Jan 10, 2014 3:16 pm

Fewer Americans see cigarette smoking as a major public health problem


About half of Americans rank cigarette smoking as a serious public health problem.

DN_Cigarette_SmokingIt’s been 50 years since the U.S. Surgeon General issued a groundbreaking report on the dangers of smoking. The report opened the way for decades of measures to curb tobacco use —measures that helped save an estimated 8 million lives over that time span, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

About half (53%) of Americans still see cigarette smoking as an extremely or very serious public health problem, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted last November. But the public now sees it as less of a problem than a number of other public health issues like cancer and obesity, and less of a problem than it did in 2004 when 72% rated it as serious in an ABC News/Time poll.

Asked whether the U.S. is making progress in dealing with cigarette smoking in 2013, 45% said it was, while 39% said things were about the same. Just 13% saw the efforts to deal with smoking as losing ground. By comparison, 35% saw the country losing ground in dealing with mental illness and 34% said the same about the issue of obesity.

Category: Daily Number

Topics: Health

Jan 10, 2014 11:10 am

Data Feed: Jobs report, Twitter and news, gender preferences

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.


Liberal self-identification edges up in 2013, Gallup
For first time, most lawmakers worth over $1 Million, Center for Responsive Politics
Why people call themselves “independent” even when they aren’t, The Washington Post


Unemployment rate drops to 6.7%, with charts on work force, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Highlights from the December jobs report, The Wall Street Journal
273,000 workers couldn’t get to their jobs because of the weather, The Wall Street Journal
Do workplace wellness programs save employers money? Rand Corporation


U.S. economic indicators improve in 2013, Gallup
Gas prices moved in tight range in 2013, Energy Information Administration
Charting the decline in service at the I.R.S, The New York Times

Read More

Category: Data Feed

Jan 10, 2014 10:13 am

Chart of the Week: Where the smokers are

smokingFifty years after the first U.S. Surgeon General’s report on smoking’s health hazards, smoking has become less common not just in the U.S. but throughout the world (a few outliers like Austria and Bulgaria aside). Between 1980 and 2012, smoking prevalence fell by 42% among women and 25% by men, according to the Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. But that still means millions of people are puffing away — and, as the institute notes, due to population growth, the absolute number of smokers worldwide has increased. But where are they?

This fascinating map is part of a set of interactive graphics compiled and published by the institute earlier this week (a companion article appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, though only the abstract is freely accessible). The institute’s researchers derived their estimates from a wide range of data sources, including national and multi-country surveys (such as the US Agency for International Development’s Demographic and Health Surveys and the World Health Organization’s Global Youth Tobacco Surveys), and UN and government statistics on tobacco production and cigarette sales. They then used complex statistical modeling methods to synthesize and standardize the data and generate prevalence and consumption estimates for all years and all countries.

Through the interactives you can investigate smoking prevalence (defined as the percentage of the population that smokes every day), cigarette consumption per smoker, and other indicators in 187 countries by age and sex, for all years between 1980 and 2012. A separate chart (also interactive) shows the number of smokers by super-region, region and country.

Smoking is most common in Kiribati, a small island nation in the Pacific, where an estimated 48% of the population (54.4% of men, 31.3% of women) smoke daily. It’s least prevalent in Antigua and Barbuda, where just 5% of the population smokes daily. Smoking prevalence for both sexes in the U.S. was 16% in 2012, down from 31% in 1980. Teen smoking is most common in Belgium, where an estimated 26% of teens ages 15 to 19 smoke — though in the Solomon Islands, 14% of children ages 10 to 14 have already picked up the daily habit.

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Health

Jan 9, 2014 12:00 pm

Americans with just basic cell phones are a dwindling breed

33 points

The share of Americans who have a basic cellular phone that is not a smartphone has dropped 33 percentage points since 2005.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that has been going on this week has served as a showcase for the next big things in the digital world. The VCR had its day, as did the debut of HDTV and, of course, the year of the tablet and Android devices.  This time around, developers and big companies are rolling out everything from wearable computers to smart TVs that can connect to the internet and use apps.

Just as the stars of each year’s CES shows have changed, as technology moves on, so have the tastes of consumers when it comes to the devices they use.

A Gallup poll conducted Dec. 5-8 and released this week found that the number of Americans who have a basic cell phone that is not a smartphone has dropped to 45% compared with 78% in 2005 —a decline of 33 percentage points. 

Read More

Category: Daily Number

Topics: Technology Adoption

Jan 9, 2014 11:14 am

Data Feed: Partisanship, Obama, winter storms

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Poll: Obama approval, minimum wage, jobless benefits, Quinnipiac
“National thermometer” for 2016 presidential contenders available 12 PM, Quinnipiac
American politics more competitive than ever, making partisanship worse, The Washington Post
Are red or blue companies more likely to go green? Harvard Business Review
Great news for Obamacare: Americans are bored with it, The Washington Post

Which economies will grow fastest in 2014? The Economist
Interactive: The future of coal, The Wall Street Journal
Post-crash rebound, not job growth, drove 2013 housing price gains, Trulia
Per capita income by cities compared with U.S., Urbanophile
Losses caused by winter storms, Insurance Information Institute
Demographic snapshot of disconnected low-income men, Urban Institute
U.S. payroll to population rate falls to 42.9% in December, Gallup
Low-paying fields hold jobs of future, mostly, The Wall Street Journal

Read More

Category: Data Feed

Jan 9, 2014 10:30 am

There’s more to the story of the shrinking pay gap

The hourly pay gap between working women and men has narrowed to 16 cents today, compared with 36 cents in 1980. But progress has slowed in recent years and even reversed for many women over the course of their careers. Our new video takes a closer look at the nuances behind the pay gap and examines in new detail how different groups of young women entering the workforce since the 1980s have fared over time. One interesting finding is that many women have moved towards a larger pay gap as they’ve aged and dealt with the responsibilities of parenthood and family.

Today’s youngest group of working women is the first in modern history to start their working lives at near parity with men. But will the gap remain this close as these women age? That remains to be seen. We look at why the pay gap has narrowed and why it has persisted over time in this video produced by researchers Rakesh Kochhar, Kim Parker, D’Vera Cohn and Eileen Patten; informational designer Jessica Tennant and art director Diana Yoo; digital producer Andrea Caumont and digital editor Sara Goo.

More on women, men and the workplace:

On Pay Gap, Millennial Women Near Parity – For Now

Why It’s Great to Be the Boss

10 findings about women in the workplace

How Pew Research measured the gender pay gap

Who men and women prefer as their coworkers

Who’s the boss? In U.S. business, it’s mostly men

Topics: Work and Employment

Jan 9, 2014 7:00 am

Who is this man? Many Americans don’t recognize top news anchor

Can you identify today’s top news anchors? For many Americans, matching names with news faces is tougher than it was roughly 30 years ago.

FT_anchor-recognitionIn an online survey about Americans’ knowledge about the news conducted last summer, just 27% of the public could correctly identify Brian Williams, anchor of the top-rated NBC Nightly News. Respondents were shown a picture of Williams and asked to name the person in the photo. While 3% were able to identify Williams’ profession (anchor or reporter), fully seven-in-ten either did not know (53%) or named someone other than Williams (18%). (3 percent thought the photo was of former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw and 2% thought it was Vice President Joe Biden.)

Three decades ago, when far more Americans watched the nightly network news programs, nearly half (47%) could identify Dan Rather, who at the time anchored the top-rated CBS evening News. The July 1985 survey, conducted by Times Mirror/Gallup, was administered in person by an interviewer, who showed respondents a card with Rather’s photo. (Face-to-face interviewing for this type of survey was not uncommon at that time.)

FT_anchor-recognition-downThe lower public awareness of news anchors reflects a large decline in the audience for nightly network news since the 1980s. For example, in November 1985 an average of 48 million Americans watched one of the network newscasts each evening. By 2013, that number had fallen to 24.5 million, according to Pew Research analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

The audience for network news is older today than in the 1980s and this is reflected in how familiar different age groups are with network broadcasters.

While recognition of Williams compared with Rather is lower across all demographic groups, the gap between young and old is now wider today than in 1985. In the August survey, just 15% of those under 30 identified Williams, compared with about three-in-ten in older age groups. In 1985, 41% of young people identified Rather; about half of older people recognized the CBS anchor.

Read More

Topics: News Sources

Jan 8, 2014 2:06 pm

How people in Muslim countries prefer women to dress in public


UPDATE: Read our Q&A with the author of the Univ. of Michigan study for more information on survey methods and to see how responses differed by gender, age, education and religion.

An important issue in the Muslim world is how women should dress in public. A recent survey from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research conducted in seven Muslim-majority countries (Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey), finds that most people prefer that a woman completely cover her hair, but not necessarily her face. Only in Turkey and Lebanon do more than one-in-four think it is appropriate for a woman to not cover her head at all in public.

The survey treated the question of women’s dress as a visual preference. Each respondent was given a card depicting six styles of women’s headdress and asked to choose the woman most appropriately outfitted for a public place. Although no labels were included on the card, the styles ranged from a fully-hooded burqa (woman #1) and niqab (#2) to the less conservative hijab (women #4 and #5). There was also the option of a woman wearing no head covering of any type.

Read More

Topics: Gender, Religion and Society

Jan 8, 2014 11:53 am

Few Americans track their weight, diet or exercise online


Among the 6-in-10 Americans who say they track their weight, diet or exercise routine, 9% say they use online or app tools.

FT_14.01.08_Healthtracking_310pxWith the growing popularity of devices like FitBit and Jawbone UP, technology firms at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show are pushing new gadgets to help track your health and use your biometric data.

An analyst working for a large consumer electronics company recently asked us if we have data on just how many people use online tools to track their own weight, diet or exercise routine. It’s a great question since 60% of U.S. adults track those aspects of their health – a significant market opportunity. But few of them – just 9% – use either an app on a mobile device or online tool to take notes. Half say they keep track in their heads, and a third use pen and paper.

Also, keep in mind that we are not saying the future isn’t rosy for all those companies who are developing online tools for tracking health. But the reality is, for most Americans, online tools are not on the radar screen.

Category: Daily Number

Topics: Health

Jan 8, 2014 11:07 am

Data Feed: Independents, poverty, teen exercise

A daily roundup of fresh data from scholars, governments, think tanks, pollsters and other social science researchers.

Record-high 42% of Americans identify as independents, Gallup
What we know and don’t know about our polarized politics, The Washington Post

U.S.-NAFTA trade exceeds $100B for first time, Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Concentration of wealth, NYC, Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies
Unemployment duration on subsequent wages, National Bureau of Economic Research
Housing ‘wealth’ and illusion, American Enterprise Institute
238,000 jobs added in December, ADP National Employment Report
Northeastern cold snap drives up natural gas prices, Energy Information Administration
Government’s redesigned reverse mortgage program, Center for Retirement Research
Occupation Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor statistics

Read More

Category: Data Feed