Dec 19, 2016 7:05 am

The education gap between Hindus in India and the West

Hindus are among the least educated of the world’s major religious groups when looked at globally, but this is not true of Hindus everywhere, especially those who are living in economically advanced nations, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of religion and education.

Hindus ages 25 and older in India have an average of 5.5 years of formal schooling, while Hindus in Bangladesh (4.6 years) and Nepal (3.9 years) have even less education. These South Asian countries are all developing nations that have struggled to raise educational standards in the face of widespread poverty.  Read More

Topics: Asia and the Pacific, Education, Europe, North America, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Dec 16, 2016 3:29 pm

More voters will have access to non-English ballots in the next election cycle

The federal government has long required election ballots in some U.S. jurisdictions to be printed in languages other than English, based on the number of voting-age citizens who live in those communities and have limited English skills and low education levels. New data from the Census Bureau show that 263 counties, cities and other jurisdictions in 29 states will now be subject to this requirement in future elections, a slight increase from five years ago.

The language assistance, required by the federal Voting Rights Act since 1975, applies to places with Asian American, Latino, American Indian and Alaska Native populations that meet certain requirements. The Justice Department, which enforces the law, says the assistance helps more people “be informed voters and participate effectively in our representative democracy.” During the last reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, in 2006, Congress extended the language assistance provisions to 2032, and they were not affected by a Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that invalidated other sections of the law.

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Topics: Elections and Campaigns, Immigration, Migration, Voter Demographics, Voter Participation

Dec 16, 2016 1:05 pm

U.S. immigrant deportations fall to lowest level since 2007

The Obama administration deported 333,341 unauthorized immigrants in the 2015 fiscal year, a decline of about 81,000 (or 20%) from the prior year, according to newly released data from the Department of Homeland Security. The number of deportations fell for the second year in a row and reached its lowest level since 2007, during the George W. Bush administration.

The decline in deportations occurred among non-criminal and criminal immigrants alike. Deportations of immigrants without a criminal conviction fell from 247,000 in 2014 to 193,000 in 2015, a 22% drop and the first in four years. Deportations of immigrants with a criminal conviction fell 17% between fiscal 2014 and 2015, from 168,000 to 140,000. It is only the third time that the number of deportations of immigrants with a criminal conviction has fallen since at least 1981. (Fiscal 2016 data are not yet available.)

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Topics: Immigration, Mexico, Migration, National Security, North America

Dec 15, 2016 1:41 pm

International migration: Key findings from the U.S., Europe and the world

Migrants who have just crossed the border from Serbia into Hungary walk along a railway track on August 28, 2015 near Szeged, Hungary. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Migrants who have just crossed the border from Serbia into Hungary walk along a railway track in August 2015 near Szeged, Hungary. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Millions of people have migrated from their homes to other countries in recent years. Some migrants have moved voluntarily, seeking economic opportunities. Others have been forced from their homes by political turmoil, persecution or war and have left their countries to seek asylum elsewhere.

To mark International Migrants Day this Sunday, here are our key findings about international migration trends.

How many international migrants are there? Where are they from? Where do they live?

If all of the world’s international migrants (people living in a country that is different from their country or territory of birth) lived in a single country, it would be the world’s fifth largest, with around 244 million people. Overall, international migrants make up 3.3% of the world’s population today.

However, international migrants do not live in one country. Instead, they are dispersed across the world, with most having moved from middle-income to high-income countries. Top origins of international migrants include India (15.6 million), Mexico (12.3 million), Russia (10.6 million), China (9.5 million) and Bangladesh (7.2 million).

Among destination countries, the U.S. has more international migrants than any other country. It is home to about one-in-five international migrants (46.6 million). Other top destinations of migrants include Germany (12.0 million), Russia (11.6 million), Saudi Arabia (10.2 million) and the United Kingdom (8.5 million).

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Topics: Europe, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Immigration Attitudes, International Governments and Institutions, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, Migration, Unauthorized Immigration, Wars and International Conflicts

Dec 14, 2016 1:05 pm

Most Americans favor stricter environmental laws and regulations

Crews clean oil from the beach at Refugio State Beach on May 20, 2015 north of Goleta, California. About 21,000 gallons spilled from a nearby pipeline. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images
Crews clean oil from the beach at Refugio State Beach on May 20, 2015, north of Goleta, California. About 21,000 gallons spilled from a nearby pipeline. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

More Americans say environmental regulations are “worth the cost” than say such regulations come at too steep a price, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. These views come amid speculation about what President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees may mean for future regulatory policy.

A majority of U.S. adults (59%) say stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost, compared with roughly a third (34%) who say such regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy, according to the survey, conducted Nov. 30 to Dec. 5.

Education level and age are both associated with perceptions of environmental regulations. Younger adults and those with more education are more likely than older adults and those with less education to say stricter environmental laws are worth the cost.

Opinion also differs across party lines. Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (78%) see stricter environmental laws as worth the cost, while a majority of Republicans and Republican leaners (58%) say stricter environmental regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy.  Read More

Topics: 2016 Election, Business and Labor, Domestic Affairs and Policy, Energy and Environment, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Polarization

Dec 14, 2016 10:29 am

Q&A: The Muslim-Christian education gap in sub-Saharan Africa

(Courtesy of Melina Platas)
(Courtesy of Melina Platas)

Pew Research Center’s new study on educational attainment among the world’s major religious groups finds a large gap between Muslims and Christians in sub-Saharan Africa, a region in which the population is projected to grow rapidly over the next few decades. This gap has persisted for decades, and for more insight into possible reasons, we interviewed Melina Platas, an assistant professor of political science at New York University Abu Dhabi. Platas’ research centers on variations in economic and political development in developing countries; since 2005, she has focused on sub-Saharan Africa.

How do you think the history of Islam and Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa may have had an impact on education for Muslims and Christians?

The distribution of Christian missionary schools, many of which formed the basis of the education sector in independent Africa, had a profound and long-term effect on educational attainment. Missionary schools were often sparse in predominantly Muslim areas for political and geographic reasons. In many cases, Muslims had already established their own Islamic education systems, and sometimes political systems as well. In these areas, colonial authorities often limited educational investments, especially by Christians, either to avoid conflict or because of perceived low demand for Western-style education. These patterns of educational investment during the colonial period led, I believe, to the emergence of the education gap between Muslims and Christians.

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Topics: Christians and Christianity, Education, Educational Attainment, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Sub-Saharan Africa

Dec 14, 2016 6:59 am

Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa are twice as likely as Christians to have no formal education

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to large and growing populations of Christians and Muslims that often live side by side. But when it comes to education levels, there is a big gulf between the two groups: Muslim adults are more than twice as likely as Christians to have no formal schooling.

Among adults ages 25 and older, three-in-ten Christians in sub-Saharan Africa have not completed even a year of primary schooling (30%). But among Muslims in the region, fully 65% have no formal education – a 35-percentage-point difference with Christians, a new Pew Research Center analysis has found.  Read More

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Education, Educational Attainment, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Sub-Saharan Africa

Dec 13, 2016 1:30 pm

Americans still favor ties with Cuba after Castro’s death, U.S. election

In the aftermath of Fidel Castro’s death and the election of Donald Trump, Americans continue to express support for the recent thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations. Yet the U.S. public remains skeptical about whether the island nation will become more democratic in the coming years.

Three-quarters of U.S. adults (75%) approve of the decision last year to re-establish U.S. relations with Cuba, while nearly as many (73%) favor ending the long-standing U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center conducted Dec. 1-5.

These views are similar to attitudes about U.S. relations with Cuba in July 2015, following the decision to renew diplomatic ties. At that time, 73% approved of the re-establishment of U.S diplomatic relations with Cuba, and 72% favored an end to the trade embargo.

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Topics: 2016 Election, Democracy, Foreign Affairs and Policy, Globalization and Trade, International Governments and Institutions, Latin America, Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Political Issue Priorities

Dec 13, 2016 12:02 pm

What’s on your table? How America’s diet has changed over the decades

Americans eat more chicken and less beef than they used to. They drink less milk – especially whole milk – and eat less ice cream, but they consume way more cheese. Their diets include less sugar than in prior decades but a lot more corn-derived sweeteners. And while the average American eats the equivalent of 1.2 gallons of yogurt a year, he or she also consumes 36 pounds of cooking oils – more than three times as much as in the early 1970s.

Americans’ eating habits, in short, are all over the place, at least according to our analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. Which is about what you’d expect, judging from the results of Pew Research Center’s recent survey on food and nutrition attitudes. In that survey, 54% of Americans said people in the U.S. pay more attention to eating healthy foods today compared with 20 years ago – the same percentage who said Americans’ actual eating habits are less healthy today than they were 20 years ago. And while 73% of Americans said they were very or fairly focused on healthy and nutritious eating, 58% said that most days they probably should be eating healthier.

So how do Americans really eat, and how has that changed over time? We analyzed data from the USDA’s Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System, or FADS, to find out. (Specifically, we used food availability adjusted for waste, spoilage and other loss as a proxy for consumption.) While the nation’s eating habits don’t change all that much from year to year, looking at them over 40 or more years shows some significant changes. Read More

Topics: Health

Dec 13, 2016 10:09 am

Key findings on how world religions differ by education

While there are big gaps in average education levels among different religious groups, these disparities have been narrowing in recent decades because those at the bottom made the biggest educational strides. A new Pew Research Center study, analyzing data from 151 countries, looks at education levels of Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and religiously unaffiliated adults ages 25 and older. The demographic study also examines changes in educational attainment over three recent generations.

Here are five key takeaways from the report:

1When measured by years of formal schooling, Jews have the highest average educational attainment, while Muslims and Hindus have the lowest. Christians have the second highest average years of schooling, followed by religiously unaffiliated adults and then Buddhists.

However, across three recent generations, Muslims and Hindus have made the biggest educational gains of all the religious groups studied. The youngest members of these two faith groups (those born between 1976 and 1985) have almost twice as many years of schooling as their oldest peers (those born between 1936 and 1955). Read More

Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Christians and Christianity, Educational Attainment, Gender, Hindus and Hinduism, Jews and Judaism, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religiously Unaffiliated