Feb 19, 2016 4:57 pm

Americans feel the tensions between privacy and security concerns

Americans have long been divided in their views about the trade-off between security needs and personal privacy. Much of the focus has been on government surveillance, though there are also significant concerns about how businesses use data. The issue flared again this week when a federal court ordered Apple to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the suspects in the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, in December. Apple challenged the order to try to ensure that security of other iPhones remained protected, and also to provoke a wider national conversation about how far people would like technology firms to go in protecting their privacy or cooperating with law enforcement.

Public's shifting concerns on security and civil libertiesEvents have had a major impact on public attitudes on this issue. Terrorist attacks generate increased anxieties. For instance, the San Bernardino and Paris shootings in late 2015 had a striking impact. A Pew Research Center survey in December found that 56% of Americans were more concerned that the government’s anti-terror policies have not gone far enough to protect the country, compared with 28% who expressed concern that the policies have gone too far in restricting the average person’s civil liberties. Just two years earlier, amid the furor over Edward Snowden’s revelations about National Security Agency surveillance programs, more said their bigger concern was that anti-terror programs had gone too far in restricting civil liberties (47%) rather than not far enough in protecting the country (35%).

At the same time, there are other findings suggesting that Americans are becoming more anxious about their privacy, especially in the context of digital technologies that capture a wide array of data about them. Here is an overview of the state of play as the iPhone case moves further into legal proceedings. Read More

Topics: National Security, Online Privacy and Safety, Surveillance, Terrorism

Feb 19, 2016 12:00 pm

Is speaking Spanish necessary to be Hispanic? Most Hispanics say no

During Saturday’s Republican presidential debate in South Carolina, Marco Rubio questioned (in English) whether Ted Cruz speaks Spanish. Cruz responded in Spanish with a challenge to Rubio to discuss their views on immigration in that language.

Most Hispanics say speaking Spanish not necessary to be considered HispanicRubio’s confrontation with Cruz, who recently became the first Hispanic to win the Iowa caucuses, was interpreted by some as a challenge to how much Cruz belongs to or identifies with the Hispanic community in the U.S. (It’s worth noting that this is not a new tactic. Hispanic Democrats have been confronted before by fellow Latinos in a similar way.)

But what does the Hispanic public think when it comes to the question of whether it is necessary to speak Spanish in order to be considered Hispanic?

On the one hand, Spanish is an important part of Latino culture and identity, with 95% of Latinos saying it is important for future generations to speak Spanish.

Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Hispanic/Latino Identity, Language, U.S. Political Figures

Feb 18, 2016 2:00 pm

English-speaking Asian Americans stand out for their technology use

Discussions of the “digital divide” often touch on race and ethnicity – and the narrative is often that whites lead in technology adoption while other racial or ethnic groups struggle to keep up. But a new analysis of four Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2015 finds that this isn’t true for one group: English-speaking Asian Americans adopt a number of common technologies at rates that exceed the rest of the population, including whites.

It’s important to note that the figures reported here are based on surveys conducted only in English (and Spanish for non-English-speaking Hispanics); they do not include non-English-speaking Asian Americans. Our 2012 survey found that among all Asian Americans, 63.5% say they speak English “very well,” including about half of immigrant Asians.

Here are three key findings relating to English-speaking Asian Americans and technology use:

1English-speaking Asian Americans lead other racial, ethnic groups in use of several common technologies95% of English-speaking Asian Americans use the internet. English-speaking Asian Americans have long led other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to internet adoption, and that trend continues to hold true: This analysis shows that 95% of English-speaking Asian Americans reported using the internet in 2015, compared with 87% of whites, 81% of blacks and 82% of Hispanics.

284% of English-speaking Asian Americans have broadband service at home. The level of adoption of home broadband by English-speaking Asian Americans is nearly 20 percentage points higher than that of the overall population (67%) and is also higher than those of whites (72%), blacks (54%) and Hispanics (50%). Overall, home broadband use in the U.S. has plateaued in recent years after rising steadily since 2000. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Asian Americans, Broadband, Internet Activities, Mobile, Race and Ethnicity, Technology Adoption

Feb 18, 2016 10:00 am

The never-been-married are biggest users of online dating

Relatively few Americans had personal experience with dating online when Pew Research Center first asked about it in 2005. Today, 15% of Americans say they have ever used an online dating site or mobile dating app – and one of the largest groups using online dating are Americans who have never been married.

30% of never-married Americans have used online datingSome 30% of U.S. adults who have never been married say they have ever used an online dating site or mobile dating app. But it is not just never-married Millennials who are using online dating: 31% of never-married adults ages 35 and older have used an online dating site or mobile app, similar to the share (29%) of never-married 18- to 34-year-olds who have done so.

Indeed, an increasing number of Americans of all ages have never tied the knot. The share of Americans ages 25 and older who have never been married rose to 20% in 2012, up from just 9% in 1960, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center report.

Looking beyond the never-married population, 19% of those who are currently divorced, separated or widowed report ever using online dating. Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Marriage and Divorce, Online Dating

Feb 17, 2016 1:36 pm

Near-record number of primaries this year, but not quite as early

The rise of presidential primariesThe 2016 presidential primary schedule is more crowded than ever: At least one primary will be held in 41 states, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, and another among overseas Democrats – a calendar that cements the primary’s dominance over the older caucus system. And while campaigning seems to start earlier and earlier each cycle (Sen. Ted Cruz kicked things off almost a year ago, announcing his candidacy on March 23, 2015), the actual voting part is coming a bit later in the year than it used to: As recently as 2008, more than half of both parties’ primaries and caucuses had been held by early February; this year, the halfway point won’t be reached till March 15.

Democrats will vote in a record 41 state and territorial primaries this year, four more than in 2008, the last year there was a wide-open nomination contest. (Guam calls its vote a caucus, but it operates more like a party-run primary.) Republicans will hold a total of 39 primaries, the same as in 2008 and one fewer than in 2012. Of the 41 states scheduled to hold at least one major-party primary (up from 40 in 2008), 35 will hold both Republican and Democratic primaries, though not necessarily on the same day.

Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Elections and Campaigns, U.S. Political Parties

Feb 16, 2016 7:00 am

Millennials less confident about nation’s future, but so were their parents, grandparents when young

Carter's 'crisis of confidence' speech
College student Chuck McManis watches President Jimmy Carter’s nationally televised energy address, which became known as the “malaise” speech. When Carter felt beset by pessimism amid the energy crisis in 1979, he gave a startling speech warning that a “crisis of confidence” posed a fundamental threat to U.S. democracy. Photo by AP Photo/Mao

Millennials differ from older generations in many ways, from their racial and ethnic diversity to their distinctive views on a number of political and social issues. But they are similar in one surprising respect: As America’s youngest adult generation they are the least confident about the nation’s future, just like Generation Xers and Baby Boomers when they were young. Read More

Topics: Generations and Age

Feb 12, 2016 3:18 pm

What voters want in a president today, and how their views have changed

The presidential nomination contests are heating up and both parties’ 2016 fields have narrowed. And since it’s also Presidents Day weekend, it’s a good time to consider what voters want in a president, regardless of which candidate they may support.

Past experience is not necessarily required (especially for Republicans).

Last March, GOP voters valued experience; by September, most wanted ‘new ideas’Last March, more than a year before the first primaries, more voters valued a hypothetical candidate with “experience and a proven record” (50%) than one who had “new ideas and a different approach” (43%). Just six months later, those numbers had flipped – 55% said it was more important for a candidate to have new ideas, while 37% valued experience and a proven record.

This shift came entirely among Republican and Republican-leaning voters. The share of Republicans saying it was more important for a candidate to have new ideas increased by nearly 30 percentage points over this period, from 36% to 65%. Opinions among Democratic voters remained far more stable. In September, 50% valued experience, about the same as the 46% who said this in March.

Past experience as a Washington lawmaker also is viewed more negatively among the public overall than in prior presidential campaigns – again, especially among Republicans. In January, 31% of the public – including 44% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents – said they would be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who had been an elected official in Washington for many years. In 2007, just 15% of the public and 20% of Republicans had a negative view of a candidate with longtime experience as a D.C. elected official. Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Political Attitudes and Values, Voter Preferences

Feb 12, 2016 2:30 pm

Almost all U.S. presidents have been Christians

Nearly half of all U.S. presidents are Episcopalian or Presbyterian

The U.S. Constitution famously prohibits any religious test or requirement for public office. Still, most of the men who have been president have been openly religious, with many belonging to some of the country’s most prominent Protestant denominations.

A similar dynamic is at work in the current campaign for the White House. With the exception of Democrat Bernie Sanders (who is Jewish), all of the presidential hopefuls are Christians and most are Protestants.

In addition, all of the current presidential candidates have spoken openly about the importance of faith in their lives (again, with the exception of Sanders, who describes himself as “not particularly religious”). Our recent survey shows that many Americans care about their leaders’ faith. For instance, half of all American adults say that it’s important for a president to share their religious beliefs. And more people now say there is “too little” religious discussion by their political leaders (40%) than say there is “too much” (27%).

Historically, about a quarter of the presidents – including some of the nation’s most famous leaders, like George Washington, James Madison and Franklin Roosevelt – were members of the Episcopal Church, the American successor to the Church of England. Read More

Topics: Religion and Government, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation

Feb 12, 2016 9:25 am

On Darwin Day, 5 facts about the evolution debate

Photograph of Charles Darwin by Maull and Polyblank for the Literary and Scientific Portrait Club (1855) via Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Charles_Darwin#mediaviewer/File:Charles_Darwin_by_Maull_and_Polyblank,_1855-1.jpg
Photograph of Charles Darwin by Maull and Polyblank for the Literary and Scientific Portrait Club (1855) via Wikimedia Commons.

Today is the 207th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, a day now celebrated by some as Darwin Day. Darwin, of course, is best known for his theory of evolution through natural selection. When Darwin’s work was first made public in 1859, it shocked Britain’s religious establishment. And while today it is accepted by virtually all scientists, evolutionary theory still is rejected by many Americans, often because it conflicts with their religious beliefs about divine creation.

While not an official holiday, Darwin Day has been adopted by scientific and humanist groups to promote everything from scientific literacy to secularism. This year, more than 100 events have been planned worldwide, many of them anchored by scientific talks or symposia. Others, such as a children’s scavenger hunt at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., are a little less serious.

Here are five facts about the public’s views on evolution as well as other aspects of the debate in the U.S. and elsewhere: Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Evolution, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Science and Innovation

Feb 11, 2016 1:00 pm

5 facts about Mexico and immigration to the U.S.

U.S. immigration from Latin America has shifted over the past two decades. From 1965 to 2015, more than 16 million Mexicans migrated to the U.S. in one of the largest mass migrations in modern history. But over the past decade, Mexican migration to the U.S. has slowed dramatically. Today, Mexico increasingly serves as a land bridge for Central American immigrants traveling to the U.S.

Here are five facts about Mexico and trends in immigration to the U.S.

1Mexico increases deportations of Central AmericansMexico is stopping more unauthorized Central American immigrants at its southern border. The Mexican government said in 2014 that it would increase enforcement at its southern border in response to an increased flow of Central Americans traveling through Mexico to reach the U.S. In 2015, the government there carried out about 150,000 deportations of unauthorized immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, a 44% jump over the previous year. These three Central American countries alone accounted for nearly all (97%) of Mexico’s deportations in 2015. Read More

Topics: Immigration, Immigration Trends, Latin America, Mexico, Religious Leaders, Unauthorized Immigration