Feb 28, 2018 12:30 pm

International migration from sub-Saharan Africa has grown dramatically since 2010

Sub-Saharan African nations account for eight of the 10 fastest growing international migrant populations since 2010, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest United Nations data on the number of emigrants, or people living outside their country of birth.

The number of emigrants from each of these sub-Saharan countries grew by 50% or more between 2010 and 2017, significantly more than the 17% worldwide average increase for the same period. At the country level, only Syria had a higher rate of growth in its number of people living in other countries.

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Topics: Migration, Sub-Saharan Africa

Feb 26, 2018 6:56 am

Key facts about U.S. immigration policies and proposed changes

(From left, Scott Olson; Salwan Georges/The Washington Post; and Jessica Hill/For The Washington Post, all via Getty Images)
(From left, Scott Olson; Salwan Georges/The Washington Post; and Jessica Hill/For The Washington Post, all via Getty Images)

Nearly 34 million lawful immigrants live in the United States. Many live and work in the country after receiving lawful permanent residence (also known as a green card), while others receive temporary visas available to students and workers. In addition, roughly 1 million unauthorized immigrants have temporary permission to live and work in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status programs.

For years, proposals have sought to shift the nation’s immigration system away from its current emphasis on family reunification and employment-based migration, and toward a points-based system that prioritizes the admission of immigrants with certain education and employment qualifications. These proposals have received renewed attention under the Trump administration. Here are key details about existing U.S. immigration programs:

Family-based immigration

In fiscal 2016, 804,793 people received family-based U.S. lawful permanent residence. This program allows someone to receive a green card if they already have a spouse, child, sibling or parent living in the country with U.S. citizenship or, in some cases, a green card. Immigrants from countries with large numbers of applicants often wait for years to receive a green card because a single country can account for no more than 7% of all green cards issued annually. President Donald Trump has proposed restricting family-based green cards to only spouses and minor children. For other family members, a Senate bill would make a limited number of green cards available under a skills-based point system. Today, family-based immigration – referred to by some as “chain migration” – is the most common way people gain green cards, in recent years accounting for about 70% of the more than 1 million people who receive them annually.

Refugee admissions

The U.S. admitted 84,995 refugees in fiscal 2016, a total that declined to 53,716 in fiscal 2017 – the fewest admissions since 2007. This decline reflects a lower admissions cap. For fiscal 2018, refugee admissions have been capped at 45,000, the lowest since Congress created the modern refugee program in 1980 for those fleeing persecution in their home countries. One of Trump’s first acts as president in 2017 was to freeze refugee admissions, citing security concerns. Admissions from most countries eventually restarted, though applicants from 11 nations deemed “high risk” by the administration were admitted on a case-by-case basis. In January 2018, refugee admissions resumed for all countries.

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Topics: Unauthorized Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration, Immigration

Feb 23, 2018 4:46 pm

In 2017, Americans narrowly opposed allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns

The recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida, has reignited a national debate about guns in America. In particular, as the conversation has focused on how to keep children safe in schools, the idea of arming some teachers has garnered attention. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that more than half of U.S. adults (55%) would oppose allowing teachers and officials to carry guns in K-12 schools, including 36% who said they would strongly oppose such a proposal. Still, a sizable minority (45%) said they favored allowing teachers to carry guns in schools.

Parents with children younger than 18 in the household were no more or less likely than non-parents to express support for allowing teachers to carry guns in schools: 46% of parents and 44% of non-parents said they would favor it. Instead, opinions divided primarily along party lines and by gun ownership status, with Republicans and those who own guns particularly likely to say they would support allowing teachers to carry guns in schools.

About seven-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (69%) said they would favor allowing teachers to carry guns in schools. In contrast, just about a quarter of Democrats and those Democratic leaners (26%) shared this view. Similarly, while a majority of gun owners (66%) said they would support this proposal, about a third of non-gun owners (35%) said the same.

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Topics: Gun Policy, Education, Violence and Society

Feb 22, 2018 4:07 pm

5 facts about blacks in the U.S.

Angel C. Dye (left) celebrates her graduation from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with her friend Renee Walter on May 13, 2017. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Angel C. Dye (left) celebrates her graduation from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with her friend Renee Walter on May 13, 2017. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

More than 40 million blacks live in the United States, making up around 13% of the nation’s population, according to 2016 Census Bureau estimatesHere are five facts about the U.S. black population today, drawn from Pew Research Center studies in the past year.

1A growing share of blacks are completing high school and college. For the first time in U.S. history, 90% of Americans ages 25 and older have completed high school, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – and the share of blacks who have done so is also at the highest level on record. In 2017, 87% of blacks ages 25 and older had a high school diploma or equivalent. Although the high school completion rate for non-Hispanic whites was higher (94%) than for blacks, the gap has been gradually shrinking. In 1993, the high school completion gap was twice as large (14 percentage points) as it is today (7 points). The share of blacks ages 25 and older who have completed four years of college or more has also roughly doubled during that span, from 12% in 1993 to 24% in 2017.

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Topics: African Americans, Race and Ethnicity

Feb 15, 2018 2:31 pm

Most immigrants arrested by ICE have prior criminal convictions, a big change from 2009

Immigrants with past criminal convictions accounted for 74% of all arrests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in fiscal 2017, according to data from the agency. The remainder were classified as “non-criminal” arrestees, including 16% with pending criminal charges and 11% with no known criminal convictions or charges.

The profile of arrestees by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations has changed considerably in the past eight years: In fiscal 2009, the earliest year with comparable data, immigrants without past criminal convictions accounted for the majority (61%) of those arrested by the agency.

Overall, the number of ICE arrests decreased sharply during that span, from 297,898 in 2009 (the year President Barack Obama came into office) to 143,470 in 2017 (when President Donald Trump took office). However, last year’s total represented a 30% increase from the year before, with most of the increase coming after Trump signed an executive order to step up enforcement.

While ICE arrests overall rose from 2016 to 2017, arrests for those without prior convictions drove the increase. The number of arrestees without known convictions increased 146% (up more than 22,000 arrests), compared with a 12% rise among those with past criminal convictions (up nearly 11,000). Still, the bulk of those arrested in 2016 and 2017 had prior convictions.

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Topics: Criminal Justice, Migration, Immigration

Feb 15, 2018 10:04 am

Q&A: The growing use of ‘voter files’ in studying the U.S. electorate

(Saul Gravy/Getty Images)
(Saul Gravy/Getty Images)

Since the rise of modern survey research three-quarters of a century ago, much of what we know about voter attitudes has been based on interviews with random samples of voters, sometimes combined with tallies of actual votes and the characteristics of voters in particular locations. But relatively new technologies and public policy changes have given pollsters, academics and other researchers – not to mention candidates and political professionals – a potentially powerful new tool for probing the electorate: digital databases that claim to cover most of the U.S. adult population.

Despite their widespread use, these national databases (commonly called “voter files”) are little known by the general public and haven’t received much scholarly attention. Pew Research Center’s Ruth Igielnik, a research associate, and Senior Survey Advisor Scott Keeter recently released an extensive study of the completeness and accuracy of commercially available voter files, which they assessed by matching participants from the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel to five different voter files. We asked Keeter and Igielnik to talk about their work, including how voter files are built and what they’re used for. Their replies have been edited for clarity and concision. Read More

Topics: Voter Participation, Research Methods

Feb 13, 2018 4:00 pm

8 facts about love and marriage in America

The landscape of relationships in America has shifted dramatically in recent decades. From cohabitation to same-sex marriage to interracial and interethnic marriage, here are eight facts about love and marriage in the United States.

1Love tops the list of Americans’ reasons to marry. About nine-in-ten Americans (88%) cited love as a very important reason to get married, ahead of making a lifelong commitment (81%) and companionship (76%), according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey. Fewer said having their relationship recognized in a religious ceremony (30%), financial stability (28%) or legal rights and benefits (23%) were very important reasons to marry.

However, being a good financial provider was seen as particularly important for men to be a good husband or partner, according to a 2017 survey by the Center. About seven-in-ten adults (71%) said it was very important for a man to be able to support a family financially to be a good husband or partner, while just 32% said the same for a woman to be a good wife or partner.

As far as what helps people stay married, married adults said in a 2015 survey that having shared interests (64%) and a satisfying sexual relationship (61%) were very important to a successful marriage. More than half (56%) also named sharing household chores.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Lifestyle, Family and Relationships, Marriage and Divorce

Feb 8, 2018 7:01 am

ICE arrests went up in 2017, with biggest increases in Florida, northern Texas, Oklahoma

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents take a man into custody in Downey, California, in April 2017. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents take a man into custody in Downey, California, in April 2017. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

After years of decline, the number of arrests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) climbed to a three-year high in fiscal 2017, according to data from the agency. The biggest percentage increases were in Florida, northern Texas and Oklahoma.

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations made a total of 143,470 arrests in fiscal 2017, a 30% rise from fiscal 2016. The surge began after President Donald Trump took office in late January: From his Jan. 20 inauguration to the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, ICE made 110,568 arrests, 42% more than in the same time period in 2016.

Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 25 that expanded ICE’s enforcement focus to most immigrants in the U.S. without authorization, regardless of whether they have a criminal record. Under President Barack Obama, by contrast, ICE focused its enforcement efforts more narrowly, such as by prioritizing the arrests of those convicted of serious crimes.

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Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

Feb 7, 2018 7:00 am

5 facts about the religious lives of African Americans

Attendees at the annual session of the National Baptist Convention in 2016. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Attendees at the annual session of the National Baptist Convention in 2016. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Religion, particularly Christianity, has played an outsize role in African American history. While most Africans brought to the New World to be slaves were not Christians when they arrived, many of them and their descendants embraced Christianity, finding comfort in the Biblical message of spiritual equality and deliverance. In post-Civil War America, a burgeoning black church played a key role strengthening African American communities and in providing key support to the civil rights movement.

For Black History Month, here are five facts about the religious lives of African Americans.

1Roughly eight-in-ten (79%) African Americans self-identify as Christian, as do seven-in-ten whites and 77% of Latinos, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. Most black Christians and about half of all African Americans (53%) are associated with historically black Protestant churches, according to the study. Smaller shares of African Americans identify with evangelical Protestantism (14%), Catholicism (5%), mainline Protestantism (4%) and Islam (2%).

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Topics: Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Race and Ethnicity

Feb 6, 2018 10:00 am

Use of election forecasts in campaign coverage can confuse voters and may lower turnout

Early morning voters wait to cast their ballots on Election Day. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Early morning voters wait to cast their ballots on Election Day. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Americans have long been familiar with “horse race” polls that accompany elections in the United States. But since 2008, a new polling tool has gained prominence, one that not only suggests which candidate is ahead at any given moment but also estimates their probability of winning the eventual election.

These probabilistic forecasts can give potential voters the impression that one candidate will win more decisively and may even lower the likelihood that they vote, according to a new study by Sean Westwood of Dartmouth, Yphtach Lelkes of the University of Pennsylvania and Solomon Messing of Pew Research Center.

The use of such probabilistic forecasts was a constant in coverage of the 2016 presidential race, with an average of 16 mentions per day in cable news broadcasts, according to the study. And at least in 2016, outlets with more liberal audiences featured more coverage. Forecasters uniformly favored Hillary Clinton to capture the White House, with odds ranging from 70% to 99%.

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Topics: Election News, Research Methods, Data Labs