Jul 9, 2018 6:59 am

Americans are closely divided over value of medical treatments, but most agree costs are a big problem

Christian Hinrichs, an investigator specializing in HPV+ cancers at the National Cancer Institute, shows patient Fred Janick, a metastatic cancer survivor, a CT scan showing his cancerous tumors, right, and a clean scan after treatment in February. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans have mixed assessments about the overall value of medical treatments today, even while a strong majority says science has generally improved the quality of U.S. health care, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. At the same time, a substantial majority considers quality health care unaffordable.

Americans are closely divided over the value of medical treatments todayOverall, 48% of U.S. adults say medical treatments are “worth the costs because they allow people to live longer and better quality lives,” while a similar share (51%) says such treatments “often create as many problems as they solve.”

The survey also finds that 90% of Americans believe science has had a mostly positive effect on the quality of health care. This is in keeping with a 2016 Pew Research Center report, which found that, among the 67% of Americans who said science has had a mostly positive effect on society, the largest share (59%), in an open-ended question, cited science’s effect on medicine and health as the main reason.

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Topics: Health, Science and Innovation, Health Care

Jul 6, 2018 1:32 pm

Border apprehensions of migrant families have risen substantially so far in 2018

Central American asylum seekers wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take them into custody on June 12 near McAllen, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The United States apprehended nearly 49,000 family members at the U.S.-Mexico border between January and June of this year – more than twice as many as during the same time period last year, and the highest number during any January-June period since at least 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Family members also increased as a share of all border apprehensions (24%) over this period compared with the past six years.

All told, there were nearly 203,000 apprehensions along the southern U.S. border during the first half of the year, compared with around 104,000 during the same period in 2017. These figures include family members as well as unaccompanied children and individuals.

The apprehension of families and unaccompanied children has received renewed attention following the Trump administration’s announcement of a “zero tolerance” policy in April. The policy led families to be separated at the border starting in May, though President Donald Trump ended the separation policy in an executive order late last month.

Family units make up an increasing share of U.S. border apprehensionsThis May – the first full month during which the policy was in effect – border agents apprehended 9,485 family members at the U.S.-Mexico border. This represents a significant increase over the same month last year (1,580), though is still lower than in May 2014 (12,772), when apprehensions spiked amid a surge in immigration, particularly among Central American children. Family apprehensions made up nearly a quarter (24%) of all Southwest border apprehensions in May this year, the highest share for that month since at least 2012.

Though Trump ended the separation policy in late June, Customs and Border Protection apprehended a similar number of family members at the Southwest border that month (9,449), representing a slightly larger share of all June apprehensions (28%).

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Global Migration and Demography, Migration, Immigration

Jul 5, 2018 6:59 am

For the first time, U.S. resettles fewer refugees than the rest of the world

Canadian Border Services Officer Boakye-Cotie processes a Syrian refugee family at Toronto Pearson International Airport in December 2015. Non-U.S. countries resettled more than twice as many refugees as the U.S. in 2017. (Kenneth Allan/Canada Border Services Agency/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The number of refugees resettled in the United States decreased more than in any other country in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This represents the first time since the adoption of the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act that the U.S. resettled fewer refugees than the rest of the world.

The U.S. has historically led the world in refugee resettlement. Since 1980, the U.S. has taken in 3 million of the more than 4 million refugees resettled worldwide.

Number of refugees resettled in the U.S. falls below total from the rest of the world for the first time in 2017But in 2017, the U.S. resettled 33,000 refugees, the country’s lowest total since the years following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a steep drop from 2016, when it resettled about 97,000.

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Global Migration and Demography, Migration, Wars and International Conflicts, Immigration

Jul 4, 2018 6:58 am

How Americans see their country and their democracy

(Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

On the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate the birth of the nation and the values that have sustained the country and its democracy in the nearly 250 years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Americans’ views vary when it comes to how they see the United States’ standing in the world and the state of its democracy. Here are key findings from Pew Research Center surveys:

1A majority of Americans believe the U.S. is one of the greatest nations in the world. More than eight-in-ten (85%) said in a June 2017 survey that the U.S. either “stands above all other countries in the world” (29%) or that it is “one of the greatest countries, along with some others” (56%). While large shares in all adult generations say America is among the greatest countries, those in the Silent Generation (ages 73 to 90 in 2018) are the most likely to say the U.S. “stands above” all others (46%), while Millennials are the least likely to say this (18%).

2At the same time, nearly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) say the U.S. is less respected abroad than it was in the past. There have been considerable changes in how Republicans and Democrats view the global level of respect for the U.S., according to a survey conducted last year. Last fall, 42% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said the U.S. is less respected than it was in the past, the lowest share saying this in more than a decade. In comparison, 87% of Democrats and Democratic leaners said the U.S. is less respected than it was in the past, an increase from 58% in 2016.

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Topics: Country Image, Democracy, National and Cultural Identity

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.

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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