Jul 3, 2018 7:00 am

Americans broadly favor government funding for medical and science research

Biologist Benjamin Jin conducts immunotherapy research for fighting HPV+ cancers in a lab at the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, on Feb. 7, as part of government-funded experimental trials. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans are strongly supportive of the government investing in research in medicine and science, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Most Americans say government investments in medical and science research usually pay offAround eight-in-ten U.S. adults say government investments in medical research (80%), engineering and technology (80%) or basic scientific research (77%) usually pay off in the long run. Only about two-in-ten believe government funding in each of these areas is not worth it (19% for medical research, 19% for engineering and technology and 22% for basic scientific research).

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Topics: Federal Government, Science and Innovation

Jul 2, 2018 12:01 pm

5 facts about Episcopalians

The history of the Episcopal Church is closely tied to the history of the United States. The church was founded after the American Revolution as the successor to the Church of England in the new country. It has often been seen as the religious institution most closely associated with the American establishment, producing many of the nation’s most important leaders in politics and business. Even today, the seat of the presiding bishop of the church, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., is sometimes called “America’s church.”

On the eve of the Episcopal Church’s 2018 General Convention, here are five facts about Episcopalians:

1More presidents have been Episcopalian – 11 – than any other Christian denomination. Several of the nation’s earliest presidents, including George Washington, James Madison and James Monroe, were Episcopalians. But since the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1945, the only two Episcopalian presidents have been Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.

11 presidents have been Episcopalians Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation

Jul 2, 2018 6:47 am

The share of teens with summer jobs has plunged since 2000, and the type of work they do has shifted

Morgan Jackson, 18, scoops ice cream while working at Beals Ice Cream in Portland, Maine, on April 26. Last July, 33.8% of working teens were in accommodation and food services, up from 22.6% in July 2000. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

As recently as the turn of the 21st century, roughly half of U.S. teens could expect to spend at least part of their summer vacation lifeguarding, dishing up soft-serve ice cream, selling T-shirts or otherwise working. But the share of teens working summer jobs has tumbled since 2000: Despite some recovery since the end of the Great Recession, about a third of teens (35%) had a job last summer.

Teen employment in the U.S. well below pre-2000 levels, despite post-recession gains

To understand what’s happened to the Great American Summer Job, Pew Research Center looked at the average employment rate (known as the employment-population ratio) for 16- to 19-year-olds in June, July and August. (We used non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for this analysis; teen employment rises sharply in the summer months, typically peaking in July.) From the late 1940s, which is as far back as the data go, through the 1980s, teen summer employment followed a fairly regular pattern: rising during economic good times and falling during and after recessions, but generally fluctuating between 46% (the low, in 1963) and 58% (the peak, in 1978).

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Topics: Teens and Youth, Work and Employment, National Economy

Jun 29, 2018 1:00 pm

5 facts about religion in India

Graffiti on a Mumbai wall. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

India is home to 1.4 billion people – almost one-sixth of the world’s population – who belong to a variety of ethnicities and religions. While 94% of the world’s Hindus live in India, there also are substantial populations of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and adherents of folk religions.

For most Indians, faith is important: In a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, eight-in-ten Indians said religion is very important in their lives.

Here are five facts about religion in India:

1Population Growth of the World's Largest Religions in IndiaIndia’s massive population includes not only the vast majority of the world’s Hindus, but also the second-largest group of Muslims within a single country, behind only Indonesia. By 2050, India’s Muslim population will grow to 311 million, making it the largest Muslim population in the world, according to Pew Research Center projections. Still, Indian Muslims are projected to remain a minority in their country, making up about 18% of the total population at midcentury, while Hindus figure to remain a majority (about 77%).

2India is a religiously pluralistic and multiethnic democracy – the largest in the world. Its constitution provides for freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practice and propagate religion. It has protections for minorities against discrimination on the grounds of religion or caste (a strict social stratification based on Hinduism). In 1976, the constitution was amended, officially making the country a secular state. At the same time, a directive in the constitution prohibits the slaughter of cows – an animal Hindus hold sacred – which each state has the authority to enforce. Currently, 21 out of 29 states have prison sentences for the act. Read More

Topics: Muslims and Islam, Hindus and Hinduism, Religion and Government, Restrictions on Religion, Asia and the Pacific

Jun 29, 2018 10:01 am

Many tweeted about immigration news in Trump’s first month in office, but frequent users drove traffic

Just as it does today, the immigration issue drew an outpouring of tweets during the first month of Donald Trump’s presidency, when the executive order to restrict entry to the U.S. by people from certain countries was first issued.

In immigration tweets, most users included links to news organizationsBut while a large number of Twitter users weighed in at least some of the time on this contentious issue by linking to news about it, the majority of content was driven by a smaller segment that tweeted about immigration news much more frequently, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of tweets between Jan. 20 and Feb. 20, 2017. (Data are not available for recent events, but many of the actions and views that characterized the debate during the first month of Trump’s presidency are part of the current debate as well.)

When it came to sharing links about immigration, most users included at least one link to a news organization site, as opposed to a commentary, advocacy or other kind of site, the Center’s analysis finds. About eight-in-ten (83%) of the more than 2 million users who tweeted about immigration with a link during this time period shared at least one tweet that had a link to a news organization site.

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Topics: Immigration Attitudes, Social Media, News Sources, Immigration, Digital Media

Jun 28, 2018 12:03 pm

U.S. women are postponing motherhood, but not as much as those in most other developed nations

Hospital staff attend to newborn babies at a hospital in Misato, Japan. Women in Japan on average have just 1.5 babies by the end of their childbearing years, compared with 2.2 in the U.S. (Yamaguchi Haruyoshi/Corbis via Getty Images)

Women in the United States are waiting longer to have children than in the past, but they are still starting their families sooner – and ultimately having more children – than women in many other developed nations, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

The average age at which U.S. women first become mothers is 26.4 – comparable to the age at first birth among Latvian women but lower than in the 28 other nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for which data were available. At the other end of the spectrum, South Korean women are the oldest when they first give birth (31.4 years, on average). On average, women in Greece, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Japan, Spain and Italy are also in their 30s when they become mothers.

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Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Population Trends, Demographics, Parenthood

Jun 27, 2018 9:00 am

5 facts about the death penalty

President Donald Trump has voiced his support for the death penalty, and a recent Pew Research Center survey found an uptick in the share of Americans who favor capital punishment for those convicted of murder. Over the long term, however, public support for the death penalty has declined significantly, as has the number of executions in the United States.

As the debate over the death penalty continues in the U.S. and worldwide, here are five facts about the issue:

1The annual number of U.S. executions peaked at 98 in 1999 and has fallen sharply in the years since. In 2017, 23 inmates were executed, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. That’s slightly higher than the year before, when 20 people were executed, but still well below the number of inmates annually put to death in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Just eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Texas and Virginia – accounted for all executions in 2017, compared with 20 states in 1999.

Annual number of U.S. executions in 2017 is far below 1999 peak Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Death Penalty, Criminal Justice, Social Values, Religion and U.S. Politics

Jun 26, 2018 7:00 am

More and more, Senate elections reflect states’ presidential votes

The results of U.S. Senate elections increasingly are aligned with states’ party preferences in presidential elections – a trend that could have major implications in this year’s battle for control of the Senate.

Most Senate races go to the same party as states' presidential voteThe vast majority of the regular and special Senate elections held since 2013 – 69 of 73 – have been won by candidates who belonged to the party that won that state’s most recent presidential race, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of election results going back to 1980. That represents a marked contrast with prior years: As recently as 2006, 12 of 33 Senate contests (36%) were won by candidates of different parties than their state’s 2004 presidential pick. (The election data we used came mostly from the Federal Election Commission, supplemented by information from the U.S. House Clerk’s office and media reports.)

There are 35 Senate seats at stake this November – 33 regularly scheduled elections, plus special elections in Minnesota and Mississippi. Of those, 18 seats are in states that went for Republican Donald Trump in 2016, while 17 are in states that favored Democrat Hillary Clinton. Democrats (and two independents who caucus with them) currently hold 26 of those seats, including 10 in states that voted for Trump. Republicans hold nine of the seats up for grabs this year, but only one in a Clinton state.

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Topics: Congress, Political Polarization, 2018 Election

Jun 22, 2018 7:00 am

Many in U.S. have confidence in what private space companies will accomplish

The SpaceX Falcon Heavy launches from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 6 for a demonstration mission. NASA has contracted with private companies such as SpaceX to develop launch systems that might send astronauts into space as early as this year. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Most Americans express confidence that private space companies will make meaningful contributions in developing safe and reliable spacecraft or conducting research to expand knowledge of space, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

Private companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are becoming increasingly important players in space exploration. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has paid private companies $6.8 billion to develop launch systems that might send astronauts into space as early as this year. These companies are also setting their sights on going to the moon or Mars in the future.

Many are confident private space companies will be profitable but skeptical they will keep space cleanA large majority of Americans (81%) are confident that private space companies will make a profit from these ventures. Some 44% of Americans have a great deal of confidence that private space companies will be profitable, and an additional 36% have a fair amount of confidence.

But Americans are also cautiously optimistic that private companies will make contributions that benefit U.S. exploration efforts. At least two-thirds of Americans have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence that private space companies will build safe and reliable rockets and spacecraft (77%), conduct basic research to increase knowledge and understanding of space (70%) or control costs for developing rockets and spacecraft (65%).

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Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Business and Labor, Science and Innovation

Jun 21, 2018 1:01 pm

The news that bots share on Twitter tends not to focus on politics

Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, much attention has been focused on the role of bots in promoting political news on Twitter. But bots can play a role in spreading many other types of news and information as well.

Indeed, a new Pew Research Center analysis finds that suspected bots are far more active in sharing links to news sites focusing on nonpolitical content than to sites with a political focus. And when they do share political news on Twitter, suspected bots are more likely to link to sites with ideologically centrist audiences than to ones with staunchly liberal or conservative followings.

More about this analysis

To conduct the analysis, researchers examined 108,552 tweeted links to 50 popular news websites sent during a six-week period in the summer of 2017. The sites all produce original content and include those associated with legacy news organizations (outlets that originated in print or broadcast) as well as digital-native sites (outlets that were “born on the web”). Researchers identified potential bot accounts by using a multistep process that is explained here.

Here are some key findings from the analysis:

1Suspected bots share a smaller proportion of links to popular news sites compared with other kinds of websites. Suspected bots shared 59% of tweeted links to the 50 news sites in the analysis. While that figure may sound high, it is lower than the average from a previous Pew Research Center analysis, which found that suspected bots shared 66% of tweeted links to a broader set of more than 2,000 popular websites, including sites focused on commercial products, sports and other subjects.

The 50 sites in the news analysis include the digital versions of print newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as sites for television and radio broadcasting organizations such as CNN, Fox News and NPR.

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Topics: Social Media, Emerging Technology Impacts, Data Labs, News Sources