Nov 22, 2016 6:58 am

Among democracies, U.S. stands out in how it chooses its head of state

Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election this month – in particular, his winning a clear majority of the Electoral College vote despite receiving nearly 1.3 million fewer popular votes than Hillary Clinton – prompted readers of another Pew Research Center Fact Tank post to wonder how the U.S. system compares with the way other countries elect their leaders.

The short answer: No other democratic nation fills its top job quite the way the U.S. does, and only a handful are even similar.

Besides the U.S, the only other democracies that indirectly elect a leader who combines the roles of head of state and head of government (as the U.S. president does) are Botswana, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, South Africa and Suriname. (The Swiss collective presidency also is elected indirectly, by that country’s parliament.) Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Democracy, Elections and Campaigns, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, World Elections

Nov 21, 2016 3:30 pm

Many voters, especially blacks, expect race relations to worsen following Trump’s election

Voters are far more pessimistic about progress in race relations under Donald Trump than they were after Barack Obama’s election eight years ago, and the shift has been particularly striking among blacks.

Nearly half of U.S. voters (46%) expect Trump’s election to lead to worse race relations, while just 25% say they will improve (26% say there will be no difference). By contrast, after Obama’s election eight years ago, 52% of voters expected race relations to improve, while just 9% said they would be worse; roughly a third (36%) said there would be little change.

A Pew Research Center survey of voters after Election Day finds that roughly three-quarters of blacks (74%) expect race relations to worsen following Trump’s election as president, while just 5% expect them to improve (17% expect little change). In 2008, these views were almost the reverse: 75% of black voters said Obama’s election would lead to better race relations, while about a quarter (24%) expected no difference in relations (less than 1% said race relations would worsen).

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Topics: 2016 Election, African Americans, Donald Trump, Race and Ethnicity

Nov 21, 2016 2:16 pm

Anti-Muslim assaults reach 9/11-era levels, FBI data show

The number of physical assaults against Muslims in the United States reached 9/11-era levels last year, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new hate crimes statistics from the FBI. There were 91 reported aggravated or simple assaults motivated by anti-Muslim bias in 2015, just two shy of the 93 reported in 2001.

Separately, the number of anti-Muslim intimidation crimes – defined as threatening bodily harm — also rose in 2015, with 120 reported to the FBI. Again, this was the most anti-Muslim intimidation crimes reported in any year since 2001, when there were 296.

Overall, the FBI reported 257 incidents of anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2015, a 67% increase from the previous year. These incidents included 301 individual crimes, 71% of which were crimes against people, as opposed to property. (Incidents can encompass more than one crime.) By contrast, crimes perpetrated against other religious groups more often involved property offenses, such as vandalism or theft. For example, 64% of anti-Jewish and 51% of anti-Catholic offenses in 2015 involved vandalism, compared with just 23% of anti-Muslim offenses.

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Topics: Criminal Justice, Discrimination and Prejudice, Muslim Americans, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Restrictions on Religion

Nov 21, 2016 1:45 pm

TV still the top source for election results, but digital platforms rise

A substantial majority of U.S. voters – 84% – followed along as results trickled in on election night, and television was by far their most common way of tracking returns. Nearly nine-in-ten of those who followed returns (88%) did so on TV, while 48% used online platforms. About one-in-five (21%) used social networks such as Twitter or Facebook, according to a Pew Research Center post-election survey.

The share of voters who tracked election returns on TV was similar to the share who did so during the last presidential election (92% in 2012, 88% this year). On the other hand, digital sources have gained ground. The share of voters who followed returns online increased by 14 percentage points since 2012 (from 34% to 48%), while the share who tracked results using a social networking site more than doubled (from 8% to 21%).

Younger adults were especially likely to have turned to online sources on election night. Fully 79% of voters under the age of 35 who followed the election returns did so online – identical to the share of young adults who followed them on TV. Additionally, 41% of this group followed along on social media. By comparison, just 19% of voters ages 65 and older who followed election returns did so online, and just 7% of these older voters turned to social media.  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Election News, Internet Activities, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Sources, Politics Online, Television

Nov 21, 2016 7:15 am

Latinos made economic strides in 2015 after years of few gains

Latinos made progress on household income, poverty and jobs in 2015 after years of little or no economic gains, but they have lagged in building personal wealth, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

Hispanic real median household income was $45,148 last year, an increase of 6.1% over 2014, when median income stood at $42,540, the latest economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. Over the same period, the real median household income increased by 4.4% for non-Hispanic whites, 4.1% for blacks and 3.7% for Asians. Even so, Hispanics still trailed non-Hispanic whites ($62,950) and Asians ($77,166) by significant margins on this measure.

Hispanics also saw their poverty rate decline as household incomes rose. The Hispanic poverty rate stood at 21.4% in 2015, down from 23.6% in 2014, according to the Census Bureau. Non-Hispanic whites (9.1%) and Asians (11.4%) had far lower poverty rates than Hispanics in 2015, while that of blacks (24.1%) was slightly higher.  Read More

Topics: Economics and Personal Finances, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Income, Income Inequality, National Economy, Socioeconomic Class, Work and Employment

Nov 18, 2016 10:00 am

Why join the gig economy? For many, the answer is ‘for fun’

Nearly a quarter of Americans say they’ve earned money in the digital “platform economy” in the past year, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Perhaps surprisingly, though, the most commonly cited motivation for these workers is not the pay.

Our survey asked those who have earned money through digital employment platforms – such as ride-hailing apps or various digital task sites – why they take on this type of work. They cited a number of reasons, from helping to fill in gaps in their other sources of income (37% mentioned this) to needing ways to earn money that could fit into the other demands on their time (30%). But the number one motivation, cited by 42% of respondents, was fun, or because the work gives them something to do in their spare time.

A closer examination of this group highlights several themes that speak to the significant diversity in the broader gig economy.

First, many of these “platform earners” engage in this work for a variety of reasons. Among those who are motivated by a desire to have fun or for something to do in their spare time, around one-quarter (27%) also say that they engage in this work to help fill gaps or fluctuations in their other income. Meanwhile, around one-in-five say they are also motivated by a desire to gain work experience (19%) or because of a lack of other jobs in their area (17%), while 15% cite the need to control their own schedule due to other obligations.

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Topics: Business and Labor, Internet Activities, Leisure Activities, Work and Employment

Nov 18, 2016 7:00 am

Majority of U.S. adults think news media should not add interpretation to the facts

A key question that news organizations face, particularly during intense periods like election years, is to what degree journalists should present the facts with some interpretation, giving their audience guidance in navigating all the information that comes at them.

A majority of U.S. adults (59%) reject the idea of adding interpretation, saying that the news media should present the facts alone, a recent Pew Research Center survey found. Four-in-ten favor adding some interpretation to the facts. The survey of 4,132 adults on the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel was conducted Sept. 27-Oct. 10, before Election Day.

Although the public prefers the news media to present “just the facts,” they may not even agree on what the facts are. In the same survey, 81% of registered voters said that most supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump not only disagree over plans and policies, but also disagree on basic facts.

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Topics: 2016 Election, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Interest, News Media Ethics and Practices, Political Party Affiliation

Nov 17, 2016 1:30 pm

Behind Trump’s win in rural white America: Women joined men in backing him

In rural parts of America, it wasn’t just white men who flocked to the polls on Election Day to vote for Donald Trump. Rural white women were right there in the voting lines with them.

The NBC News national exit poll documented how Trump and his populist message disproportionately appealed to both white men and women living in rural America. A recent survey by Pew Research Center, conducted this spring in association with the Markle Foundation, illustrates the depth of their financial frustrations with the status quo on some key economic measures – anxieties that are more deeply felt by rural whites than by whites living in the nation’s cities or suburbs.

Overall, Trump won small towns and rural America easily on Nov. 8, claiming 62% of the votes while Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton received 34%. By contrast, Trump won a more modest 50% to 45% victory in the suburbs while losing handily to Clinton in urban areas 59% to 35%.

The gender gap was a key part of the narrative this election season. Overall, 54% of all women voters said they voted for Clinton, while about the same proportion of men supported Trump (53%), the NBC News exit poll found. But among whites, the story was very different – particularly among men and women living in rural areas or small towns.

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Topics: 2016 Election, Gender, Immigration Attitudes, National Economy, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Issue Priorities, Poverty, Work and Employment

Nov 17, 2016 9:01 am

Pope Francis shaping a College of Cardinals that is less European

Unless his reign is short, a Roman Catholic pontiff will appoint most of the men who choose his successor. But Pope Francis’ additions to the College of Cardinals since his election in 2013 also have served another purpose – tilting the leadership structure of the Roman Catholic Church away from its historic European base and toward the global south.

Only three of the 13 voting members of the newest cardinal-designates (those younger than 80), who will be elevated to their positions on Nov. 19, are from Europe. Three others hail from countries in Latin America (Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela), three from North America (the United States), two from sub-Saharan Africa (Central African Republic and Mauritius), and two from the Asia-Pacific region (Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea).

Altogether, there will be 121 voting members of the College of Cardinals, which selects the next pope when a vacancy occurs. In 2013, the body that elected Francis was 52% European, but now, after three rounds of Francis’ selections, just 45% of the cardinal-electors are from Europe.

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Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Catholics and Catholicism, Europe, Latin America, North America, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religious Leaders, Sub-Saharan Africa

Nov 17, 2016 7:00 am

Children of unauthorized immigrants represent rising share of K-12 students

About 3.9 million kindergarten through 12th-grade students in U.S. public and private schools in 2014 – or 7.3% of the total – were children of unauthorized immigrants, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on government data. These estimates reflect an increase since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, when such students numbered 3.6 million and accounted for 6.6% of the total.

The rise in K-12 students with at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant contrasts with the total number of unauthorized immigrants, which has remained stable since 2009.

Before 2009, the trends had been similar, with both groups rising in number from 1995 to 2007 (the year the recession began), then declining to a lower level in 2008. The number of students with at least one unauthorized immigrant parent ticked up in 2009. (To learn more, see our interactive map.)

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Topics: Education, Family and Relationships, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration