Jan 10, 2017 3:10 pm

Blacks and Hispanics face extra challenges in getting home loans

Homeownership in the U.S. has fallen sharply since the housing boom peaked in the mid-2000s, though it’s declined more for some racial and ethnic groups than for others. Black and Hispanic households today are still far less likely than white households to own their own homes (41.3% and 47%, respectively, versus 71.9% for whites), and the homeownership gap between blacks and whites has widened since 2004.

An examination of mortgage-market data indicates some of the continuing challenges black and Hispanic homebuyers and would-be homebuyers face. Among other things, they have a much harder time getting approved for conventional mortgages than whites and Asians, and when they are approved they tend to pay higher interest rates.  Read More

Topics: Economics and Personal Finances, Homeownership, Race and Ethnicity

Jan 10, 2017 2:17 pm

U.S. public sees Russian role in campaign hacking, but is divided over new sanctions

Most Americans believe Russia was behind the hacks of the Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign. But they are divided on whether to impose further sanctions on Russia, beyond the steps President Barack Obama took last month.

An overwhelming share of the public (88%) has heard about allegations that Russia was involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Among those aware of the allegations, 72% say Russia was definitely or probably behind the hacks, compared with just 24% who think it was definitely or probably not involved.

When asked how the U.S. should respond, nearly half (46%) of those aware of the hacking allegations say the sanctions already imposed on Russia are about right, while 27% say they do not go far enough and 20% say they go too far, according to a national survey released today by Pew Research Center.  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Elections and Campaigns, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Political Party Affiliation, Russia

Jan 6, 2017 1:32 pm

Less than half the public views border wall as an important goal for U.S. immigration policy

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, the public views one of his signature campaign promises – the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border – as a less important goal for immigration policy than several other objectives, such as cracking down on visa overstays.

Asked about eight possible goals for U.S. immigration policy, majorities rate each one as important, except one: Only 39% view building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border as a very or somewhat important goal.

Most Americans (58%) say it is important to increase the number of deportations of people in the U.S. illegally, another of Trump’s campaign proposals that he has emphasized since winning the election. The latest Pew Research Center estimate puts the number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. at 11.1 million.

Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Immigration, Immigration Attitudes, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Figures, U.S. Political Parties, Unauthorized Immigration

Jan 5, 2017 1:16 pm

Unauthorized immigrants covered by DACA face uncertain future

More than 750,000 young unauthorized immigrants have received work permits and deportation relief through the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program since it was created by President Barack Obama, according to the latest data released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. But they now must wait and see what becomes of the program under the Trump administration.

The program known as DACA was created through an executive action signed by Obama in August 2012.

It gives unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. before age 16 – a group sometimes called “Dreamers” – a chance to stay in the U.S. to study or work, provided they meet certain conditions such as being enrolled in high school or having a high school degree or GED equivalent, and not having a serious criminal conviction. Those approved for the program are given a work permit and protection from deportation for two years. Benefits can be renewed.  Read More

Topics: Citizenship, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Education, Generations and Age, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Unauthorized Immigration

Jan 5, 2017 7:24 am

Federal prison population fell during Obama’s term, reversing recent trend

President Barack Obama is on pace to leave the White House with a smaller federal prison population than when he took office – a distinction no president since Jimmy Carter has had, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The number of sentenced prisoners in federal custody fell 5% (or 7,981 inmates) between the end of 2009, Obama’s first year in office, and 2015, the most recent year for which BJS has final, end-of-year statistics. Preliminary figures for 2016 show the decline continued during Obama’s last full year in office and that the overall reduction during his tenure will likely exceed 5%.

By contrast, the federal prison population increased significantly under every other president since 1981. Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Criminal Justice, U.S. Political Figures

Jan 4, 2017 12:12 pm

5 facts about the minimum wage


Even though the federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009, most Americans are now covered by higher minimums set by state and local laws – from Los Angeles to New York state to Washington, D.C. Organized labor and anti-poverty groups continue to push for $15 an hour as the new standard for all workers paid hourly, though given Republican control of Congress that prospect appears dim.

While the idea of raising the minimum wage is broadly popular, a Pew Research Center survey this past August found clear partisan and racial differences in support. Overall, 52% of people favored increasing the federal minimum to $15 an hour, but that idea was favored by just 21% of Trump supporters (versus 82% of Clinton backers). And while large majorities of blacks and Hispanics supported a $15 federal minimum wage, 54% of whites opposed it,

Here are five facts about the minimum wage and the people who earn it:

Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Business and Labor, Economics and Personal Finances

Jan 4, 2017 7:03 am

Among high school seniors, interest in science varies by race, ethnicity

Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post
Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post

A majority of high school seniors in the U.S. say they enjoy science and around four-in-ten (44%) would like to have a job in the field, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). These sentiments, however, tend to vary by race and ethnicity – a pattern that also is reflected in American students’ test scores in science.

Overall, 71% of 12th-grade students agree with the statement, “I like science.” While majorities of all major racial and ethnic groups report having a fondness for science, Asian and Pacific Islander high school seniors are the most likely group to say this, while blacks are the least.

Similar racial and ethnic differences emerge when 12th-graders are asked whether they want a career in science. Six-in-ten Asian and Pacific Islander high school seniors say they would like a job that involves science and 64% say it is important that they do well in the subject to get the kind of job they want. By comparison, 45% of whites, 40% of Hispanics and 39% of blacks say they want a science-related job, and no more than half of these respective groups agree that they need to do well in science to get the kind of job they desire.  Read More

Topics: Education, Race and Ethnicity, Science and Innovation

Jan 3, 2017 2:04 pm

No consensus among Israeli Jews about settlements’ impact on security

Israel recently vaulted back onto the front pages when the UN Security Council on Dec. 23 voted 14-0 to condemn the continued construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The United States, in a rare show of public displeasure with Israel, abstained from the vote, forgoing the opportunity to veto the resolution. In the days following, the two countries traded criticisms, culminating a week later with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry saying that settlements pose a “threat” to peace and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issuing a critical response.

Some Israeli politicians in the current governing coalition have mentioned security implications as one argument in favor of West Bank settlements, but Pew Research Center polling in late 2014 and early 2015 found that there is no clear consensus among Israeli Jews over whether settlements help or hurt the country’s security.

Indeed, while roughly four-in-ten Israeli Jews (42%) said that the continued building of settlements helps the security of Israel, three-in-ten (30%) said the settlements hurt the country’s security, while a quarter (25%) said they do not affect Israel’s security one way or another. Roughly a year earlier, Israeli Jews were less sanguine about the benefits of settlement building: In 2013, only 31% said such construction improved Israel’s security.

Among Israeli Jews, opinion about the role of settlements varies greatly depending on a number of factors.  Read More

Topics: International Governments and Institutions, Jews and Judaism, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Wars and International Conflicts

Jan 3, 2017 11:31 am

More than a million Millennials are becoming moms each year

Some 1.3 million Millennial women gave birth for the first time in 2015, according to recently released data from the National Center for Health Statistics, raising the total number of U.S. women in this generation who have become mothers to more than 16 million.

All told, Millennial women (those born from 1981 to 1997) accounted for about eight-in-ten (82%) U.S. births in 2015. At the same time, Millennials make up 31% of the adult U.S. population, and just over a third (34%) of the U.S. workforce.

While they now account for the vast majority of annual U.S. births, Millennial women are waiting longer to become parents than prior generations did. Among Millennial women ages 18 to 33 in 2014, for instance, 42% were moms. But when women from Generation X – those born between 1965 and 1980 – were in the same age range, 49% were already moms, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey data. (The rising age at first birth is hardly limited to the Millennial generation. It has been a trend since at least 1970. Many factors may contribute, including a shift away from marriage, increasing educational attainment and the movement of women into the labor force.)

Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Millennials, Parenthood

Jan 3, 2017 6:55 am

About seven-in-ten Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade

More than 40 years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, 69% of Americans say the historic ruling, which established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, should not be completely overturned. Nearly three-in-ten (28%), by contrast, would like to see it overturned.

Public opinion about the 1973 case has held relatively steady in recent decades, though the share saying the decision should not be overturned is up slightly from four years ago, Pew Research Center’s December survey found. In January 2013, 63% said this, which was similar to views measured in surveys conducted over the prior two decades. Read More

Topics: Abortion, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Social Values, Supreme Court, U.S. Political Parties