987 to Anthony Kennedy’s swearing-in in February 1988. The average duration of the 15 Supreme Court vacancies since 1970 has been just over 55 days – partly because it’s become common for departing justices to make their official retirements contingent on the confirmation of a successor. Read More

Topics: Supreme Court

Feb 25, 2016 11:55 am

A closer look at religion in the Super Tuesday states

Religious groups rarely vote as a fully unified bloc. For instance, in the South Carolina Republican primary, white evangelical Christian voters were split among those who voted for Donald Trump (34%), Ted Cruz (26%), Marco Rubio (21%) and others, according to exit polls.

But looking at the religious makeup of individual states, and at each party’s potential voters within a particular state, can still help in understanding the electoral landscape. Indeed, as voters for one or both parties in 12 states prepare to cast ballots or caucus on March 1 – Super Tuesday – we looked at data from Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study to help shed light on who might vote and their potential motivations.

Religious affiliation of Republicans in Super Tuesday states

Republicans in general tend to place a higher level of importance on religion than do Democrats, and this holds true across the Super Tuesday states. Two-thirds of Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP in these states (66%) say religion is very important to them, compared with 53% of Democrats. For Democrats and Democratic leaners, religion’s importance varies widely among states – from Vermont, where 21% of Democrats say religion is very important to them, to Alabama, where 84% of Democrats say the same. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Religion and U.S. Politics

Feb 25, 2016 7:00 am

Public support for environmental regulations varies by state

Stricter environmental regulations are worth the cost, say most AmericansWhen it comes to potential trade-offs between the environment and the economy, most Americans say stricter environmental regulations are worth the cost, while fewer say stricter environmental regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy. But there are substantial differences in opinion about this issue from one state to the next that tell a different story than national surveys on the issue.

Generally, public attitudes on environmental regulation, as well the environment generally, are strongly linked with politics. Democrats and liberals are much more likely to support stricter environmental regulations, while Republicans and conservatives are by comparison more likely to say such regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy. Read More

Topics: Energy and Environment, Political Issue Priorities