Mar 23, 2017 11:30 am

Many lower-income Republicans see ensuring health coverage for all as a government responsibility

With the U.S. House preparing to vote on a proposal to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, Republicans continue to overwhelmingly oppose the law, and most say it’s not the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. But the views of lower-income Republicans stand out: They are somewhat more likely than higher-income Republicans to support the health care law, and many say it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have coverage.

Just 15% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents approve of the health care law passed by President Barack Obama and Congress; a greater share (32%) says the government has a responsibility to ensure health care coverage for all Americans.

Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, comparably large majorities approve of the health care law (83%) and say the government is responsible for making sure all Americans have coverage (85%).  Read More

Topics: Congress, Health Care, Income, Political Attitudes and Values, U.S. Political Parties

Mar 22, 2017 11:07 am

How much does science knowledge influence people’s views on climate change and energy issues?

Many in the scientific community believe that if the American public were more informed about the science behind climate change and energy issues, people would hold views that aligned more closely with those of scientific experts. But how much people know about science only modestly and inconsistently correlates with their attitudes about climate and energy issues, while partisanship is a stronger factor in people’s beliefs, according to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey.

There have been wide political divides in public views over climate and energy issues over at least a decade of public polls. The 2016 survey showed these political divisions reached across every dimension of the climate debate, from the causes and potential cures of climate change down to people’s trust in climate scientists’ understanding of the issue and the motivations behind their research.

These political orientations appear to serve as an anchoring point for how knowledge influences peoples’ attitudes. This pattern is consistent with an array of scholarly literature which suggests that people’s political worldviews shape how science knowledge influences attitudes on climate-related matters.  Read More

Topics: Energy and Environment, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization, Science and Innovation, U.S. Political Parties

Mar 22, 2017 6:54 am

Digital divide persists even as lower-income Americans make gains in tech adoption

This is the first in a series of posts about how different demographic groups in the U.S. have fared in the digital age.

Nearly 30 years after the debut of the World Wide Web, internet use, broadband adoption and smartphone ownership have grown rapidly for all Americans – including those who are less well off financially. But even as many aspects of the digital divide have narrowed over time, the digital lives of lower- and higher-income Americans remain markedly different.

Roughly three-in-ten adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year don’t own a smartphone. Nearly half don’t have home broadband services or a traditional computer. And a majority of lower-income Americans are not tablet owners. By comparison, many of these devices are nearly ubiquitous among adults from households earning $100,000 or more a year.

Higher-income Americans are also more likely to have multiple devices that enable them to go online. Two-thirds of adults living in high-earning households have home broadband services, a smartphone, a desktop or laptop computer and a tablet, compared with 17% of those living in low-income households.

Read More

Topics: Digital Divide, Emerging Technology Impacts, Income, Income Inequality, Socioeconomic Class, Technology Adoption

Mar 21, 2017 7:12 am

Majority of states have all-Christian congressional delegations

As has been the case in prior Congresses, the 115th Congress is more Christian than the U.S. population as a whole. The vast majority of the nation’s federal lawmakers (91%) describe themselves as Christians, compared with 71% of U.S. adults who say the same, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis of congressional data compiled by CQ Roll Call.

Here are some other facts about the religious makeup of the current Congress, focusing on state congressional delegations.  Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Congress, Federal Government, Jews and Judaism, Mormons and Mormonism, Religion and Government, Religion and Society, Religion and U.S. Politics, Religious Affiliation

Mar 20, 2017 1:30 pm

Despite gains, women remain underrepresented among U.S. political and business leaders

Jeannette Rankin made history 100 years ago this year when she took office as the first female member of Congress. “I may be the first woman member of Congress, but I won’t be the last,” the Montana Republican predicted after winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives the year before.

Rankin was right: In the century since she began her service as a member of Congress, hundreds of women have followed in her footsteps. But women remain underrepresented in all major political offices and top business leadership positions in the United States.

In 2017, 21 women serve in the U.S. Senate and 83 serve in the House of Representatives, comprising 19.4% of Congress. While this share is nearly nine times higher than it was in 1965, it remains well below the 51.4% of women in the overall U.S. adult population. (An additional five women serve as nonvoting delegates in the House, representing American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.)

(See our updated interactive, “The Data on Women Leaders”)

Nancy Pelosi is the highest-ranking woman in congressional history, serving as House speaker from 2007 to 2011 and currently serving as the chamber’s minority leader. Her home state, California, has sent more women to Congress than any other state – a total of 41 as of 2017.

Read More

Topics: Business and Labor, Congress, Gender, State and Local Government, U.S. Political Figures, Work and Employment

Mar 20, 2017 12:00 pm

A wider partisan and ideological gap between younger, older generations

The generation gap in American politics is dividing two younger age groups, Millennials and Generation X, from the two older groups, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation.

In 2016, as in recent years, Millennials and Gen Xers were the most Democratic generations. And both groups had relatively large – and growing – shares of liberal Democrats: 27% of Millennials and 21% of Gen Xers identified as liberal Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents.

By contrast, Boomers and Silents were the most Republican groups – largely because of the higher shares of conservative Republicans in these generations. Nearly a third of Boomers (31%) and 36% of Silents described themselves as conservative Republicans or Republican leaners, which also is higher than in the past.  Read More

Topics: Generations and Age, Millennials, Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization

Mar 20, 2017 6:57 am

What backgrounds do U.S. Supreme Court justices have?

When President Donald Trump nominated federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia, he chose a candidate whose professional background is very much in line with previous and current justices. Like Gorsuch, many of the 112 former or sitting justices had previously worked in the U.S. Department of Justice, appellate courts or private practice.

If confirmed, Gorsuch, who currently serves on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado, would join at least 68 others with prior experience as judges. Of these, at least 30 also came from U.S. appellate courts. And like the vast majority of Supreme Court justices – 104 so far – Gorsuch would bring private practice experience to the court. While less common, Gorsuch’s previous role as principal deputy to the associate attorney general puts him in line with at least 23 justices who served in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Unlike a majority of justices, however, Gorsuch has never been elected to any public office, a Pew Research Center analysis of biographical information from the Supreme Court and other sources has found.

Read More

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

Mar 17, 2017 10:15 am

The fading of the green: Fewer Americans identify as Irish

On this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s news that might dampen the party: The ranks of Americans who trace their ancestry back to Ireland – long one of the most prominent subgroups in American society – are slowly declining.

In 2015, 32.7 million Americans, or one-in-ten, identified themselves as being of Irish ancestry, making it the second-largest ancestry group in the U.S. after Germans. In addition, nearly 3 million Americans claimed Scotch-Irish ancestry, or just under 1% of the entire population. (The Scotch-Irish were mainly Ulster Protestants who migrated to the British colonies in the decades before independence, while Irish Catholics didn’t begin arriving in large numbers until the 1840s.) By comparison, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have a combined population of about 6.6 million. Read More

Topics: Demographics, Immigration, Race and Ethnicity

Mar 16, 2017 11:00 am

China outpaces India in internet access, smartphone ownership

India and China, the world’s two most populous countries, have long had a competitive relationship and have emerged as major economic powers. But in the digital space, China has a clear advantage. Since Pew Research Center began tracking advanced technology adoption in the two countries in 2013, the Chinese have consistently reported rates of internet and smartphone use that are at least triple that of Indians. That trend has continued through 2016.

In our latest poll, 71% of Chinese say they use the internet at least occasionally or own a smartphone, our definition of internet users. In contrast, only 21% of Indians say they use the internet or own a smartphone.

The gap between China and India is similarly large when it comes to smartphone ownership alone. Nearly seven-in-ten Chinese (68%) say they own one as of spring 2016, compared with 18% of Indians. Reported smartphone ownership in China has jumped 31 percentage points since 2013, but only 6 points in India over the same time period. And while virtually every Chinese person surveyed owns at least a basic mobile phone (98%), only 72% of Indians can say the same.  Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, China, Digital Divide, Future of the Internet, Internet Activities, Mobile, Social Media, Technology Adoption

Mar 16, 2017 9:00 am

Immigrants don’t make up a majority of workers in any U.S. industry

Immigrants are more likely than U.S.-born workers to be employed in a number of specific jobs, including sewing machine operators, plasterers, stucco masons and manicurists. But there are no major U.S. industries in which immigrants outnumber the U.S. born, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

All told, immigrants made up 17.1% of the total U.S. workforce in 2014, or about 27.6 million workers out of 161.4 million. About 19.6 million workers, or 12.1% of the total workforce, were in the U.S. legally; about 8 million, or 5%, entered the country without legal permission or overstayed their visas. (Roughly 10% of unauthorized immigrants have been granted temporary protection from deportation and eligibility to work under two federal programs, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status.)

There are two main ways to look at the kinds of work people do: by industry (that is, the business their employer is engaged in) and by occupation (the kind of work they do on the job). To get a sense of the work immigrants to the U.S. do most frequently, we relied on 2014 workforce estimates by Pew Research Center. The estimates, based on augmented data from the Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey, cover all workers ages 16 and older who reported being in a civilian industry or occupation, including both lawful and unauthorized immigrants. Read More

Topics: Business and Labor, Immigration, Unauthorized Immigration, Work and Employment