Jul 6, 2015 7:00 am

Most of the busiest U.S. airports have dedicated chapels

Ash Wednesday at Denver International Airport
Deacon Jack Sutton prays with visitors in an Ash Wednesday service at the Interfaith Chapel at Denver International Airport in 2011. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Travelers often arrive at airports praying that the security lines won’t be too long or that they don’t end up in a middle seat. But at many of the nation’s largest airports, there’s a more spiritual setting for offering up prayers – a chapel.

In fact, more than half of the nation’s busiest airports have dedicated chapels, and many of these facilities offer a variety of worship services for different faith traditions. Read More

Topics: Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Jul 3, 2015 12:17 pm

As Greeks head to the polls, the Twitter conversation differs by language

Twitter Conversation on EU Proposals Takes Different Tone by LanguageLeading up to the Greek referendum this Sunday over whether to accept the European Union’s austerity measures, the Twitter conversations in Greek and English reveal major differences in both tone and focus, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

Among Greek-language tweets studied, 40% of the conversation included positive expressions about the EU proposals on the referendum calling for a financial bailout that would likely include new austerity measures, while 33% was negative and 27% was neutral. The stakes are high and yet also still unclear – a “no” vote could lead to a possible exit from the eurozone or a fresh start for the negotiations.

A majority of the English-language conversation about the referendum was neutral (61%), but within the portion of the conversation that contained any tone, the positive (32% of the total conversation) outweighed the negative (7%).

Our analysis included nearly 2.5 million tweets in both languages posted between June 26 (following the prime minister’s referendum announcement) and July 1.

Read More

Topics: News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Social Media, World Economies

Jul 3, 2015 7:00 am

America divided on the secret to its success

Why Has U.S. Been Successful? Younger Adults Point to Its Ability to Change. Compared with those in many other countries, Americans stand out for their patriotism. But public opinion surveys show that Americans disagree over what’s behind their country’s success.

Pew Research Center’s political values survey has consistently found that overwhelming majorities agree with the statement “I am very patriotic.” In 2012, 89% of Americans agreed with this statement; the share agreeing has never fallen below 85% in the survey’s 25-year history.

But when asked whether the United States owed its success more to its “ability to change” or its “reliance on long-standing principles,” 51% of Americans attributed the country’s success to the former, while 44% pointed to the latter.

The question was one of many measures about the U.S., its future and its global standing we examined for our 2014 Political Typology. Read More

Topics: Baby Boomers, Generations and Age, Millennials, Political Party Affiliation, Political Typology

Jul 2, 2015 11:05 am

In wake of stronger growth, more Americans and Europeans say U.S. is top economic power

Stronger Growth in U.S. Tracking with Increased Perceptions of America as World's Leading Economy vs. ChinaFor the first time in six years, more people in America say that the U.S. – not China – is the world’s leading economic power, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Furthermore, Europeans, who had favored China as the leading economy in the past few years, increasingly view the U.S. as the top economy.

Since the onset of the Great Recession, opinion has fluctuated over time, and public perceptions of America’s and China’s economic strength seems to be a lagging indicator for actual rates of growth in each country.

In spring 2008, before America experienced the worst of the recession, 46% in the U.S. and a median of 44% across five European Union nations – the UK, France, Germany, Poland and Spain – picked the U.S. as the top economy. And even though China was humming along at 9.6% annual growth, only 26% of Americans and a median of 29% in the EU countries said China was the world’s economic leader.

But by 2010, public opinion began to shift more in favor of China. After the U.S. experienced a severe contraction and China’s growth remained robust, people in many countries around the world – including the U.S. – began to see China as a leading economic power. That year, 41% of Americans named China as the leading economic power, while 38% named the U.S. Across the five EU nations, a median of 44% named China as the top economy in 2010.

And by 2012, publics polled in Europe saw China as the leading power, with a median of 57% saying this. Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, China, Economic and Business News, Economic Recession, Global Balance of Power, National Economy, World Economies

Jul 2, 2015 9:25 am

Where Christian churches, other religions stand on gay marriage

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide raised questions about how the decision will affect religious groups – especially those that continue to oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed. The court’s ruling makes clear that clergy and religious organizations are not obliged to perform same-sex marriages, but some groups have expressed concerns about their tax-exempt status.

Where Major Religions Stand on Same-Sex MarriageMany of the largest U.S. religious institutions have remained firmly against allowing same-sex marriage, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Jewish movement and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelical Protestant denominations.

At the same time, in the past two decades, several other religious groups also have moved to allow same-sex couples to marry within their traditions. This includes the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements, the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

Read More

Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Hindus and Hinduism, Jews and Judaism, Mormons and Mormonism

Jul 2, 2015 7:00 am

5 facts for Pope Francis’ visit to South America

Catholicism in Latin AmericaPope Francis begins a highly anticipated seven-day South American trip on Sunday that includes stops in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. This visit has a special meaning to South Americans because Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is a native of Argentina, and is the first Latin American pope in the history of the Catholic Church. This will be the first official visit for Francis – a former Jesuit bishop – to Spanish-speaking South America since he was elected to lead the Catholic Church in 2013 after the resignation of Benedict XVI.

As millions of faithful Catholics prepare to welcome Pope Francis next week, here are key facts about his trip:

1Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics – nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population. Moreover, in most South American countries, at least seven-in-ten adults identify as Catholic. Indeed, in only one Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country in South America (Uruguay) do Catholics make up less than half of the adult population (42%). Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Income Inequality, Latin America, Religious Leaders

Jul 1, 2015 3:24 pm

Puerto Rico’s losses are not just economic, but in people, too

Puerto Rico is not just dealing with an economic crisis. In a trend that is both a consequence of and contributor to its financial woes, the island’s population is also declining at a clip not seen in more than 60 years.

Puerto Rican Population Grows on U.S. Mainland, Declines on IslandIt’s not a new problem: Puerto Rico’s population began declining in 2006 and has continued every year through 2013, while the population of Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland has grown, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

But the island’s population decline has accelerated in recent years. Over a two-year period between 2011 and 2013, Puerto Rico’s net population decreased by 50,000 people annually. Job-related reasons were cited by 42% of those leaving.

Read More

Topics: Economic Recession, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration Trends, Population Trends, U.S. Census

Jul 1, 2015 2:30 pm

5 key takeaways on what influences Americans’ views of science

Politics are at the center of Americans’ views on many, but not all, science issues. A new Pew Research Center analysis examines U.S. public opinion on science issues, from climate change and energy to vaccines, finding that views on science issues are also influenced by education, science knowledge, and demographic factors, such as age, gender and race/ethnicity.

Here are five key takeaways from the report:

1Views on Climate ChangeAmericans are deeply divided politically on climate change and energy issues. Seventy-one percent of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party say Earth is getting warmer because of human activity, compared with 27% of Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party. This finding is broadly consistent with other public polls and our previous research on climate change attitudes.

Partisan Differences on Energy IssuesThere are also wide political differences on other important energy issues. Democrats and Democratic leaners are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to prioritize use of alternative energy, such as wind and solar, over traditional fossil fuel development. Further, 78% of Democrats/leaning Democrats favor stricter limits on power plant emissions to address climate change, compared with 50% of Republicans/leaning Republicans. Republicans and independents who lean to the GOP are also more likely than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents to favor the increased use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations; more offshore oil and gas drilling; and building more nuclear power plants.

2Politics alone does not divide Americans on science issues. Political ideology and party are either not related or weakly related to views on many biomedical, food safety and space issues. For example, a similar share (87%) of Democrats/leaning Democrats and Republicans/leaning Republicans (88%) say vaccines are generally safe for children. And liberals (41%), moderates (36%) and conservatives (37%) are about equally likely to say it is safe to eat genetically modified foods. Other science issues without major differences by political leanings include views on access to experimental drugs and views about government investment in the International Space Station. Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Bioethics, Energy and Environment, Political Attitudes and Values, Science and Innovation

Jul 1, 2015 7:00 am

Share of counties where whites are a minority has doubled since 1980

majority-minority counties

Last week’s Census Bureau release of 2014 population estimates confirms that the U.S. is becoming ever more diverse, at the local level as well as nationally. As of last summer, according to a Fact Tank analysis, 364 counties, independent cities and other county-level equivalents (11.6% of the total) did not have non-Hispanic white majorities – the most in modern history, and more than twice the level in 1980.

That year – the first decennial enumeration in which the nation’s Hispanic population was comprehensively counted – non-Hispanic whites were majorities in all but 171 out of 3,141 counties (5.4%), according to our analysis. The 1990 census was the first to break out non-Hispanic whites as a separate category; that year, they made up the majority in all but 186 counties, or 5.9% of the total. (The Census Bureau considers Hispanic to be an ethnicity rather than a race; accordingly, Hispanics can be of any race.) Read More

Topics: African Americans, Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Population Trends, Race and Ethnicity

Jun 29, 2015 2:39 pm

In greater Dallas area, segregation by income and race

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a broader definition of what qualifies as racial discrimination under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to include not only overt discrimination, but also policies that may seem fair on the surface, yet nevertheless adversely affect minorities.

The court ruled 5-4 in favor of a nonprofit group, which had argued that a Texas agency’s tax incentives for providing low-income housing were discriminatory because they caused minorities to be segregated to high-poverty areas – areas with worse schools, higher mortality rates and fewer opportunities overall.

Income segregation has increased over the past three decades in 27 of the largest 30 metropolitan areas across the U.S., according to a 2012 Pew Research Center report. In Dallas and many of the other metro areas we mapped, there were clear divisions between low-income neighborhoods and middle- and upper-income areas, as well as divisions along racial lines.

In Dallas Metro Area, Households Tend to be Segregated by Race, Income

Our analysis found that, in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston metros, 37% of low-income households (those that take in less than 67% of the metro area’s median annual household income, for example less than $38,000 in Dallas) are located in census tracts in which at least half of households are low-income. Residential concentration among upper-income households (defined as making at least 200% of the metro area’s median household income, for example at least $113,000 in Dallas) is also high in Texas. Houston and Dallas topped the charts among the 10 largest metropolitan areas, with 24% and 23%, respectively, of upper-income households lying in census tracts that were at least half upper-income. Read More

Topics: Income, Income Inequality, Population Geography, Race and Ethnicity, Supreme Court