Jun 30, 2017 2:10 pm

Where Europe stands on gay marriage and civil unions

More than 16 years after the Netherlands became the world’s first country to allow same-sex marriage, neighboring Germany has become the latest European nation to legalize the practice. On June 30, the country’s parliament, by a vote of 393 to 226, passed legislation that will allow gays and lesbians to wed.

Germany, the largest country in Western Europe by population, becomes the 15th European nation to change its laws to allow gay marriage. This number counts England and Wales as one country and Scotland as a separate entity, since those parts of the United Kingdom passed two separate pieces of legislation on same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland, the other UK constituent state, has not legalized such marriages.

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Topics: Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Social Values, Europe

Jun 30, 2017 12:00 pm

Most Americans say the U.S. is among the greatest countries in the world

(Jabin Botsford for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
(Jabin Botsford for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

As the U.S. prepares to celebrate Independence Day, Americans remain overwhelmingly positive about their nation’s relative standing in the world, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

A majority of the public (85%) says either that the United States “stands above all other countries in the world” (29%) or that it is “one of the greatest countries, along with some others” (56%). Only 14% of Americans say there are “other countries better than the U.S.” These views have changed little in recent years.

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Topics: North America, U.S. Political Parties, National and Cultural Identity

Jun 29, 2017 1:00 pm

How male and female gun owners in the U.S. compare

About six-in-ten gun owners in the United States are male (62%). Still, about one-in-five women (22%) report that they own a gun. While these women resemble their male counterparts in some respects, their views on and experiences with guns often differ from those of male gun owners.

Here are seven ways that female and male gun owners compare, based on a recent Pew Research Center survey of 1,269 gun owners.

1Women who own guns tend to become gun owners at a later age than men. On average, women who own a gun or have owned one in the past report that they first got their own gun when they were 27 years old, compared with an average of 19 for men who own or have owned guns.

2Women are more likely than men to cite protection – rather than recreation – as the only reason they own a gun. Male and female gun owners are about equally likely to cite protection as a reason why they own guns: About nine-in-ten in each group say this is a reason, and 65% and 71%, respectively, say it is a major reason. But far larger shares of women than men who own guns say protection is the only reason they own a gun: About a quarter of women who own guns (27%) are in this category, compared with just 8% of men.

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Topics: Gender, U.S. Political Parties, Lifestyle

Jun 29, 2017 6:57 am

In Russia, nostalgia for Soviet Union and positive feelings about Stalin

A man holds a portrait of late Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as others place candles at a church in Stalin's native town of Gori, Georgia, on March 5, 2017, the 64th anniversary of his death. (Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds a portrait of late Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as others place candles at a church in Stalin’s native town of Gori, Georgia, on March 5, 2017, the 64th anniversary of his death. (Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the breakup of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. “Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory,” Putin said in a 2005 speech.

While not all Russians necessarily agree with Putin’s characterization, most do view the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 as “a bad thing,” according to a Pew Research Center survey of Russia and 17 other countries in Central and Eastern Europe conducted between 2015 and 2016. And this view is not limited to Russia.  Read More

Topics: Eastern Europe, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Russia, Europe, Communism

Jun 28, 2017 11:11 am

10 facts about smartphones as the iPhone turns 10

(Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images)

The iPhone turns 10 on June 29, and the moment warrants a look back at the broader story about the ways mobile devices have changed how people interact.

Here are 10 findings about these devices, based on Pew Research Center surveys:

1About three-quarters of U.S. adults (77%) say they own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011, making the smartphone one of the most quickly adopted consumer technologies in recent history. Smartphone ownership is more common among those who are younger or more affluent. For example, 92% of 18- to 29-year-olds say they own a smartphone, compared with 42% of those who are ages 65 and older.

Still, adoption rates have risen rapidly among older and lower-income Americans in recent years. From 2013 to 2016, the share of adults 65 and older who report owning a smartphone has risen 24 percentage points (from 18% to 42%). There has also been a 12-point increase in smartphone ownership among households earning less than $30,000 per year: 64% of these lower-income Americans now own a smartphone.

2Half of younger adults live in a household with three or more smartphones. More than nine-in-ten 18- to 29-year-olds (96%) say they live in a household with at least one smartphone, and 51% of young adults say their home contains three or more such devices. Still, many older adults also live in households with multiple smartphones. For example, 39% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 29% of 50- to 64-year-olds say their home contains three or more smartphones. This is far less common, however, among those 65 and older, with just 11% saying it applies to their household.

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Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Mobile, Technology Adoption, Digital Divide

Jun 27, 2017 7:02 am

People’s views of their national economies don’t always square with data

Many Europeans, Japanese and Americans feel better today about their nations’ economies than they did before the 2008 financial crisis, according to a new global survey by Pew Research Center. In most countries surveyed, perceptions of the economy broadly track actual performance – but that’s not always the case.

We compared the public assessment of national economic conditions in 38 countries surveyed this spring with two common measures of economic health: real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and unemployment. Our analysis found a modest relationship at best between those indicators and how people rated their nation’s economy, with plenty of outliers in both directions.

For example, Greece and South Africa both had similarly high levels of unemployment in 2016: 23.9% and 25.9% respectively, according to modeled International Labour Organization estimates (which are weighted annual averages, harmonized to account for the different ways nations measure their own unemployment, and obtained from the World Bank). Yet 45% of South Africans termed their country’s economy good in the Center’s survey, compared with just 2% of Greeks.

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Topics: World Economies, National Economy

Jun 26, 2017 7:55 pm

Around the world, favorability of the U.S. and confidence in its president decline

Global views of the U.S. and its president have shifted dramatically downward since the end of Barack Obama’s presidency and the start of Donald Trump’s, and they are now at similar levels to ratings from the George W. Bush era, according to a new Pew Research Center report that examines attitudes in 37 countries.

Build your own charts to see U.S. favorability and confidence in the U.S. president from 2002 to 2017.

Since the Center started tracking global opinions of the U.S. and its president in 2002, these views have risen and fallen dramatically. You can explore the arcs of U.S. favorability ratings in countries around the world by using this interactive chart builder. (Although the Center doesn’t conduct surveys in every country every year, patterns over time should be clear.)

Here’s a quick global tour highlighting trends in U.S. favorability and confidence in the U.S. president:

1Mexico and Canada have lost confidence in the U.S. president. In the United States’ southern and northern neighbors, confidence has fluctuated over the past three presidencies but declined most sharply this year. Just 22% of Canadians and 5% of Mexicans have at least some confidence in the U.S. president, down from more than eight-in-ten Canadians (83%) in 2016 and half of Mexicans (49%) in 2015. While Canadians generally have indicated greater confidence in U.S. presidents than Mexicans have, current Trump confidence levels are lower than both countries’ Bush-era lows.

These countries have generally maintained fairly steady levels of U.S. favorability over the past 15 years, yet they both show a sharp drop in U.S. favorability since Trump took office. Three-in-ten Mexicans have a very or somewhat favorable view of the U.S., down from two-thirds (66%) in 2015. About four-in-ten Canadians have favorable views of the U.S. (43%), down from 68% in 2015.

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Topics: U.S. Global Image and Anti-Americanism, U.S. Political Figures, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Donald Trump

Jun 26, 2017 11:09 am

Among U.S. gun owners, parents more likely than non-parents to keep their guns locked and unloaded

Gun owners with children younger than 18 in the household are more likely than those who aren’t parents to say they keep all their guns locked and unloaded while they’re at home, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Even so, 44% of gun-owning parents say there is a gun that is both loaded and easily accessible to them all or most of the time when they’re at home.

Among gun-owning parents with children in their household, 54% say all of the guns in their home are kept in a locked place and 53% say they are all kept unloaded. By comparison, 30% of gun owners who are not parents say all their guns are locked and 40% say they are unloaded, according to the survey conducted in March and April among 3,930 U.S. adults, including 1,269 gun owners.

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Topics: Gun Policy, Family and Relationships, Parenthood, Household and Family Structure

Jun 26, 2017 9:30 am

5 facts about same-sex marriage

Partners Kevin Foster (right) and Joey Thibodeaux place wedding bands on each other’s fingers during their same-sex wedding ceremony in Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)
Partners Kevin Foster (right) and Joey Thibodeaux place wedding bands on each other’s fingers during their same-sex wedding ceremony in Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Menendez)

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that granted same-sex couples a constitutional right to marry. The 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized gay marriage nationwide, including in the 14 states that did not previously allow gays and lesbians to wed. The decision rested in part on the court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment; the justices ruled that limiting marriage only to heterosexual couples violates the amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Here are five key facts about same-sex marriage:

1Public support for same-sex marriage has grown rapidly over the past decade. In 2007, Americans opposed legalizing same-sex marriage by a margin of 54% to 37%. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that by roughly two-to-one, more Americans support (62%) than oppose (32%) allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Supreme Court, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Lifestyle

Jun 23, 2017 4:00 pm

Public support for ‘single payer’ health coverage grows, driven by Democrats

A majority of Americans say it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. And a growing share now supports a “single payer” approach to health insurance, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center.

Currently, 60% say the federal government is responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, while 39% say this is not the government’s responsibility. These views are unchanged from January, but the share saying health coverage is a government responsibility remains at its highest level in nearly a decade.

Among those who see a government responsibility to provide health coverage for all, more now say it should be provided through a single health insurance system run by the government, rather than through a mix of private companies and government programs. Overall, 33% of the public now favors such a “single payer” approach to health insurance, up 5 percentage points since January and 12 points since 2014. Democrats – especially liberal Democrats – are much more supportive of this approach than they were even at the start of this year.  Read More

Topics: Political Party Affiliation, Federal Government, Political Polarization, Health Care, Political Issue Priorities