The new Congress is slightly more religiously diverse than its predecessor, but it remains overwhelmingly Christian, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of congressional data collected by CQ Roll Call.
For the first day of the 116th Congress, here are five facts about the religious affiliation of members of Congress:
1The religious composition of the new Congress is very different from that of the U.S. adult population. While the number of self-identified Christians in Congress has ticked down slightly, Christians as a whole – and especially Protestants and Catholics – are still overrepresented in proportion to their share in the general public. But by far, the largest difference between the U.S. public and Congress is in the share of people who are unaffiliated with a religious group. In the general public, 23% say they are atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” In Congress, just one person says she is religiously unaffiliated – Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who was recently elected to the Senate after three terms in the House.
On Jan. 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, an event sometimes called the “Velvet Divorce.” But despite having been one nation for roughly 75 years, the two countries have very different religious profiles, according to a recent Pew Research Center study.
While Slovakia is majority Catholic (63%), around seven-in-ten Czechs (72%) are religiously unaffiliated – the highest share of unaffiliated adults in 34 European countries surveyed by the Center. In addition, far more people in Slovakia than in the Czech Republic say they believe in God (69% and 29%, respectively).
The Czech Republic’s largely secular religious landscape is a result of dramatic declines over time in the share of adults who identify as Catholic. In a survey conducted in 1991 by the Times Mirror Center for the People & Press, Pew Research Center’s predecessor organization, 44% of Czech speakers in Czechoslovakia identified as Catholic. Around half that many (21%) identify as Catholic in the Czech Republic today. Read More →
Guns are deeply ingrained in American society. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and around three-in-ten American adults personally own a gun. Most of these gun owners say the right to own firearms is essential to their own personal sense of freedom.
At the same time, gun violence – from big-city murders to mass shootings – has spurred debate in Congress and state legislatures over proposals to limit Americans’ access to firearms. Counting murders and suicides, nearly 40,000 people died of gun-related violence in the United States in 2017, the highest annual total in decades.
Here are seven key findings about Americans’ experiences with and attitudes toward guns, drawn from recent Pew Research Center surveys and other data sources.
1Three-in-ten American adults (30%) say they personally own a gun, and an additional 11% say they live with someone who does, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March and April 2017. Whether or not they personally own a gun, Americans have broad exposure to firearms: Nearly half of U.S. adults (48%) grew up in a household with guns, nearly six-in-ten (59%) have friends who own guns and around seven-in-ten (72%) have fired a gun at some point in their lives – including 55% of those who have never personally owned a gun.
Among Americans who own a gun, nearly two-thirds (66%) say they own more than one, including 29% who own five or more. A large majority of gun owners (72%) own a handgun or pistol, while 62% own a rifle and 54% own a shotgun. About three-quarters of gun owners (73%) say they could never see themselves not owning a gun.
Category: 5 Facts
While much of the global Catholic population has shifted to Latin America, Africa and Asia, the Catholic Church remains closely tied to Europe. The church is headquartered in Rome’s Vatican City (itself a European state) and a plurality of the institution’s cardinals (42%) still hail from Europe. Furthermore, Catholics are the largest religious group in many of the continent’s most populous countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain, according to an analysis of recent Pew Research Center surveys in 34 European countries.
Here are five facts about Catholics in Europe:
1Europe was once home to most of the world’s Catholics, but that is no longer the case. In 1910, 65% of all Catholics lived on the continent. But a century later, in 2010, the share of the world’s Catholics living in Europe dropped to 24%. Latin America now hosts more Catholics (39%) than Europe or any other region, with sizable shares also in sub-Saharan Africa (16%) and the Asia-Pacific region (12%).
When the 116th Congress convenes next month, women will make up nearly a quarter of its voting membership – the highest percentage in U.S. history, and a considerable increase from where things stood not too long ago.
A record 102 women will serve in the incoming House of Representatives, comprising 23.4% of the chamber’s voting members. More than a third of those women (35) won their seats for the first time in last month’s midterms. (In addition, four of six nonvoting House members, who represent the District of Columbia and U.S. territories, are women.) And Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is poised to reclaim the House speaker’s gavel she last held from 2007 to 2011.
The midterms also sent five new women to the Senate, more than making up for the two female senators who lost their re-election bids. And Arizona Republican Martha McSally, who lost a close Senate race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, got there anyway: She was appointed to fill the seat of Sen. Jon Kyl, who is retiring at the end of the year. All told, 25 women will be serving in the new Senate.
Women have been in Congress for more than a century. The first, Republican Jeannette Rankin of Montana, was elected to the House in 1916, two years after her state gave women the vote. But it’s only been in the past few decades that women have served in substantial numbers. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the 325 women elected to the House since Rankin’s time (including the incoming new members) have been elected since 1992, and nearly half (48%) since 1998.
International relations experts at American colleges and universities overwhelmingly say the United States is less respected by other countries today than it was in the past – and the U.S. public agrees with this assessment, though to a lesser extent.
Among the foreign affairs experts, 93% say the U.S. is less respected by other countries today compared with the past, according to a survey of international relations (IR) scholars conducted in October 2018 by the Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) Project at the College of William and Mary. The poll included 1,157 respondents who are employed at a U.S. college or university in a political science department or professional school and who teach or conduct research on international issues. Only 4% of these experts believe the U.S. is as respected as in the past, with a mere 2% saying the U.S. gets more respect from abroad than it has previously received.
The American public also has seen a decline in other countries’ respect for the U.S., though it is less unified than IR experts in its assessment, according to a separate survey of 1,504 adults conducted in October 2017 by Pew Research Center. Roughly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) said the U.S. is less respected by other countries today compared with the past. About two-in-ten (17%) thought America had maintained its global level of respect, while 13% said the U.S. is more respected. It should be noted, however, that a majority of the American public has expressed belief that the U.S. is less respected every time the question has been asked since 2004, ranging from a low of 56% to a high of 71% holding this opinion.
Organizations that advocate for legal abortion often frame it as a women’s rights issue. But in many European countries and the United States, women do not differ significantly from men in their views about abortion, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from 34 European nations and the U.S.
In Europe, regardless of the overall support for legal abortion, women and men in 27 of the 34 countries surveyed do not differ significantly in their views about whether abortion should be legal. For example, roughly three-quarters of women and men in Germany say this (76% and 77%, respectively). The same is true in countries with lower overall support for legal abortion, like Greece, where 45% of both adult men and women say abortion should be legal.
This pattern holds in the U.S., where 60% of women and 57% of men favor legal abortion.
In a handful of European countries, women and men do differ in their views on abortion, although not always in the same direction. For example, in countries including Armenia and Lithuania, women are more likely than men to say abortion should be legal. By contrast, Portuguese and Norwegian women are less likely than men to say abortion should be legal.
Pew Research Center takes the pulse of Americans and people around the world on a host of issues every year. We explore public opinion on topics ranging from foreign policy to cyberbullying, as well as demographic trends, such as the emergence of the post-Millennial generation and changes in the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Here are 18 of this year’s standout findings, taken from our analyses over the past year.
1Post-Millennials – today’s 6- to 21-year-olds, also known as Generation Z – are on track to be the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet. A bare majority of post-Millennials are non-Hispanic white (52%), while a quarter are Hispanic. And while most post-Millennials are still pursuing their K-12 education, the oldest members of this generation are enrolling in college at a significantly higher rate than Millennials were at a comparable age.
Americans are becoming less reliant on physical currency. Roughly three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) say they make no purchases using cash during a typical week, up slightly from 24% in 2015. And the share who say that all or almost all of their weekly purchases are made using cash has modestly decreased, from 24% in 2015 to 18% today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that comes as some businesses experiment with becoming cashless establishments.
About seven-in-ten U.S. parents younger than 50 (71%) say it’s unlikely they will have more children in the future – and among childless adults in the same age group, about four-in-ten (37%) say they don’t ever expect to become parents, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in July and August.
Among parents under 50, four-in-ten say they’re not likely to have more kids in the future because they just don’t want to, while 30% point to some other reason for not expecting to have more kids, according to the survey. Among childless adults under 50, meanwhile, around a quarter (23%) say they’re unlikely to have children in the future because they just don’t want to, while 14% name some other reason for not expecting to have kids.
Parents ages 40 to 49 stand out as being far more likely than those under 40 to say they don’t expect to have more children. About nine-in-ten parents ages 40 to 49 (91%) say they are unlikely to have more children in the future, compared with 56% of parents younger than 40. Three-in-ten childless adults in this younger age group say they are unlikely to become parents someday (there are too few childless adults ages 40 to 49 in the sample to analyze them separately).