Jan 14, 2016 10:04 am

Dangers that teens and kids face: A look at the data

American parents' concerns for their childrenWorrying about your kids is one of the defining traits of being a parent. But the nature of that worrying varies considerably across demographic groups, according to a recent Pew Research Center report.

Low-income parents, for instance, are more concerned about teen pregnancy and their kids getting in trouble with the law than are higher-income parents. Black parents are more likely than white parents to worry about their children being shot, while white parents are more likely than black parents to worry that their children will struggle with anxiety or depression. Hispanic parents worry more than black or white parents about all eight measures we asked about, from being bullied to having problems with drugs or alcohol (a trend driven primarily by foreign-born Hispanics, who tend to have lower incomes and less education).

To examine the actual incidence of the areas of concern discussed in the Center’s report, we analyzed national statistics from a variety of sources on getting shot, getting in trouble with the law, teen pregnancy, kidnappings, drug and alcohol use, anxiety/depression, getting beat up and being bullied. Here’s what we found: Read More

Topics: Parenthood, Teens and Youth

Jan 14, 2016 8:00 am

How Americans balance privacy concerns with sharing personal information: 5 key findings

Many Americans are in an “It depends” frame of mind when they consider a central trade-off of the digital era: Will you share personal information in return for a product, service or other benefit?

A new report from Pew Research Center explores six different scenarios where Americans might encounter that privacy-related question. It finds that people consider a variety of things in making their decisions, such as the value of the benefit they are being offered, the circumstances of their lives, how they feel about the organization that is collecting the data, what happens to their personal data after it is captured and how long the data are retained.

This report builds on other recent Pew Research Center survey results showing the emotions Americans feel as they struggle to understand the terms that govern sharing personal information with companies.

Here are some of the main insights from the survey and focus groups that were conducted for this research:

1Different bargains have different value to Americans. A trade-off considered acceptable by 54% of Americans was having surveillance cameras in the office in order to improve workplace security and help reduce thefts. On the other hand, a scenario involving the use of a “smart thermostat” in people’s homes that might save energy costs in return for insight about people’s comings and goings was deemed “acceptable” by only 27% of adults, while 55% saw it as “not acceptable.”

How Americans balance privacy concerns with sharing personal information Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Information Seeking, Online Privacy and Safety

Jan 12, 2016 10:00 am

Presidential job approval ratings from Ike to Obama

Perhaps no measure better captures the public’s sentiment toward the president than job approval. It dates back to the earliest days of public opinion polling, when George Gallup asked about Franklin D. Roosevelt starting in the 1930s:

“Do you approve or disapprove of the way ____ is handling his job as president?”

Our poll in December 2015 showed that 46% of Americans approve of Barack Obama’s job performance – a rating that’s been steady throughout 2015, and is up 4 percentage points from a year prior.

Digging deeper into job approval ratings reveals additional insights about the public’s views of its leaders. We looked at Pew Research Center data going back to Bill Clinton, and Gallup data going back to Dwight Eisenhower. These ratings reflect, for example, how views of presidents have become more politically polarized, as well as how key events in U.S. history have helped shape positive and negative views of our commanders in chief.

1Views of the president among members of the opposing party have steadily become more negative over time. Our 2014 report on political polarization documented this dramatic growth in partisan divisions over views of presidential job performance. Over the course of Obama’s presidency, his average approval rating among Democrats has been 80%, compared with just 14% among Republicans.

During Eisenhower’s two terms, from 1953 to 1960, an average of 49% of Democrats said they approved of the job the Republican president was doing in office. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, an average of 31% of Democrats approved of his job performance. And just over a quarter (27%) of Republicans offered a positive assessment of Clinton between 1993 and 2000. But the two most recent presidents – George W. Bush and Obama – have not received even this minimal level of support.

Polarization and presidential approval: supporters stay loyal, opposition intensifies Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Political Polarization, Presidential Approval, U.S. Political Figures

Jan 11, 2016 10:01 am

Before Obama’s last State of the Union, a look back at his early hopes

After rough start, modest economic growth during Obama's termPresident Obama isn’t expected to use his final State of the Union address Tuesday night to lay out a list of legislative proposals, as such speeches typically do. Instead, he reportedly will use the address both to look back on what he considers his administration’s major accomplishments, and to discuss more broadly “what we all need to do together in the years to come [to] guarantee an even stronger, better, more prosperous America.”

Given that, we decided to look back at Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress, in February 2009 – a State of the Union speech in all but name. We wanted to see what his priorities were, how they compared with the public’s priorities at the time, and what’s happened on those issues in the years since. We looked at the three issues at the top of the public’s list of domestic priorities for 2009, as measured by a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January of that year: the economy, jobs and terrorism. We also examined two other issues that Obama discussed at length in his speech that year: health care and education. (The Center will report data on the public’s policy priorities for 2016 later this month.)  Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Economic Recession, Educational Attainment, Health Care, National Economy, Terrorism, U.S. Political Figures

Jan 8, 2016 8:55 am

Q&A: Why Millennials are less religious than older Americans

While the U.S. public in general is becoming less religious, the nation’s youngest adults are by many measures much less religious than everyone else. Indeed, one of the most striking findings in the recently released Religious Landscape Study is that Millennials (young adults born between 1981 and 1996) are much less likely than older Americans to pray or attend church regularly or to consider religion an important part of their lives.

Michael Hout, Professor of Sociology, New York University. (Credits: New York University; Eva Seto)
Michael Hout, Professor of Sociology, New York University. (Credits: New York University; Eva Seto)

Recently, we sat down with Michael Hout, a professor of sociology at New York University, to examine possible reasons Millennials are generally not as religious as older Americans. Hout, who has spent years studying generational and religious changes in the United States, is the author or co-author of a number of books, including “Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years.”

By many measures of religious commitment, Millennials are less religious than older Americans. Why do you think this is?

Most age differences at any given time are the legacy of the times people grew up in. Many Millennials have parents who are Baby Boomers and Boomers expressed to their children that it’s important to think for themselves – that they find their own moral compass. Also, they rejected the idea that a good kid is an obedient kid. That’s at odds with organizations, like churches, that have a long tradition of official teaching and obedience. And more than any other group, Millennials have been and are still being formed in this cultural context. As a result, they are more likely to have a “do-it-yourself” attitude toward religion. Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Millennials, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

Jan 7, 2016 12:00 pm

In 21 states, local newspapers lack a dedicated D.C. reporter covering Congress

Recent shifts in the media landscape have meant big changes within the Washington press corps – including a decline in the number of Washington-based reporters who work for local newspapers. Between 2009 and 2014, the number of D.C.-based reporters for local newspapers around the country who are accredited by the Senate to cover Congress declined by 11%, according to data from the U.S. Senate Press Gallery, which accredits Capitol Hill journalists.

In 21 states, local newspapers have no reporters on Capitol HillPapers that do employ these reporters – who are tasked in part with interpreting the decisions and policies of Washington for readers back home – are not clustered in any one part of the country, but rather are spread out around the United States. But 21 of 50 states do not have a single local daily newspaper with its own dedicated D.C. correspondent accredited to cover Congress.

While these 21 states tend to have smaller populations and thus small congressional delegations, there are notable exceptions. Arizona and Indiana (both with a nine-member delegation) have no local paper with its own dedicated D.C. correspondent.

Read More

Category: Sortable Table

Topics: Community Media, Congress, Federal Government, Newspapers, State of the News Media

Jan 7, 2016 9:55 am

6 takeaways about how parents monitor their teen’s digital activities

Parents have long faced the dilemma of when to step back and when to take a more hands-on approach with their kids. Technology has added a new wrinkle to that problem: Today’s parents must navigate how, when and to what extent they oversee their teens’ online and mobile activities.

A new Pew Research Center report on parents of 13- to 17-year-olds finds that parents take a wide range of actions to monitor their teen’s digital life and to encourage their child to use technology in an appropriate and responsible manner.

Here are six takeaways from the report:

1A majority of parents check their teen’s web history or social media profile, while fewer use tech-based parental controls Parents are keeping a close eye on their teen’s digital life, but few do so by tech-based means. Roughly six-in-ten parents say they have either checked which websites their teen has visited or looked at their teen’s social media profile. And about half say they have looked through their teen’s phone call records or messages. But few parents are utilizing more technical measures – such as parental controls or location tracking tools – to monitor their teen.

2A majority of parents employ “digital grounding” or restrict their teen’s online access. Sixty-five percent of parents say they have taken away their teen’s internet privileges or cellphone as punishment, while half of parents limit how often their teen can be online. Pew Research Center surveys have found that 92% of teens say they go online daily, with 24% using the internet “almost constantly,” and nearly three-quarters of teens have access to a smartphone. Therefore, “digital grounding” is a potentially potent form of discipline. But limiting online screen time isn’t always a consequence of bad behavior: 55% of parents say they limit the amount of time their teen can go online, regardless of behavior. Moreover, parents of younger teens are especially likely to place limits on their teen’s internet use. Read More

Topics: Online Privacy and Safety, Social Media, Teens and Technology, Teens and Youth

Jan 7, 2016 7:00 am

The Middle East’s sectarian divide on views of Saudi Arabia, Iran

Wide variation in favorability of Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle EastThe recent execution of Shia leader Nimr al-Nimr, along with dozens of other prisoners, by the Saudi Arabian government has sparked a furor in the Middle East. The storming of the Saudi Embassy amid protests in Iran, a predominantly Shia Muslim nation with long-standing animosity toward predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia, has led to the cutting of diplomatic ties between the two powers. Saudi allies in the region, such as Bahrain, have followed suit.

The tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are often characterized as sectarian – that is, Iran and its Shia allies versus Saudi Arabia and its Sunni brethren. And this characterization plays out to a large degree in public attitudes toward the two countries in five Middle Eastern nations Pew Research Center surveyed in spring 2015. In Jordan, a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation, 78% of the public have a favorable view of Saudi Arabia, compared with only 8% who have a positive opinion of Iran.

Read More

Topics: Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam

Jan 6, 2016 2:03 pm

Around half of newspaper readers rely only on print edition

This weekend, Boston Globe editorial employees received an unusual request: Could anyone run a paper route? Due to problems with the paper’s new distributor, some home subscribers had not received their print editions. About 200 Globe workers responded to the call, and hand-delivered copies to local residents.

Although the paper announced Tuesday that it was returning to its old distributor for help with home deliveries, the Globe situation is a reminder that even in the digital era, many local news consumers still rely on the print product for their news.

Around half of newspaper readers only read in print

Read More

Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Media Trends, News Sources, Newspapers

Jan 6, 2016 12:02 pm

A new estimate of the U.S. Muslim population

Total American Muslim population share projected to growPew Research Center estimates that there were about 3.3 million Muslims of all ages living in the United States in 2015. This means that Muslims made up about 1% of the total U.S. population (about 322 million people in 2015), and we estimate that that share will double by 2050.

Our new estimate of Muslims and other faiths is based on a demographic projection that models growth in the American Muslim population since our 2011 estimate and includes both adults and children. The projection uses data on age, fertility, mortality, migration and religious switching drawn from multiple sources, including the 2011 survey of Muslim Americans. Read More

Topics: Muslim Americans, Muslims and Islam, Population Projections, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation