Feb 3, 2017 1:32 pm

Young people less likely to view Iraqi, Syrian refugees as major threat to U.S.

Before President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily halting the U.S. refugee program, Americans were sharply divided over the threat that refugees from countries such as Iraq and Syria posed to the United States.

In early January, the partisan gap in these opinions was wide, but the age gap was about as large – and had widened since last year.

Trump’s executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days and barred entry by Syrian refugees indefinitely. It also temporarily blocked people from Iraq, Syria and five other countries in the Middle East and North Africa from entering the U.S.

In early January, 46% of the public said “a large number of refugees leaving countries such as Iraq and Syria” was a major threat to the well-being of the U.S. About a third (35%) considered this a minor threat, while 16% said this was not a threat.  Read More

Topics: Immigration, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Immigration Attitudes, Immigration Trends, Country of Origin, Political Attitudes and Values, Generations and Age, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Syria, Political Polarization

Feb 3, 2017 12:30 pm

Most Americans oppose churches choosing sides in elections

Our polling shows that Americans like their politicians to have strong religious convictions. And nearly half of Americans also say they want churches and other houses of worship to speak out on social and political topics. But there has long been a consensus that churches should not endorse specific candidates for public office.

Questions surrounding the role of churches in the political process are back in the news after President Donald Trump, in an address Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, proposed to “get rid of and totally destroy” existing legal limits on houses of worship endorsing candidates. Currently, a law known as the Johnson Amendment, enacted in 1954, prohibits tax-exempt institutions like churches from involvement in political campaigns on behalf of or against any political candidate.

When it comes to questions about religion and politics, Americans by and large say they like public officials to be religiously grounded. As of mid-2016, about six-in-ten (62%) U.S. adults agree with the statement “it’s important to me that a president have strong religious beliefs.” This has long been the majority view among Americans, though support for the statement has declined gradually over the past eight years or so.  Read More

Topics: Religion and Government, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and U.S. Politics, Elections and Campaigns, Social Values, Donald Trump

Feb 3, 2017 10:26 am

Countries affected by Trump travel rules accounted for more than 900,000 U.S. entries since 2006

The seven nations affected by a new executive order that prevents many of their citizens from entering the United States for the next 90 days accounted for 904,415 legal U.S. entries between fiscal years 2006 and 2015. This group includes visitors, students and diplomats as well as refugees and new lawful permanent residents, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data.  Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Country of Origin, U.S. Political Figures, Middle East and North Africa, Migration

Feb 3, 2017 9:30 am

Where refugees to the U.S. come from

Conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere are driving hundreds of thousands of refugees to seek shelter in neighboring countries, Europe and the United States. These crises are the most recent in a long line of conflicts forcing people from their homes. According to data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, more than 3 million refugees in total have arrived in the U.S. since 1975.

A look at where refugees to the U.S. have come from and their number provides a glimpse into global events and the U.S.’s role in providing a safe haven. Of the 84,995 refugees admitted to the United States in fiscal year 2016, the largest numbers came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Burma (Myanmar) and Iraq.

(Note: For more on refugees, including those to the U.S., see Key facts about the world’s refugees and Key facts about refugees to the U.S.)

Historically, waves of refugees to the U.S. have ebbed and flowed with global conflict. In the 1990s, waves of refugees came to the U.S. in large numbers from the former Soviet Union. However, refugee admittance dropped off steeply in the wake of the terrorist attacks in 2001. The total annual number of refugees has trended upward since then. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Wars and International Conflicts, Immigration Trends, Country of Origin, Migration

Feb 2, 2017 7:01 am

The changing face of Congress in 5 charts

Members of the 115th U.S. Congress take their oath of office Jan. 3. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Members of the 115th U.S. Congress take their oath of office Jan. 3. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The 115th Congress took office in January and set to work on an agenda that includes confirming President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, addressing illegal immigration and repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law signed by Barack Obama. Republicans now control both chambers of Congress and the White House for the first time since 2007, when George W. Bush was president.

Apart from its political makeup and policy objectives, the new Congress differs from prior ones in other ways, including its demographics. Here are five charts that show how Congress has changed over the long term, using historical data from CQ Roll Call, the Brookings Institution, the Congressional Research Service and other sources.

Read More

Topics: Education, Gender, Demographics, Congress, Race and Ethnicity, Federal Government, Educational Attainment, Military and Veterans

Jan 31, 2017 1:15 pm

World’s Muslim population more widespread than you might think

President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily freezing immigration from seven predominantly Islamic countries would affect only about 12% of the world’s Muslims, according to estimates from a 2015 Pew Research Center report on the current and projected size of religious groups. In fact, of the seven countries named in the new immigration ban – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – only one, Iran, is among the 10 countries with the largest Muslim populations.

As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity. And although many people, especially in the United States, may associate Islam with countries in the Middle East or North Africa, nearly two-thirds (62%) of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Pew Research Center analysis. In fact, more Muslims live in India and Pakistan (344 million combined) than in the entire Middle East-North Africa region (317 million).

However, the Middle East-North Africa region has the highest concentration of Muslims of any region of the world: 93% of its approximately 341 million inhabitants are Muslim, compared with 30% in sub-Saharan Africa and 24% in the Asia-Pacific region.  Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Population Trends, Population Geography, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam

Jan 31, 2017 6:57 am

Women may never make up half of the U.S. workforce

After decades of strong gains, the share of women in the U.S. labor force has plateaued in recent years. Recently released projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the female share of the labor force will peak at 47.1% in 2025 and then taper off to 46.3% by 2060, meaning that women will remain a minority of the labor force.

This overall trend in the composition of the labor force is tied to labor force participation, which the new projections indicate will continue to decline for both women and men.

Most economists say a decline in labor force participation is a matter of concern because improvements in the nation’s standard of living depend on labor force participation and productivity growth. The rapid increase in the share of women entering the labor force between 1950 and 2000 boosted overall labor force participation and spurred an increase in living standards (as measured by gross domestic product per person). The decline in participation since 2000 has worked to the opposite effect, depressing economic growth.  Read More

Topics: Gender, Work and Employment

Jan 30, 2017 1:45 pm

Key facts about refugees to the U.S.

Syrian refugees take notes during their Vocational ESL class at the International Rescue Committee center in San Diego on Aug. 31, 2016. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
Syrian refugees take notes during their vocational ESL class at the International Rescue Committee center in San Diego on Aug. 31, 2016. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

An executive order signed Jan. 27 by President Donald Trump suspends refugee admissions for 120 days while security procedures are reviewed, though the resettlement of persecuted religious minorities may continue during this time on a case-by-case basis. Under the plan, the maximum number of refugees allowed into the U.S. in fiscal 2017 will likely decline from 110,000 to 50,000. Separately, admission of Syrian refugees will be suspended pending a revision of security screening measures.

About 3 million refugees have been resettled in the U.S. since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, which created the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program and the current national standard for the screening and admission of refugees into the country.

Read More

Topics: Immigration, U.S. Political Parties, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Immigration Attitudes, Immigration Trends, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Migration

Jan 30, 2017 7:05 am

Most Americans see labor unions, corporations favorably

With President Donald Trump’s labor secretary nominee set to appear before the Senate next week, the public has broadly positive views of both labor unions and business corporations.

About six-in-ten adults today have a favorable view of labor unions (60%) and business corporations (56%), according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Views of both have grown more positive since March 2015, when roughly half of adults (48%) expressed a favorable view of each.

The public’s opinions of corporations and unions were largely positive throughout the early 2000s, but turned more negative during the Great Recession. Today, favorable opinions of each are at their highest levels in nearly a decade.

Republicans and Democrats have long been divided in their views of labor and business, and that remains the case today: Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are much more favorable toward labor unions than business corporations, while the inverse is true for Republicans and Republican leaners.  Read More

Topics: Work and Employment, U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, Business and Labor, Political Polarization

Jan 26, 2017 3:00 pm

5 facts about abortion

More than four decades after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, opponents and supporters of abortion rights are still battling over the issue in court, at the ballot box and in state legislatures. On Friday, opponents of the ruling will converge on Washington, D.C., for an annual march to protest the decision. And next week, President Donald Trump is expected to nominate a new Supreme Court justice who he has said will be “pro-life.”

As the debate over abortion continues, here are five key facts about Americans’ views on the topic, based on recent Pew Research Center polling:

1About six-in-ten U.S. adults (59%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 37% who say it should be illegal all or most of the time. Public support for legal abortion is now as high as it’s been in two decades of polling.

2There is a substantial partisan and ideological divide on abortion, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to say it should be legal in all or most cases. This gap is even larger between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans: Nearly nine-in-ten liberal Democrats (88%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with only about three-in-ten self-described conservatives in the GOP (27%).

3When it comes to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling, about seven-in-ten Americans (69%) say Roe v. Wade should not be completely overturned. Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to hold this view, and there are also significant differences by education level and religious affiliation. Nearly nine-in-ten of those with postgraduate degrees (88%) say the court should not overturn the decision, versus about seven-in-ten of those with a college degree (74%) or some college experience (70%) and 62% of those with a high school diploma or less education. There are no significant differences on this question by gender.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Religion and Government, Political Attitudes and Values, Supreme Court, Religion and U.S. Politics, Abortion, Religious Affiliation, Social Values