Apr 22, 2016 7:00 am

For Earth Day, here’s how Americans view environmental issues

The 1970s were an important era for American environmentalism. Congress passed the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, President Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency, and the nation’s first Earth Day – created by Democratic Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin – was held on April 22, 1970.

Forty-six years later, Earth Day has expanded across the globe, with dozens of countries holding events ranging from launching new recycling programs to rallies addressing climate change.

Here are five findings related to the public’s views about the environment:

1Should the country do whatever it takes to protect the environment? Most Americans say yes, but party divisions grow widerOverall, Americans support protecting the environment, but there are deep partisan divides on the issue. Fully 74% of U.S. adults said the “country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment,” compared with 23% who say “the country has gone too far in its efforts to protect the environment,” according to newly released data from a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March.

Democrats and those who lean to the Democratic Party have consistently been more likely than Republican and Republican leaners to agree that the country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment, but Republican support has decreased since 2004 and the gap between the two groups has widened to 38 percentage points today.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Energy and Environment, Federal Government, Political Issue Priorities, U.S. Political Parties

Apr 21, 2016 9:55 am

Texas immigrant population now rivals New York’s in size

Texas, New York now tied in immigrant population sizeThe immigrant population in Texas has grown rapidly in recent decades, reaching 4.5 million in 2014. That puts Texas in a tie with New York for the second largest state immigrant population by size.

New York had the largest immigrant population of any state from 1850 to 1970, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

But in the 1970s, things changed as immigration from Mexico began to surge. By 1980, California overtook New York as the state with the most immigrants, after more than doubling its immigrant population in a decade. In 2014, California’s immigrant population was the largest in the country, numbering 10.5 million – more than twice the size of New York’s and Texas’. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Population Geography, Population Trends

Apr 21, 2016 7:00 am

World’s centenarian population projected to grow eightfold by 2050

The world’s centenarian population projected to grow rapidly The world was home to nearly half a million centenarians (people ages 100 and older) in 2015, more than four times as many as in 1990, according to United Nations estimates. And this growth is expected to accelerate: Projections suggest there will be 3.7 million centenarians across the globe in 2050.

While centenarians make up a small share of the world’s older population, their proportion is growing. In 1990 there were 2.9 centenarians for every 10,000 adults ages 65 and older around the world. That share grew to 7.4 by 2015 and is projected to rise to 23.6 by 2050.

Since 1990, the population of those ages 80 and older – the oldest segments of the 65-plus population – has grown more rapidly than that of the younger segments, those ages 65-79. This faster growth is driven by improved life expectancies among those 65 and older. Read More

Topics: Demographics, Generations and Age, Population Geography, Population Projections, Population Trends

Apr 20, 2016 10:00 am

Rise in English proficiency among U.S. Hispanics is driven by the young

English proficiency up among young Hispanics since 2000English proficiency among U.S. Latinos has risen over the past 14 years, an increase almost entirely due to the growing share of younger Hispanics born in the U.S., according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

When asked about their language use and English proficiency in 2014, some 88% of Latinos ages 5 to 17 said they either speak only English at home or speak English “very well,” up from 73% who said the same in 2000.

And among Latinos ages 18 to 33, the share who speak only English at home or say they speak English “very well” increased from 59% to 76% during this time.

Increasing English use by young Hispanics has been driven in large part by demographics. More Hispanics in the U.S. today were born in the country than arrived as immigrants (the number of newly arrived immigrants from Latin America has been in decline for a decade). For example, 65% of Latinos in 2014 were U.S. born, compared with 60% in 2000. One consequence of this trend is that a greater share of young Hispanics ages 5 to 17 are growing up in households where only English is spoken – 37% in 2014 compared with 30% in 2000.  Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration Trends, Language

Apr 20, 2016 7:00 am

What different styles of head coverings say about Israeli Jewish men

What you wear can say a lot about who you are and what you believe. In Israel, for instance, the type of kippa – or lack thereof – worn by an Israeli Jewish man often is strongly correlated with his religious identity as well as some political views.

These skullcaps (also known by their Yiddish name, yarmulkes), are regularly worn by about one-third of Israel’s Jewish men, especially the religiously observant. They come in several basic styles, with some more favored by particular Jewish subgroups than others.

What different types of kippot say about Israeli Jewish men

Among Israeli men who say they usually wear a large black fabric kippa, a majority identify as Haredi (also known as ultra-Orthodox) Jews (58%). By contrast, most of those who wear a black crocheted or knitted kippa (59%) say they are Masorti (“traditional”) Jews. And small black fabric kippot (the plural of kippa) as well as colored or patterned crocheted kippot are particularly common among Dati (“religious,” sometimes called “modern Orthodox”) Jews. Read More

Topics: Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Apr 19, 2016 11:55 am

Most U.S. Catholics rely heavily on their own conscience for moral guidance

Few Catholics rely on pope for moral guidanceDespite Pope Francis’ overwhelming popularity, only about one-in-ten American Catholics say they turn to the pope “a great deal” for guidance on difficult moral questions, according to a Pew Research Center survey on religion in everyday life.

Rather, most Catholics say they look inward for guidance in their lives. Roughly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics (73%) say they rely “a great deal” on their own conscience when facing difficult moral problems, compared with 21% who look to the Catholic Church’s teachings, 15% who turn to the Bible and 11% who say they rely a great deal on the pope.

Catholics, both highly religious and not, rely on their own conscience for moral guidancePerhaps not surprisingly, Catholics who are highly religious (defined in our survey as those who say they pray daily and attend religious services at least once a week) are considerably more likely than other Catholics to seek guidance from church teachings, the Bible and the pope. Still, no more than half of highly religious Catholics give great weight to any of these sources of guidance, while 74% say they rely a great deal on their conscience.

Relying on one’s own conscience doesn’t necessarily indicate a conflict with church teachings. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasizes that “a well-formed conscience is upright and truthful” and that “[t]he education of the conscience is a lifelong task.” According to the Catechism, the “Word of God” (i.e., the Bible) and the “authoritative teaching of the Church” should guide the formation and education of the conscience. And Pope Francis’ recent proclamation, “Amoris Laetitia,” makes several references to the importance of Catholics’ individual consciences in issues related to family life. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religious Leaders

Apr 19, 2016 10:29 am

5 ways Americans and Europeans are different

Americans and Europeans share many things: a commitment to fundamental democratic principles, a strategic alliance that has shaped the world order for more than half a century, and despite serious economic challenges in recent years, some of the highest living standards in the world. Still, there are notable differences across the Atlantic. As our polling has found over the years, Americans and Europeans often have different perspectives on individualism, the role of government, free expression, religion and morality.

Americans stand out on individualism

1Americans are more likely to believe they control their own destiny. In a 2014 survey, 57% of Americans disagreed with the statement “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control,” a higher percentage than in any of the European nations polled. (At the same time, it’s worth noting that on this and other questions there are differences within Europe too. For example, on this question, the United Kingdom looks a lot like the United States.) Americans are also especially likely to believe that an individual who works hard can find success: 73% said hard work is very important for getting ahead in life compared to a European median of 35%.
Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Europe, Free Speech, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and Society, Social Values

Apr 18, 2016 12:15 pm

What the world thinks about climate change in 7 charts

On April 22, leaders and representatives from more than 150 countries will gather at the United Nations to sign the global climate change agreement reached in Paris in December. Pew Research Center’s spring 2015 survey found that people around the world are concerned about climate change and want their governments to take action. Here are seven key findings from the poll:

1Majorities in all 40 nations polled say climate change is a serious problem, and a global median of 54% believe it is a very serious problem. Still, the intensity of concern varies substantially across regions and nations. Latin Americans and sub-Saharan Africans are particularly worried about climate change. Americans and Chinese, whose countries have the highest overall carbon dioxide emissions, are less concerned.

2People in countries with high per-capita levels of carbon emissions are less intensely concerned about climate change. Among the nations we surveyed, the U.S. has the highest carbon emissions per capita, but it is among the least concerned about climate change and its potential impact. Others in this category are Australia, Canada and Russia. Publics in Africa, Latin America and Asia, many of which have very low emissions per capita, are frequently the most concerned about the negative effects of climate change. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Energy and Environment, International Governments and Institutions

Apr 15, 2016 9:55 am

Many Americans don’t argue about religion – or even talk about it

Half of U.S. adults seldom or never discuss religion with non-familyAccording to Miss Manners, polite people do not bring up religion in social conversations. Of course, if Americans stayed away from all the topics the etiquette columnist deems taboo in polite company – including politics, money, sex, illness and what people are wearing – a lot of dinners would pass by in silence.

But, judging by the results of our recently released survey on religion in everyday life, religion does indeed seem to be a subject many people avoid. About half of U.S. adults tell us they seldom (33%) or never (16%) talk about religion with people outside their family. And roughly four-in-ten say they seldom (26%) or never (13%) discuss religion even with members of their immediate family. Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Apr 15, 2016 7:00 am

Americans’ views of immigrants marked by widening partisan, generational divides

Wide partisan gap in views of immigrants' impact on U.S.Republicans and Democrats continue to disagree deeply over immigration policies, including how to deal with undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and whether to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Underlying these differences is a substantial – and growing – partisan divide over whether immigrants generally are a strength or burden on the country.

For more than 20 years, Pew Research Center has been asking whether immigrants in the U.S. “strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents,” or whether they “are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care.”

In that time period, opinions about immigrants have shifted dramatically. In our latest national political survey, released in March, 59% of the public say immigrants strengthen the country, while 33% describe them as a burden. In 1994, opinions were nearly the reverse: 63% said immigrants were a burden and 31% said they strengthened the country.

Between 1994 and 2005, Republicans’ and Democrats’ views of immigrants tracked one another closely. Beginning around 2006, however, they began to diverge. In October that year, the partisan gap between Republicans and Democrats grew to 15 percentage points. Since then, the share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents saying that immigrants strengthen the country steadily increased, from 49% then to 78% now, while the share with this view among Republicans and Republican leaners has shown little change (34% then, 35% today). Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Immigration, Immigration Attitudes, Political Attitudes and Values, Unauthorized Immigration