Jul 18, 2018 10:03 am

‘Anger’ topped ‘love’ when Facebook users reacted to lawmakers’ posts after 2016 election

After the 2016 presidential election, Facebook users began using the “angry” button much more often when reacting to posts created by members of Congress.

Volume of angry reactions to congressional posts shows largest increase after 2016 electionBetween Feb. 24, 2016 – when Facebook first gave its users the option of clicking on the “angry” reaction, as well as the emotional reactions “love,” “sad,” “haha” and “wow” – and Election Day, the congressional Facebook audience used the “angry” button in response to lawmakers’ posts a total of 3.6 million times. But during the same amount of time following the election, that number increased more than threefold, to nearly 14 million. The trend toward using the “angry” reaction continued during the last three months of 2017.

Use of the “love” reaction also increased after Election Day, but at a slower rate. Users reacted to congressional posts with the “love” button 7 million times in the period before the election, a figure that rose to about 12 million in the period afterward. While “love” was the most popular new reaction before the election, “angry” became the most popular afterward.

To arrive at these figures, Pew Research Center analyzed all Facebook posts created by members of Congress on or after Feb. 24, 2016, and extending through July 24, 2017 – a total of 360,173 individual posts.

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Topics: Congress, Social Media, Federal Government, Political Polarization, 2016 Election

Jul 17, 2018 11:04 am

A third of U.S. adults say they have used fertility treatments or know someone who has

Triplets Rosalie, Regan and Rocco Mullane, now age 3, were among the many in vitro fertilization children taking part in the Boston IVF Baby Bowl at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Oct. 21. That state had the highest share of births involving assisted reproductive technology in 2015, at 4.5%. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Four decades after the birth of Louise Brown, the first “test-tube baby” conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF), 33% of American adults report that they or someone they know has used some type of fertility treatment in order to try to have a baby, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

About half of college educated adults say they have undergone fertility treatment or know someone who hasThe share of people who say they have undergone a fertility treatment or know someone who has varies markedly by education and income. About four-in-ten (43%) of those with a bachelor’s degree have had some exposure to fertility treatment – either through their own experience or that of someone they know – and the share rises to 56% among those with a postgraduate degree. About half (48%) of people with family incomes of $75,000 or more also have been exposed to fertility treatment. (The survey did not specify what type of treatment.)

Whites are more likely than blacks or Hispanics to report that they have undergone a fertility treatment or know someone who has (37% vs. 22% and 26%, respectively), and women are more likely than men to say the same (36% vs. 30%).

Looking only at women nearing the end of their childbearing years, 9% report that they have ever personally undergone a fertility treatment or had a spouse or partner do so, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of National Center for Health Statistics data. (An additional 5% of these women report that they or their partner sought medical advice or testing regarding fertility, but did not undergo any additional treatments.)

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Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Demographics, Family and Relationships, Parenthood

Jul 17, 2018 9:02 am

Use of mobile devices for news continues to grow, outpacing desktops and laptops

About six-in-ten now often get news on a mobile deviceMobile devices have become one of the most common ways Americans get news, outpacing desktop or laptop computers. Roughly six-in-ten U.S. adults (58%) often get news on a mobile device, 19 percentage points higher than the 39% who often get news on a desktop or laptop computer, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

The share of Americans who often get news on a mobile device is nearly triple the 21% who did so in 2013. At the same time, the portion of Americans who often get news on a desktop has remained relatively stable, with 39% of adults often getting news on a desktop or laptop computer, up just 4 percentage points from 2013.

The portion of adults who ever get news on a computer – as opposed to often get news – is about the same as those who ever do so on a mobile device – 88% of Americans ever get news on a mobile device and 84% ever get news on a computer. Overall, 96% of U.S. adults get news online – i.e., ever get news on either a mobile device or computer.

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Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Mobile, Technology Adoption

Jul 16, 2018 11:01 am

With another Supreme Court pick, Trump is leaving his mark on higher federal courts

Judge Brett Kavanaugh shakes hands with President Donald Trump after being nominated to the Supreme Court in the East Room of the White House on July 9. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump has successfully appointed more federal appeals court judges so far in his presidency than Barack Obama and George W. Bush combined had appointed at the same point in theirs, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Judicial Center. And with his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Trump soon could install his second justice on the nation’s highest court, too.

But while Trump has already left a considerable imprint on the nation’s higher federal courts, he trails Obama, Bush and other recent presidents in the number of lower-court judges he has appointed to date.

As of July 12, Trump has successfully appointed 43 judges, including one Supreme Court justice (Neil Gorsuch), 22 appeals court judges and 20 district judges. Dozens of other court nominees are awaiting votes in the Senate, including two more appeals court judges who could be confirmed this week.

Trump has appointed more appeals court judges than any other recent president at same point in tenureWhile a few of Trump’s predecessors going back to Jimmy Carter had also appointed a Supreme Court justice by July 12 of their second year in office, none had appointed close to as many appeals court members – the powerful judges who sit just below the Supreme Court level. (Kavanaugh is currently a federal appeals court judge, just as eight of the nine current Supreme Court members were before they became justices.)

Obama and Bush had each appointed nine appeals court judges at this point in their presidencies, while Bill Clinton had appointed 11. George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan came closest to matching Trump’s total with 15 and 14 confirmed appeals court judges, respectively. Carter had appointed 10.

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Topics: Supreme Court, Federal Government, U.S. Political Figures, Donald Trump

Jul 13, 2018 11:01 am

Key public opinion findings on Trump, Putin and the countries they lead

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ summit in Danang, Vietnam, in November 2017. (Jorge Silva/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet next week in Finland for their first bilateral summit (though they have met in less formal settings on other occasions). Issues on the table could include the NATO military alliance, U.S. sanctions against Russia, the conflict in Syria and the status of Ukraine. Ahead of the summit, here are key findings about Trump and Putin – and the countries they lead – from Pew Research Center surveys.

1Most Americans (68%) express an unfavorable opinion of Putin, but Russians have a relatively positive view of Trump. Just 16% of Americans saw Putin favorably, according to a survey conducted in early 2018, before Putin’s re-election. A quarter of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (25%) said they had a favorable view of Putin, compared with just 9% of Democrats and Democratic leaners. These views have changed little since last year.

For their part, Russian views of both the United States and its president improved dramatically last year compared with the end of the Obama administration, according to a spring 2017 survey. Trump received a higher confidence rating (53%) in Russia than either of his two predecessors ever did. And U.S. favorability more than doubled among Russians between the end of the Obama era (15%) and last year (41%).

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Topics: Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Bilateral Relations, Global Balance of Power, International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, International Governments and Institutions, Donald Trump

Jul 12, 2018 12:11 pm

Key findings on the rise in income inequality within America’s racial and ethnic groups

Income inequality – the gap in incomes between the rich and poor – has increased steadily in the United States since the 1970s. By one measure, the gap between Americans at the top and the bottom of the income ladder increased 27% from 1970 to 2016. However, the rise in inequality within America’s racial and ethnic communities varies strikingly from one group to another, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

In this analysis, which draws on data from the American Community Survey and U.S. decennial censuses, income inequality is measured using the 90/10 ratio – the income of those at the high end (90th percentile) of the income distribution relative to the income of those at the low end (10th percentile). “Income” refers to the resources available to a person based on the income of their household, whether the person had personal earnings or not. Thus, people’s incomes are represented by their household’s income adjusted for household size. (See the report methodology for details.)

Here are five key findings from the report:

1Income inequality in the U.S. is now greatest among Asians. In 2016, the latest year for which data are available, Asians near the top of their income distribution (the 90th percentile) had incomes 10.7 times greater than the incomes of Asians near the bottom of their income distribution (the 10th percentile). The 90/10 ratio among Asians was notably greater than among blacks (9.8), whites (7.8) and Hispanics (7.8).

2Income inequality among Asians in the U.S. nearly doubled from 1970 to 2016. The top-to-bottom income ratio among Asians increased 77% from 1970 to 2016, a far greater increase than among whites (24%), Hispanics (15%) or blacks (7%). As a result, Asians displaced blacks as the most economically divided racial or ethnic group in the U.S. In 1970, income inequality among Asians was roughly on par with whites and Hispanics and significantly less pronounced than it was among blacks. The Asian experience with inequality reflects the fact that the incomes of Asians near the top increased about nine times faster than the incomes of Asians near the bottom from 1970 to 2016, 96% compared with 11%. These were the greatest and the smallest increases in incomes at the two rungs of the ladder among the racial and ethnic groups analyzed.  Read More

Topics: Asian Americans, Income Inequality, Income, Race and Ethnicity

Jul 12, 2018 10:00 am

5 key takeaways about populism and the political landscape in Western Europe

Populist movements have gained ground in many Western European countries, from the United Kingdom’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union to Italy’s formation of a populist government this spring. A new Pew Research Center report explores the attitudes that underlie some of these movements, based on interviews with more than 16,000 adults in eight Western European nations.

In the surveyed countries – Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK – people with populist views (as measured by two questions on anti-establishment attitudes) are more likely than those with mainstream views to distrust traditional institutions, such as the national parliament and the news media. They are also more likely to be frustrated with the economy and to hold negative views toward immigrants. Still, populist sympathies play less of a role in many aspects of European politics than traditional left-right divides do. People in Western Europe, for example, still tend to back political parties that reflect their own ideological preferences.

Below are five key takeaways from the survey:

1Populist attitudes are not confined to one particular end of the ideological spectrum in Western Europe – they exist on the left, center and right. In some cases, populist views are a more significant dividing line on political issues than ideology is. For example, Dutch adults with populist views are less likely than those with mainstream views to say membership in the EU has been good for their country’s economy – and this difference exists whether respondents are on the ideological left, center or right. (For the specific definitions of populist views and ideology used in this study, read our methodology.)

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Topics: Western Europe, Trust in Institutions, Europe, Immigration, Political Attitudes and Values

Jul 11, 2018 9:00 am

Which 7 countries hold half the world’s population?

People at a water park in China, which is home to the world’s largest population. Half of the world’s population lives in just seven countries. (VCG via Getty Images)

As of this month, the world’s population is 7.63 billion, according to the United Nations, which celebrates World Population Day today. More than half of all people around the globe (3.97 billion) live in just seven countries, according to the UN’s estimates. China has the world’s largest population (1.42 billion), followed by India (1.35 billion). The next five most populous nations – the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Nigeria – together have fewer people than India.

Half the world's population lives in 7 countriesAs recently as 2014, half the world’s population was concentrated in just six countries – the same nations as above, with the exception of Nigeria. Recent population growth, however, has been faster in the rest of the world than in these six nations, meaning that the top six now hold slightly less than half (49.4%) of the world’s people. Including Nigeria’s nearly 200 million people puts the world’s seven most populous countries at 52% of the global population.

The demographic future for the U.S. and the world looks very different than it did in the recent past. Growth from 1950 to 2010 was rapid — the global population nearly tripled, and the U.S. population doubled. However, population growth in future decades is projected to be significantly slower and is expected to tilt strongly to the oldest age groups, both globally and in the U.S.

During this century, for example, the UN projects that the number of people living to at least age 100 will increase 140-fold, from 150,000 in the year 2000 to over 21 million in the year 2100.

Topics: Population Geography, Population Trends, Population Projections, Demographics

Jul 10, 2018 12:00 pm

Senate’s August recess could be its shortest in decades

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives leaving the Capitol as Congress began its summer recess in August 2013. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent decision to shorten the chamber’s August recess isn’t unprecedented. But in an election year – when a third of senators are on the campaign trail – it’s unusual, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of congressional session data going back to 1971, when the August recess was formally established.

The last time the Senate significantly abbreviated its August recess in an election year was 1994. That year, both the Senate and the House delayed the break as lawmakers worked primarily on health care and crime legislation. The Senate delayed its recess until Aug. 25; the House until Aug. 27.

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Topics: Congress, Federal Government, Elections and Campaigns

Jul 9, 2018 1:31 pm

NATO is seen favorably in many member countries, but almost half of Americans say it does too little

Fighter jets fly over flags of member countries during a ceremony for the NATO summit in Brussels on May 25, 2017. (Justin Tallis–Pool/Getty Images)

Representatives from the 29 countries that form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will gather for a summit this month in Brussels. The meeting takes place amid increased tensions between the United States and its NATO allies. Topics likely to be addressed include relations with Russia, joint military operations and member countries’ spending on collective defense.

Here are five facts about how the alliance is seen in the U.S. and abroad:

1 In many NATO member countries, majorities approve of the allianceNATO is viewed favorably by people in the U.S. and many member countries. About six-in-ten Americans (62%) had a favorable opinion of NATO in a 2017 Pew Research Center survey of the U.S. and 11 other member countries. U.S. goodwill toward the alliance was significantly higher than in 2016, when 53% had a favorable view.

Across all 12 NATO member countries included in the 2017 survey, a median of 61% approved of the alliance, including a majority of respondents in every country except Spain, Greece and Turkey. In the Netherlands and Poland, roughly eight-in-ten (79%) said they have a positive view of NATO. Favorable views of NATO increased in many of these European countries between 2016 and 2017.

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Topics: Global Balance of Power, International Threats and Allies, Foreign Affairs and Policy, International Organizations