Sep 27, 2017 11:01 am

Many poll respondents guess wrong on their interviewer’s race or ethnicity

Researchers have long known that an interviewer’s race or ethnicity can affect the way respondents reply to a question, both face-to-face and on the telephone. Yet few researchers have studied how respondents actually perceive their interviewer’s race or ethnicity over the phone.

A new analysis of a Pew Research Center telephone survey finds that many respondents incorrectly identify their telephone interviewer’s race or ethnicity.

The survey, conducted Feb. 29-May 8, 2016, among 3,769 adults, focused primarily on the topic of race relations, racial equality and discrimination.

Interviewers were instructed to ask the following question at the end of the survey: “You may not have thought about this … but if you had to guess, would you say I am white, black, Hispanic, Asian or some other race? Just your best guess is fine.”

The analysis of the responses shows that there is often a mismatch between what respondents perceive to be the interviewer’s race or ethnicity and the race or ethnicity specified in the interviewer’s employee records. About half of respondents overall (49%) guessed a race or ethnicity that didn’t match the interviewer’s self-identified race or ethnicity, while 40% guessed “correctly” and 11% said they could not make a guess or refused to answer.

Respondents were most accurate in identifying the race of white interviewers. Seven-in-ten correctly answered that they were talking to a white interviewer. In contrast, about half of respondents with black interviewers (51%) and 43% with Hispanic interviewers guessed that their interviewer was black or Hispanic, respectively. Almost no one (3%) contacted by an Asian interviewer correctly identified their interviewer’s race. A 60% majority of respondents who did not correctly identify the race or ethnicity of a nonwhite interviewer guessed that the interviewer was white.

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Topics: Telephone Survey Methods, Research Methods, Race and Ethnicity

Sep 27, 2017 7:00 am

Most Americans think the government could be monitoring their phone calls and emails

Seven-in-ten U.S. adults say it is at least somewhat likely that their own phone calls and emails are being monitored by the government, including 37% who believe that this type of surveillance is “very likely,” according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February.

Just 13% of the public say it is “not at all likely” that the government is monitoring their communications.

These views are prevalent across a number of different demographic groups, but there are some differences based on age, gender and education.

Most notably, nearly eight-in-ten U.S. adults under the age of 50 think it is likely that the government is tracking their communications, compared with around six-in-ten of those 50 and older.

Additionally, men are more likely than women to suspect government monitoring, as are those with a high school degree or less compared with people who have a college degree or higher.

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Topics: Federal Government, Online Privacy and Safety, Emerging Technology Impacts, Surveillance

Sep 26, 2017 2:01 pm

American-born Muslims more likely than Muslim immigrants to see negatives in U.S. society

While Muslims born in the United States and their immigrant counterparts share a pride in being American, U.S.-born Muslims are less likely than immigrants to feel comfortable with their place in broader American society.

Muslim immigrants and those born in the U.S. both overwhelmingly express pride in their national identity. About nine-in-ten U.S.-born (90%) and foreign-born (93%) Muslims say they are proud to be American, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey.

Like the larger American public, majorities of both U.S.-born Muslims and Muslim American immigrants say they believe people who want to get ahead can do so with hard work (65% and 73% respectively). Roughly six-in-ten of all Americans (62%) share this belief.

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Topics: Muslims and Islam, U.S. Political Figures, Immigration, Religion and U.S. Politics

Sep 26, 2017 10:31 am

About a third of Americans would tell a high schooler seeking career advice to enter a STEM-related field

Kimber Hendrix works on a presentation on a gray water recycling system during the Summer Multicultural Engineering Training at Colorado School of Mines on July 28 in Golden, Colorado. The two-week program brings rising high school juniors and seniors from Colorado to live, learn and get a feel for college life. (Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Kimber Hendrix works on a presentation on a gray water recycling system during the Summer Multicultural Engineering Training at Colorado School of Mines on July 28 in Golden, Colorado. The two-week program brings rising high school juniors and seniors from Colorado to live, learn and get a feel for college life. (Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Americans tend to differ over the best career advice to give high school students, with younger adults urging them to follow their dreams and older Americans telling them they should enter occupations in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in May.

In an open-ended question, respondents were asked, “If a current high school student asked you for advice on what sort of career they should pursue, what would you tell them?”

A third of U.S. adults say they would tell that student to simply follow their passion or do something they love. That response is highest among Americans ages 18 to 29 (40%), but declines noticeably among those ages 50 and up (28%).

Meanwhile, 34% of Americans say they would encourage high school students to get jobs in a STEM-related field, such as medicine or health care (19% say they would suggest a health-related career) or technology (14%). Again, enthusiasm for this career choice varies by age – but in this instance, adults ages 30 and older are more likely than those younger than 30 to promote the virtues of STEM fields (36% vs. 23%).

Along with STEM fields, smaller shares of Americans would recommend going into the skilled trades (7%); getting a job in the public sector or a similar professional occupation (6%); or working in business, finance or entrepreneurship (5%).

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Topics: Educational Attainment, Science and Innovation, Education, Work and Employment

Sep 25, 2017 2:03 pm

Key facts about unauthorized immigrants enrolled in DACA

Approximately 800,000 young unauthorized immigrants have received work permits and protection from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, since its creation five years ago. And nearly 690,000 of these immigrants are currently enrolled in the program, according to new data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The program’s future is uncertain after President Donald Trump’s recent announcement of plans to phase it out. The U.S. government is not accepting new DACA applications and will stop accepting renewal applications on Oct. 5. Those currently enrolled in the program retain their benefits, which last for a total of two years.

Trump has urged Congress to pass legislation by March 2018 that would give legal status to unauthorized immigrants enrolled in DACA, and some members of Congress have said they plan to propose legislation along those lines. (DACA enrollees whose benefits expire after March 5, 2018, will be the first to be dropped from the program.)

In the new data, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has for the first time released detailed demographic information about those currently enrolled in DACA, a group sometimes called “Dreamers.” Here are some key facts about these individuals, based on the new data.

About 690,000 unauthorized immigrants were enrolled in DACA as of Sept. 4. Although roughly 800,000 unauthorized immigrants have ever received benefits through DACA, about 110,000 of this group are no longer enrolled in the program. About 70,000 former DACA participants did not renew their benefits or had their renewal applications denied. Another 40,000 have adjusted their legal status and obtained green cards, which grant lawful permanent residence. (Some unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. can obtain legal status by marrying an American citizen or lawful permanent resident, obtaining asylum, or receiving certain types of visas such as those given to victims of a crime, among other ways.)

To qualify for DACA, enrollees must meet certain conditions, such as being enrolled in high school or having a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and not being convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors.

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Topics: Unauthorized Immigration, Immigration Trends, Global Migration and Demography, Demographics

Sep 25, 2017 7:00 am

Shows and films about crime, medicine help foster a positive view of scientists, say many Americans

The general news media and specialty publications are major ways most Americans get their information about science. But many also are exposed to scientific subjects through movies and television shows – and they come away from these fictional portraits with a positive impression of working in science, technology and medicine.

Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (81%) say they at least sometimes watch one or more of three types of science-related entertainment shows and movies: those focusing on criminal investigations, ones about hospitals and medical settings, or science fiction, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in May and June.

While many of these viewers come away with a favorable view of scientists, they also regard the TV shows and movies as focusing more on entertainment than getting the facts right.

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Topics: Television, Science and Innovation, Work and Employment

Sep 21, 2017 11:01 am

Most Americans get their science news from general outlets, but many doubt their accuracy

As debates swirl around science-related issues ranging from climate change to the food we eat, an important question is where Americans go to stay informed about science topics, if anywhere. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in May and June finds that general news outlets – those that cover a variety of topics in a given day – play a large role in how Americans stay informed about science.

Here are some key takeaways about Americans’ science news habits today:

1A majority of Americans get their science news from general outlets, though many question how often these outlets get the science facts right. More than half (54%) say they regularly get their science news from general news outlets, outpacing every other source type asked about, including a range of specialty science sources.

But just 28% of U.S. adults say general news outlets get the facts right about science almost always or more than half of the time. By contrast, roughly half of Americans say specialty sources – specifically, science documentaries, science magazines or science museums – get the facts right most of the time.

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Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Science and Innovation, News Interest, News Sources

Sep 20, 2017 7:00 am

Americans see men as the financial providers, even as women’s contributions grow

In about a third of married or cohabiting couples in the United States, women bring in half or more of the earnings, a significant increase from the past. But in most couples, men contribute more of the income, and this aligns with the fact that Americans place a higher value on a man’s role as financial provider.

Roughly seven-in-ten adults (71%) say it is very important for a man to be able to support a family financially to be a good husband or partner. By comparison, 32% say it’s very important for a woman to do the same to be a good wife or partner, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Men are especially likely to place a greater emphasis on their role as financial providers. While a nearly equal share of men and women say a man needs to be able to provide for his family to be a good husband or partner (72% and 71%, respectively), men are less likely than women to say the same about women. Just a quarter of men say this is very important for a woman to be a good wife or partner, compared with 39% of women.

However, the importance of being the financial provider ranks behind being caring and compassionate when it comes to being a good spouse or partner, in the public’s estimation. Overwhelming majorities say it is very important for men (86%) and women (90%) to have these qualities to be good spouses or partners.

The nationally representative survey of 4,971 adults was conducted Aug. 8-21, 2017, using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel.

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Topics: Gender, Income, Marriage and Divorce, Household and Family Structure

Sep 19, 2017 2:00 pm

5 facts about government debt around the world

Public debt has increased sharply in many countries in recent years, particularly during and after the Great Recession. Globally, the total amount of government debt now exceeds $63.1 trillion, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of International Monetary Fund data.

Here are five facts about government debt around the world. This analysis is based on IMF data for 43 countries that are members of the Group of Twenty or the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The figures used are for consolidated debt issued by all levels of government, less debt held by other governmental units (unless otherwise noted).

1The United States has more government debt than any other country analyzed, with nearly $20 trillion in gross debt in 2016. Japan was second, with 1,285 trillion yen (more than $11 trillion in 2016 dollars), followed by China with 34.5 trillion yuan (nearly $5 trillion). (Gross debt refers to all public debt – including intragovernmental debt, or what the government owes itself. Net debt, by contrast, is gross debt minus government assets related to debt, such as pensions for government workers.)

Worldwide, public debt is still significantly lower than total debt owed by the private sector. Private debt made up about two-thirds of all non-financial-sector global debt in 2015.

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Topics: Economic Recession, World Economies, National Economy

Sep 19, 2017 11:02 am

Going into election, Germans are happy with their economy and political establishment

Supporters of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, top candidate for the conservative Christian Democratic Union party in the upcoming general elections, hold up posters to cheer for her during an election campaign event in Freiburg, southwestern Germany, on Sept. 18, 2017. (Patrick Seeger/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, top candidate for the conservative Christian Democratic Union party in the upcoming general elections, hold up posters to cheer for her during an election campaign event in Freiburg, southwestern Germany, on Sept. 18, 2017. (Patrick Seeger/AFP/Getty Images)

Germans are feeling good about their country ahead of a national election on Sept. 24 that will determine whether Chancellor Angela Merkel leads her nation for a fourth consecutive term. Unlike many of their fellow European Union members, Germans are satisfied with the state of the economy and are broadly positive toward the political establishment that has led the nation through the post-World War II era.

An overwhelming 86% of Germans believe their economy is doing well, up from 75% last year, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in spring. Views of the economy have been consistently positive since 2011, reflecting Germany’s quick recovery from the global financial crisis. By comparison, just 2% of Greeks, 15% of Italians, 21% of French and 28% of Spanish say their economies are doing well.

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Topics: Western Europe, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Europe