May 12, 2014 9:41 am

The acquisition binge in local TV

The 5 biggest US TV station owners

Some analysts say the Aereo TV case now before the U.S. Supreme Court could have disastrous consequences for local TV stations if the justices allow the company to capture broadcast programming without paying content producers. The New York Times’ David Carr warned, that in one such scenario, “companies that own large groups of local stations like the Tribune Company and the Sinclair Broadcast Group would suddenly find themselves in possession of a much diminished collection of assets.”

If that potential threat looms, it hasn’t slowed these media companies from dramatically expanding their local television holdings in recent years. A decade ago, the number of stations owned by what are now the five largest local TV companies was 190. Today, that number is 464. In 2013, alone, about 300 full-power local TV stations changed hands, at a cost of more than $8 billion. That is 195 more stations sold than in 2012 and more than four times the dollar value of the deals made in 2012.

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Topics: News Media Sectors, Television

May 9, 2014 10:32 am

Chart of the Week: Climate change is already here

Map of average temperature change in the U.S.

The National Climate Assessment, issued this week by a team of government researchers, minced no words about the impacts of climate change: You’re feeling them now.

Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” said the report. “Summers are longer and hotter, and extended periods of unusual heat last longer than any living American has ever experienced. Winters are generally shorter and warmer. Rain comes in heavier downpours…Residents of some coastal cities see their streets flood more regularly during storms and high tides…Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage.”

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Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Energy and Environment

May 9, 2014 9:00 am

Obama job ratings higher than Bush, but pale next to Bill Clinton

Obama, Bush, Clinton Job Ratings During MidtermsRight after their re-elections, President Obama and George W. Bush both suffered through the first year of their second terms. Heading into this year’s midterm elections, Obama’s job approval rate may be nothing to brag about, but it is better than Bush’s was at this point in 2006 and Obama appears to be less of a drag on his party’s midterm prospects than Bush was.

Obama’s job approval rating stands at 44% while Bush’s was 35% at the same point in the 2006 midterm year, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 23-27. But Obama can look with some envy at where his Democratic predecessor — Bill Clinton — stood in his sixth year. Clinton’s approval rating was a solid 62%.  Read More

Topics: Election News, Presidential Approval

May 9, 2014 7:00 am

5 questions (and answers) about American moms today

Credit: Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images
Credit: Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images

American mothers today look far different from mothers celebrated 100 years ago when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a day of reverence for mothers. Here’s what we know about today’s American moms and how they’ve changed over time.

1Who are American moms?

marital status of mothers 1960 2012There are about 85 million mothers in America, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau estimate. Our analysis of census data shows that the share of mothers with kids younger than 18 at home has declined. Today, about a third (34%) of women ages 18-64 have young children at home; in 1960, 52% did. And women are having children at a later age than they used to. In 2012, the average age of a first-time mother was 25.8 years, up from 21.4 years in 1970.

The marital status of mothers has also changed dramatically. In 1960, nearly all mothers with young children were married, compared with just seven-in-ten today. About four-in-ten (41%) of all births today are to unmarried women; up from just 5% of births in 1960. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Family Roles, Marriage and Divorce, Parenthood

May 8, 2014 12:34 pm

Hispanic Millennials are less religious than older U.S. Hispanics

Millennial adults in the United States – that is, Americans ages 18 and older but born after 1980 – are more “detached from institutions,” including traditional religion, than their elders, according to a Pew Research report released earlier this year. We’ve also known for a while that younger generations are less likely to affiliate with religious groups.

Hispanic Millennials mirror young American adults overall in their lower rates of religious affiliation and commitment compared with their older counterparts.Our new survey of U.S. Hispanics and religion enables us to take a more detailed look at whether the trend holds true among the country’s largest ethnic minority. And indeed, Hispanic Millennials mirror young American adults overall in their lower rates of religious affiliation and commitment compared with their older counterparts.

Similar shares of Hispanic Millennials (28%) and U.S. Millennials overall (31%) say they have no particular religion or are atheist or agnostic. By comparison, the percentages of Hispanic adults overall and American adults overall who are religiously unaffiliated are lower (18% of Hispanics, 20% of all U.S. adults).

Our new survey also finds lower levels of religious practice, by several measures, among Latino adults born since 1981. About three-in-ten (31%) say they attend religious services at least weekly, a percentage comparable to U.S. Millennials overall (29%) and lower than among Latinos overall (40%).

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Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Identity, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

May 8, 2014 9:39 am

Q/A: How Pew Research tracks public opinion in countries stricken by violence and unrest

BellThe Pew Research Center today released findings from a new survey in Ukraine, conducted as that country grapples with separatist movements, armed conflict and general uncertainty about the nation’s political future. Pew Research is polling in more than 40 countries this year. Fact Tank’s Drew DeSilver sat down with James Bell, Pew Research’s director of international survey research, to discuss how the center designs and implements its surveys in places like Ukraine.

Q: Many people following the news in Ukraine are likely wondering, how was Pew Research able to successfully field a survey under present conditions?  Read More

Topics: Polling, Research Methodology, Wars and International Conflicts

May 7, 2014 2:49 pm

Opting out? About 10% of highly educated moms are staying at home

Credit: Igor Demchenkov / Getty Images
Credit: Igor Demchenkov / Getty Images

About one-in-ten mothers with a Master’s degree or more are staying at home in order to care for their family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data. Among mothers with professional degrees, such as medical degrees, law degrees or nursing degrees, 11% are relatively affluent and are out of the workforce in order to care for their families. This is true for 9% of Master’s degree holders and 6% of mothers with a Ph.D.

These so-called “opt-out moms” (roughly 10% of all highly educated mothers) make up just 1% of the nation’s 35 million mothers ages 18 to 69 who are living with their children younger than 18. For our purposes, “opt-out moms” are mothers who have at least a Master’s degree, an annual family income of $75,000 or more; a working husband; and who state that they are out of the workforce in order to care for their family.

Lisa Belkin first coined the term “opting out” in 2003, to describe highly educated, high-achieving women who seemingly chose to “opt out, ratchet back, and redefine work” after becoming mothers.  Ever since then, the phenomenon of “opt-out” mothers has been a subject of much media fascination—the idea that such ambitious, professionally-successful women would put their careers aside, for the opportunity to focus exclusively on  their families seemed to really strike a chord. Read More

Topics: Parenthood, Work and Employment

May 7, 2014 12:02 pm

Fewer Hispanics are Catholic, so how can more Catholics be Hispanic?

For more than 25 years, the Catholic Church in the United States has made a special effort to reach the Hispanic community, with programs and resources that flow from archbishops’ offices to local parishes.

In many ways, that effort has paid off. In 1970, Archbishop Patrick Flores became the first U.S. Hispanic bishop. Today, there are 26 active Hispanic bishops (roughly 10% of all active bishops) and about 450 Hispanic seminarians at the graduate level of training for the priesthood (about 14% of all seminarians at that level), according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. But the degree to which the church has succeeded in keeping Latinos in the pews is less clear.

On the one hand, the percentage of Latinos in the U.S. who are Catholic is declining, according to a major new Pew Research Center report. A majority (55%) of the nation’s estimated 35.4 million Latino adults – or about 19.6 million Latinos – identify as Catholic, but that’s down from two-thirds (67%) as recently as 2010. Today, nearly one-in-four Latino adults (24%) are now former Catholics. (We also asked about the reasons Latinos are leaving Catholicism.) Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Identity, Religious Affiliation

May 6, 2014 4:35 pm

Mother’s Day beats Valentine’s Day in Google ‘flowers’ search

google searches for flowers

When the U.S. House of Representatives issued its first Mother’s Day resolution in 1913, it called on all federal government officials to wear a “white carnation or some other white flower” to honor the nation’s moms. But even before the Congressional proclamation of an official day, mothers have been celebrated with flowers.

Today, more Americans search for “flowers” around Mother’s Day than Valentine’s Day, according to Google Trends data for the last 10 years. While the volume of searches for “flowers” in the United States are stable through most of the year, searches peak on the Friday before Mother’s Day and on Valentine’s Day. Google’s Trends tool measures the popularity of a search term relative to all searches in the United States. Data are reported on a scale from 0 to 100.

Topics: Internet Activities

May 6, 2014 12:26 pm

Americans still sour on the economy despite falling unemployment

Hires as a percentage of total employmentThe falling unemployment rate (6.3% in April) hasn’t done much to dent Americans’ pessimism about the economy. In a Pew Research Center survey released Monday, 65% of people say jobs in their community are difficult to find — down from the record levels seen in early 2010, but far above pre-Great Recession levels. Only 27% say jobs are plentiful.

The disconnect between public attitudes and the official joblessness data supports the idea that the unemployment rate — one of the most widely reported economic statistics, along with inflation and GDP  — isn’t fully capturing what’s happening in the U.S. economy. Part of the reason is simple arithmetic: Much of the decline in the unemployment rate comes not from more people finding work but from fewer people actively looking for it, and thus not counted as being in the labor force. (The labor-force participation rate last month, 62.8%, was as low as it’s been since early 1978.) Read More

Topics: National Economy, Work and Employment