Mar 2, 2017 11:53 am

Public remains divided over role of government in financial regulation

As Donald Trump and congressional Republicans take steps to roll back Obama-era financial regulations, the public remains divided over whether regulations of financial institutions have gone too far or not gone far enough.

Overall, about half of Americans (49%) say “the government has not gone far enough in regulating financial institutions and markets, leaving the country at risk of another financial crisis,” while 42% say the government has gone too far, “making it harder for the economy to grow.” These views are largely unchanged over the past several years.

By roughly two-to-one, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are more likely to say financial regulations have gone too far (63%) than to say they have not gone far enough (31%). The balance of opinion among Democrats and Democratic leaners is reversed: More than twice as many Democrats say the government has not gone far enough in this area (62%) as say it has gone too far (29%). The partisan gap over financial regulation has changed little since Pew Research Center first asked the question in September 2013.  Read More

Topics: Congress, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Economics and Personal Finances, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Issue Priorities

Mar 2, 2017 7:00 am

Blacks more likely to follow up on digital news than whites

When getting news online, black online news consumers are much more likely than white consumers to follow up on these stories with an action.

A real-time study asked more than 2,000 online news consumers twice a day over the course of a week (Feb. 24-March 1, 2016) whether they got news online in the past two hours and, if so, what their experience was with that news. Those who did get news online were asked whether they took one of six types of follow-up actions: speaking with someone either in person or over the phone; searching for additional information; posting, sharing or commenting on a social networking site; sending an article to someone by email or text message; bookmarking or saving the news for later; and commenting on a news organization’s webpage.  Read More

Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, News Interest, News Media Trends, News Sources, Race and Ethnicity

Mar 1, 2017 10:01 am

Most violent and property crimes in the U.S. go unsolved

Only about half of the violent crimes and a third of the property crimes that occur in the United States each year are reported to police. And most of the crimes that are reported don’t result in the arrest, charging and prosecution of a suspect, according to government statistics.

In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, 47% of the violent crimes and 35% of the property crimes tracked by the Bureau of Justice Statistics were reported to police. Those figures come from an annual BJS survey of 90,000 households, which asks Americans ages 12 and older whether they were victims of a crime in the past six months and, if so, whether they reported that crime to law enforcement or not.

Even when violent and property crimes are reported to police, they’re often not solved – at least based on a measure known as the clearance rate. That’s the share of cases each year that are closed, or “cleared,” through the arrest, charging and referral of a suspect for prosecution. In 2015, 46% of the violent crimes and 19% of the property crimes reported to police in the U.S. were cleared, according to FBI dataRead More

Topics: Criminal Justice, Federal Government, Social Values, Violence and Society

Mar 1, 2017 8:50 am

How to access Pew Research Center survey data

Pew Research Center regularly makes available the full datasets that underlie most of our reports. We typically do not publish the dataset at the same time as the report. That’s because it takes some time for us to complete all reporting for a given study and to clean and prepare the data for public release. The lag time varies by study, and some data (including surveys of certain populations, such as scientists or foreign policy experts) are never released, in order to protect respondent confidentiality. Survey data are cleaned to remove any information that could be used to identify individual respondents.

There are two ways to locate available datasets. You can go to this page and click on the research area in which you are interested. Or you can go to the research area’s page on the Center’s website, where you will find a “Datasets” or “Data and Resources” section with the available data listed in reverse chronological order by when the survey was fielded.

Read More

Topics: Research Methods

Feb 28, 2017 8:03 am

A look at historically black colleges and universities as Howard turns 150

A graduate waves to family members as she takes her seat for Howard University's commencement in May 2014. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
A graduate waves to family members as she takes her seat for Howard University’s commencement in May 2014. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Prior to the Civil War, higher education opportunities were virtually nonexistent for nearly all black Americans. In the years following the war, more colleges sprang up to meet the educational needs of the newly freed black population. Congress defines a historically black college or university (HBCU) as a school “established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans.”

One of these institutions – Howard University – will celebrate its 150th anniversary on March 2. Founded in 1867, the Washington, D.C., university is not the oldest institution dedicated to educating black Americans, but it has become one of the largest historically black colleges in the nation.

Today, there are 101 HBCUs across the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands – roughly the same as in 1980, but down since the 1930s when there were 121 of these institutions, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Overall enrollment at these schools, including non-black students, has risen over the past several decades, albeit at a much slower rate than at universities overall. NCES figures show that in fall 2015, the combined total enrollment of all HBCUs was 293,000, compared with 234,000 in 1980. By comparison, enrollment at all universities and colleges nearly doubled during this time.

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Topics: African Americans, Education, Educational Attainment, North America, Race and Ethnicity

Feb 27, 2017 12:00 pm

Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

People at Djemaa el-Fna Square, late afternoon sun
People at Djemaa el-Fna Square, late afternoon sun

Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries. Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans – who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population – say they know little or nothing about Islam.

Here are answers to some key questions about Muslims, compiled from several Pew Research Center reports published in recent years:

How many Muslims are there? Where do they live?

There were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world as of 2010 – roughly 23% of the global population – according to a Pew Research Center estimate. But while Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion (after Christianity), it is the fastest-growing major religion. Indeed, if current demographic trends continue, the number of Muslims is expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century.

Although many countries in the Middle East-North Africa region, where the religion originated in the seventh century, are heavily Muslim, the region is home to only about 20% of the world’s Muslims. A majority of the Muslims globally (62%) live in the Asia-Pacific region, including large populations in Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey.

Indonesia is currently the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, but Pew Research Center projects that India will have that distinction by the year 2050 (while remaining a majority-Hindu country), with more than 300 million Muslims.

The Muslim population in Europe also is growing; we project 10% of all Europeans will be Muslims by 2050.  Read More

Topics: Muslim Americans, Muslim-Western Relations, Muslims and Islam, Population Geography, Population Trends, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Feb 27, 2017 11:03 am

Most white evangelicals approve of Trump travel prohibition and express concerns about extremism

While most Americans disapprove of Donald Trump’s recent executive order that would prohibit refugees and travel from some Muslim-majority countries, a recent Pew Research Center survey finds a sizable divide on the issue among the country’s major religious groups.

Most Republicans support and most Democrats oppose the order, which would temporarily prohibit accepting new refugees from Syria into the U.S. and also prevent people (refugee or otherwise) from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

The partisan gap is mirrored by a religious one. About three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants (76%), most of whom identify with or lean toward the GOP, say they approve of the travel ban. In stark contrast, big majorities of black Protestants (84%) and religious “nones” (74%) – two strongly Democratic constituencies – disapprove of the executive order.

Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration, Religion and Society, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

Feb 24, 2017 5:30 pm

Since travel order lifted, more than 1,800 refugees from affected countries have entered U.S.

More than 1,800 refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have resettled in the U.S. since a federal court judge suspended key parts of an executive order President Donald Trump signed on Jan. 27 that restricted travel from these seven nations, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. Virtually all of these refugees were admitted after a federal court judge suspended the president’s executive order.

Trump’s executive order suspended refugee admissions for 120 days, with the exception of persecuted religious minorities who would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the order barred entry to the U.S. for 90 days for most people who hold citizenship from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Separately, admission of Syrian refugees was suspended pending a revision of security screening measures.

A week later, on Feb. 3, a federal judge in Washington State suspended key parts of Trump’s order, lifting the seven-country travel restrictions, a decision that was upheld by a federal appeals court. Trump is expected to issue a revised executive order next week that would reinstate travel restrictions but will also change who will be affected in order to address the legal concerns surrounding the first order.  Read More

Topics: Donald Trump, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Immigration, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Muslims and Islam

Feb 24, 2017 3:01 pm

Most Americans continue to oppose U.S. border wall, doubt Mexico would pay for it

As was the case throughout the presidential campaign, more Americans continue to oppose (62%) than favor (35%) building a wall along the entire U.S. border with Mexico. And while President Donald Trump has said the U.S. would make Mexico pay for the wall, the public is broadly skeptical: 70% think the U.S. would ultimately pay for the wall, compared with just 16% who think Mexico would pay for it.

The proposal to build the wall was one of several contentious issues that loomed over a meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mexican officials this week to discuss immigration and border issues.

Read More

Topics: Domestic Affairs and Policy, Immigration, Political Issue Priorities, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties, Unauthorized Immigration

Feb 23, 2017 3:47 pm

Support for 2010 health care law reaches new high

With congressional Republicans discussing proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, public support for the 2010 health care law has reached its highest level on record.

Currently, 54% approve of the health care law passed seven years ago by Barack Obama and Congress, while 43% disapprove, according to a national Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 7-12 among 1,503 adults.

Throughout the law’s history, opinions about the Affordable Care Act have tended to be more negative than positive — or, less frequently, divided. As recently as December, about as many approved (48%) as disapproved (47%) of the law.

The new survey finds that when those who disapprove of the law are asked about what should happen to it now, more want GOP congressional leaders to focus their efforts on modifying the law than on getting rid of it. One-in-four adults want Republican leaders to modify the law, while 17% want them to get rid of it entirely.  Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Health Care, Political Issue Priorities, U.S. Political Parties