Jan 4, 2017 7:03 am

Among high school seniors, interest in science varies by race, ethnicity

Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post
Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post

A majority of high school seniors in the U.S. say they enjoy science and around four-in-ten (44%) would like to have a job in the field, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). These sentiments, however, tend to vary by race and ethnicity – a pattern that also is reflected in American students’ test scores in science.

Overall, 71% of 12th-grade students agree with the statement, “I like science.” While majorities of all major racial and ethnic groups report having a fondness for science, Asian and Pacific Islander high school seniors are the most likely group to say this, while blacks are the least.

Similar racial and ethnic differences emerge when 12th-graders are asked whether they want a career in science. Six-in-ten Asian and Pacific Islander high school seniors say they would like a job that involves science and 64% say it is important that they do well in the subject to get the kind of job they want. By comparison, 45% of whites, 40% of Hispanics and 39% of blacks say they want a science-related job, and no more than half of these respective groups agree that they need to do well in science to get the kind of job they desire.  Read More

Topics: Education, Race and Ethnicity, Science and Innovation

Jan 3, 2017 2:04 pm

No consensus among Israeli Jews about settlements’ impact on security

Israel recently vaulted back onto the front pages when the UN Security Council on Dec. 23 voted 14-0 to condemn the continued construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The United States, in a rare show of public displeasure with Israel, abstained from the vote, forgoing the opportunity to veto the resolution. In the days following, the two countries traded criticisms, culminating a week later with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying that settlements pose a “threat” to peace and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issuing a critical response.

Some Israeli politicians in the current governing coalition have mentioned security implications as one argument in favor of West Bank settlements, but Pew Research Center polling in late 2014 and early 2015 found that there is no clear consensus among Israeli Jews over whether settlements help or hurt the country’s security.

Indeed, while roughly four-in-ten Israeli Jews (42%) said that the continued building of settlements helps the security of Israel, three-in-ten (30%) said the settlements hurt the country’s security, while a quarter (25%) said they do not affect Israel’s security one way or another. Roughly a year earlier, Israeli Jews were less sanguine about the benefits of settlement building: In 2013, only 31% said such construction improved Israel’s security.

Among Israeli Jews, opinion about the role of settlements varies greatly depending on a number of factors.  Read More

Topics: International Governments and Institutions, Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Wars and International Conflicts

Jan 3, 2017 11:31 am

More than a million Millennials are becoming moms each year

Some 1.3 million Millennial women gave birth for the first time in 2015, according to recently released data from the National Center for Health Statistics, raising the total number of U.S. women in this generation who have become mothers to more than 16 million.

All told, Millennial women (those born from 1981 to 1997) accounted for about eight-in-ten (82%) U.S. births in 2015. At the same time, Millennials make up 31% of the adult U.S. population, and just over a third (34%) of the U.S. workforce.

While they now account for the vast majority of annual U.S. births, Millennial women are waiting longer to become parents than prior generations did. Among Millennial women ages 18 to 33 in 2014, for instance, 42% were moms. But when women from Generation X – those born between 1965 and 1980 – were in the same age range, 49% were already moms, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey data. (The rising age at first birth is hardly limited to the Millennial generation. It has been a trend since at least 1970. Many factors may contribute, including a shift away from marriage, increasing educational attainment and the movement of women into the labor force.)

Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Millennials, Parenthood

Jan 3, 2017 6:55 am

About seven-in-ten Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade

More than 40 years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, 69% of Americans say the historic ruling, which established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, should not be completely overturned. Nearly three-in-ten (28%), by contrast, would like to see it overturned.

Public opinion about the 1973 case has held relatively steady in recent decades, though the share saying the decision should not be overturned is up slightly from four years ago, Pew Research Center’s December survey found. In January 2013, 63% said this, which was similar to views measured in surveys conducted over the prior two decades. Read More

Topics: Abortion, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Social Values, Supreme Court, U.S. Political Parties

Dec 29, 2016 3:09 pm

Pew Research Center’s most-read research of 2016

Pew Research Center published 125 reports and more than 400 blog posts in 2016, covering a wide array of topics, from race and immigration, to the U.S. presidential election and religion. As the year draws to a close, we look back at our research that attracted the most readers, as measured by web visitors to our site.

1. America’s shrinking middle class: A close look at changes within metropolitan areas

The American middle class is shrinking in most metropolitan areas, according to our analysis of government data. From 2000 to 2014, the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined. However, in 119 of the 229 areas, the share of adults in the upper-income tier increased more than the share of adults in the lower-income tier. To see if you are part of the American middle class, use our calculator to find out which income group you are in. The results will compare you first with other adults in your metropolitan area and among American adults overall, and then with other adults in the U.S. similar to you in education, age, race or ethnicity, and marital status. Read More

Dec 29, 2016 6:56 am

Tillerson would be first secretary of state without military or government experience

Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson addresses the World Gas Conference in Paris on June 2, 2015. (Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images)

Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for secretary of state, faces questions over potential conflicts of interest because of his current job as chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, the international oil giant. While Tillerson wouldn’t be the first secretary of state to come from a big-business background, he would be the first whose past experience was entirely in the private sector.

At least four secretaries of state previously worked as top executives for large private-sector companies, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of biographical data from the State Department and other sources. Some of them sparked concerns that their business interests might affect their future diplomatic duties. But, unlike Tillerson, all four also had worked in high-level government or military posts before becoming the nation’s top diplomat.

Read More

Topics: Business and Labor, Discrimination and Prejudice, Foreign Affairs and Policy, International Threats and Allies, Military and Veterans, National Security, Religion and Society, U.S. Political Figures, World Economies

Dec 28, 2016 2:00 pm

U.S. ends year with fewest executions since 1991

With public support for the death penalty at its lowest point in more than four decades, the U.S. will end the year with its fewest executions in a quarter century.

Nationwide, 20 inmates were executed in 2016, according to a report from the Death Penalty Information Center. That’s the fewest since 1991, when 14 inmates were executed. In every other year since 1992, the U.S. executed at least 28 people.  Read More

Topics: Criminal Justice, Death Penalty, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and U.S. Politics, State and Local Government

Dec 28, 2016 7:02 am

Health issues topped the list of scientific studies reaching wide audiences in 2016

About 2.5 million scientific journal articles are published annually, and the growth of social media and online news outlets have given scientists powerful ways to share their findings – so much so that new measures are being developed to help capture the impact these outlets have on scientific work.

A Pew Research Center analysis of the top 100 most-discussed scientific journal articles of 2016 shows that the science articles getting news and social media attention stretched across multiple fields. Health care policy, space and evolution led the way.

This analysis is based on data produced by Altmetric to capture the reach of scientific journal articles in online news outlets, social media and other online platforms. Articles are ranked according to their “Altmetric Attention Score,” a weighted average of the number of times the article was mentioned across a pool of more than 2,000 English and non-English global news outlets, blogs, Twitter posts and other online platforms.

Read More

Topics: Health, Science and Innovation

Dec 27, 2016 6:54 am

The Muslim gender gap in educational attainment is shrinking

On average, Muslim men around the world have more formal schooling than women, a fact well-known by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai and other Muslim activists for female education. But while the Muslim gender gap in education remains large, relative to most other major religious groups, it has narrowed in recent generations: Muslim women have made greater educational gains than Muslim men in most regions of the world, according to Pew Research Center’s comprehensive new study on educational attainment among the world’s major religious groups.

The study looked at changes in educational attainment across three recent generations, finding that the youngest generation of Muslim adults analyzed (born 1976 to 1985) have far more formal education than those in the oldest generation analyzed (born 1936 to 1955). While both men and women are contributing to these gains, women have been gaining at a faster rate.

The oldest Muslim women in the study averaged just 2.5 years of schooling, compared with 4.6 years for men – a gap of 2.1 years. Young women (ages 25 to 34 as of 2010), by comparison, have averaged more than twice as many years of formal education as their female elders (6.1 years), and now trail young men (7.3 years) by just over a year.  Read More

Topics: Education, Educational Attainment, Gender, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Dec 22, 2016 3:00 pm

How Americans are talking about Trump’s election in 6 charts

More than a month after the presidential election, Donald Trump’s victory and his plans for the presidency remain a topic of conversation for most – but not all – Americans. With the holidays approaching, 39% of U.S. adults say their families avoid conversations about politics.

Following one of the most divisive campaigns in recent memory, here are six charts that highlight some of the ways people are talking about the election and its aftermath.

Highly educated Democrats are especially likely to be talking about the election

Overall, most people (64%) say Trump’s election and plans for his presidency have come up very often or somewhat often in their conversations, according to the latest national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 12 among 4,183 adults on our nationally representative American Trends Panel.

Highly educated Democrats – those with at least a college degree – are more likely than Republicans and others in their own party to say they’ve discussed the election.

About four-in-ten Democrats and Democratic leaners with college degrees (43%) say the election comes up very often. About half as many (18%) Democrats with less education talk about it very often. Only about a quarter of Republicans and Republican leaners across educational levels say they have talked frequently about the election.

Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Gender, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Polarization, Social Media, Social Networking, U.S. Political Parties