Oct 31, 2018 7:00 am

Greek attitudes toward religion, minorities align more with Central and Eastern Europe than West

Politically, Greece has long been aligned with the West. It joined NATO in 1952 and the European Union in 1981, and, unlike nearly all its neighbors in southeastern Europe, it remained outside the Soviet sphere of influence during the Cold War.

When it comes to public attitudes on religion, national identity and the place of religious minorities, Greeks, like their neighbors to the East, hold more nationalist and less accepting views than do Western Europeans, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of surveys in 34 countries across the continent. Greeks appear to recognize this: Seven-in-ten agree with the statement, “There is a conflict between our country’s traditional values and those of the West.” And a majority of Greeks hold at least some affinity toward Russia: Seven-in-ten adults say a strong Russia is necessary to balance the influence of the West.

On religion, nativism and social issues, Greece aligns more with Central and Eastern Europe than with Western EuropeGreece is an overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian nation – much like Russia, Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. And, like many Eastern Europeans, Greeks embrace Christianity as a key part of their national identity. Three-quarters of Greeks say being Orthodox is at least somewhat important to being truly Greek; many other Central and Eastern Europeans link religion and nationality in this way (median of 57%), while fewer Western Europeans do (median of 34%). In addition, roughly a third of Greek adults say they would be willing to accept Muslims (31%) or Jews (35%) in their family, similar to the share who say this in other Central and Eastern European countries, but far below the shares who express acceptance of religious minorities in Western Europe.

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Topics: Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Religion and Society, Social Values, Europe, National and Cultural Identity

Oct 30, 2018 10:01 am

Younger adults in Western Europe are more socially, politically progressive than older age groups

People line up to vote at Els Llorers school in Barcelona, Spain, on Oct. 1, 2017. (Nicolas Carvalho Ochoa/Picture Alliance via Getty Images)

Younger people in Western Europe differ in a variety of ways from older adults: They tend to be more left-leaning, more progressive in their social and political views, more receptive to immigrants and more favorable toward the European Union. They are also more mixed in their views of traditional center-left parties than older Western Europeans.

Here are five facts about how 18- to 29-year-olds in Western Europe differ from older age groups, based on a Pew Research Center survey conducted in late 2017 across eight countries.

1Younger Europeans more likely to lean left ideologically than older groupsYounger Europeans are more left-leaning, though no more likely to hold populist views. Around a third or more of those younger than 30 placed themselves on the ideological left in six of the eight countries surveyed. In most countries, this made younger people significantly more likely to be left-leaning than those ages 50 and older. In the United Kingdom, for example, 43% of those under 30 placed themselves on the ideological left, compared with only 20% of those 50 and older.

While left-right ideology remains a powerful factor in how Europeans view key policy questions, anti-establishment populist views are also shaking up the political landscape. But age was not strongly or consistently related to populist views in most surveyed countries: In France and Spain, those under 30 were slightly more likely to hold populist views than those 50 and older, but in the Netherlands, the pattern was flipped, and those 50 and older were somewhat more likely to hold populist views (29%) than those under 30 (22%). Still, differences were muted, particularly when compared with ideological differences across age groups. (Respondents were classified as holding populist views if they answered: “Most elected officials don’t care what people like me think” and “Ordinary people would do a better job solving the country’s problems than elected officials.”)

2Younger Europeans have mixed evaluations of traditional, center-left parties. Although younger Europeans were much more likely to fall on the ideological left, this did not translate into more positive views of the traditional center-left party in many countries. In most countries, younger Europeans were no more likely than older adults to identify as partisans of these center-left parties. And in Denmark and Spain, those under 30 had less favorable opinions of the center-left parties than older age groups.

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Topics: Western Europe, Teens and Youth, Social Values, Europe, Political Attitudes and Values, Generations and Age

Oct 29, 2018 10:05 am

In EU, there’s an East-West divide over religious minorities, gay marriage, national identity

For most of its first half-century, the European Union consisted almost entirely of countries from Western Europe, such as France, Italy and Belgium. That changed in 2004, when the EU expanded to include some former Soviet bloc countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including Hungary, Poland and Estonia.

While the EU has integrated its new member states into its governing structures, there are some significant differences in public attitudes between its Western European countries and its Central and Eastern European countries, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center surveys conducted between 2015 and 2017.

Specifically, adults in the EU’s Central and Eastern European states tend to be less likely than those in the EU countries of Western Europe to say they would welcome Muslims or Jews into their families or neighborhoods, and they are less likely to favor same-sex marriage. At the same time, the Central and Eastern Europeans are more likely than the Western Europeans to view Christianity as an important component of their national identity, and to express higher levels of religious commitment.

Within the EU, Central and Eastern Europeans generally less likely than Western Europeans to say they would accept Muslims as relatives

Here are six key findings from the analysis, based on surveys of 24 EU countries, including 13 in Western Europe and 11 in Central and Eastern Europe. The analysis stems from a new Pew Research Center report about differences in attitudes between Western and Eastern Europeans more broadly.

1Central and Eastern Europeans in the EU are less willing than Western Europeans in the EU to say they would accept Muslims or Jews as members of their family or as neighbors. In nearly all of the Central and Eastern European countries surveyed, fewer than half of adults say they would be willing to accept Muslims into their family, including 29% who say this in Romania and 32% in Bulgaria. Meanwhile, in most of the surveyed Western European countries, more than half of adults say they would accept a Muslim into their family, including 66% who say this in Finland and 74% in Spain. The same general pattern holds when Europeans are asked about accepting Jews as family members or neighbors.  Read More

Topics: Eastern Europe, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality, Religious Affiliation, Social Values, Europe, Country Image, National and Cultural Identity

Oct 26, 2018 10:01 am

Nearly one-in-five teens can’t always finish their homework because of the digital divide

Katrina Archuleta, 17, helps her sister, Amani Gonzalez, 5, with math homework at their home in Denver in January. Their family of eight has been living in a three-bedroom apartment as soaring home prices and rents have made it difficult for entry-level and low-income buyers to find larger homes. (AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Some 15% of U.S. households with school-age children do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 U.S. Census Bureau data. New survey findings from the Center also show that some teens are more likely to face digital hurdles when trying to complete their homework.

Many school-age children live in households without high-speed internetSchool-age children in lower-income households are especially likely to lack broadband access. Roughly one-third of households with children ages 6 to 17 and whose annual income falls below $30,000 a year do not have a high-speed internet connection at home, compared with just 6% of such households earning $75,000 or more a year. These broadband disparities are particularly pronounced for black and Hispanic households with school-age children – especially those with low household incomes. (The overall share of households with school-age children lacking a high-speed internet connection in 2015 is comparable to what the Center found in an analysis of 2013 Census data.)

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Topics: Teens and Technology, Teens and Youth, Education, Digital Divide, Income Inequality, Generations and Age

Oct 25, 2018 12:02 pm

6 facts about English language learners in U.S. public schools

Kindergarten students line up with their books at Gov. James B. Longley Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine. Over 70% of the school’s students are English language learners. (Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

There were nearly 5 million English language learners in U.S. public schools in fall 2015, according to the most recent available data from the National Center for Education Statistics. This represented 9.5% of U.S. public school enrollees, an increase from 8.1% in 2000.

English language learners (ELLs), a broad term that refers to students with limited English proficiency, are a diverse group from many different states and native language backgrounds. The educational experiences of ELLs also vary greatly across the country, as states and schools differ in how to identify ELL students and in how to teach them. Regardless of approach, ELLs represent a growing part of the U.S. student body.

Here are six facts about English language learners in U.S. public schools.

States in Southwest have largest shares of ELL students1California has the highest number and share of English language learners. The more than 1.3 million ELL students in California made up 21% of the state’s total public elementary and secondary school enrollment in 2015, around double the 9.5% nationwide share. English learners made up 10% or more of the student body in seven other states, many of them in the Southwest: Nevada (17%), Texas (17%), New Mexico (16%), Colorado (12%), Alaska (11%), Kansas (11%) and Washington (10%). States with the lowest percentages of English language students included Mississippi (2%), Vermont (2%) and West Virginia (1%).

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Topics: Education, Immigration, Language

Oct 24, 2018 12:00 pm

8 facts about Americans and Facebook

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms among adults in the United States. At the same time, it has attracted scrutiny in recent years because of concerns over its ability to keep users’ personal information private and its role in the 2016 presidential election. Here are eight facts about Americans and Facebook, based on Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2018:

1Around two-thirds (68%) of U.S. adults use Facebook, according to a survey conducted in January. That’s unchanged from April 2016, the last time the Center asked this question, but up from 54% of adults in August 2012.

With the exception of YouTube – the video-sharing platform used by 73% of adults – no other major social media platform comes close to Facebook in terms of usage. Around a third of U.S. adults (35%) say they use Instagram, while smaller shares say they use Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp.

2Among U.S. adults who use Facebook, around three-quarters (74%) visit the site at least once a day, according to the January survey. The share of adult users who visit Facebook at least once a day is higher than the shares who visit Snapchat (63%) and Instagram (60%) at least once a day. However, similar shares of Facebook and Snapchat users say they visit each site several times a day (51% and 49%, respectively).

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Topics: Online Communities, Social Media, Internet Activities, Technology Adoption, Social Networking

Oct 23, 2018 9:31 am

Younger Americans are better than older Americans at telling factual news statements from opinions

While some say wisdom comes with age, younger Americans are better than their elders at separating factual from opinion statements in the news, according to a new analysis from Pew Research Center.

Younger Americans are better able to distinguish between factual and opinion news statementsIn a survey conducted Feb. 22 to March 4, 2018, the Center asked U.S. adults to categorize five factual statements and five opinion statements. As a previous report revealed, about a quarter of Americans overall could accurately classify all five factual statements (26%) and about a third could classify all five opinion statements (35%).

But age matters, according to this new analysis, as younger adults were more likely than older Americans to correctly categorize all five of the factual statements, and also more likely to do so for the five opinion statements.

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Topics: Older Adults, Trust, Facts and Democracy, News Audience Trends and Attitudes, Teens and Youth, Generations and Age

Oct 22, 2018 1:02 pm

More in U.S. see drug addiction, college affordability and sexism as ‘very big’ national problems

Changing public views of 'very big' problems facing the U.S.In the nearly two years since the 2016 presidential election, Americans’ views of the seriousness of several national problems have changed, with concerns about drug addiction, college affordability, sexism and racism on the rise.

The share of U.S. adults saying drug addiction is a “very big” problem in the country has increased 12 percentage points since a survey conducted shortly before the November 2016 election, from 56% then to 68% today.

Increasing shares of Americans cite the affordability of a college education (up 11 percentage points) and sexism (also up 11 points) as “very big” problems in the country. The share who say racism is a very big problem has risen 7 points, while the share citing gun violence is up 5 points.

Drug addiction ranks near the top of the list of 18 national problems included in a new Pew Research Center survey conducted Sept. 24 to Oct. 7, along with the affordability of health care (70% say it is a very big problem) and ethics in government (67%).

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Topics: Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, Political Issue Priorities

Oct 22, 2018 7:00 am

Immigration concerns fall in Western Europe, but most see need for newcomers to integrate into society

Police officers remove migrants and refugees from their makeshift camp in Paris. (Lucas Barioulet/AFP via Getty Images)

As the surge in immigration to Europe drops back to pre-2015 levels, the fever pitch of concern has also abated across eight key countries in Western Europe, according to surveys conducted by the European Union’s Eurobarometer between 2014 and 2018. Today, a median of 23% in these countries name immigration as one of the top two problems facing their country, down from a median of almost half in November 2015.

Concern about immigration in Western Europe has declined from 2015 highsBut while anxieties have decreased dramatically across the EU as immigration flows have slowed, immigration still remains a top concern for many Western Europeans. For example, in both Denmark and Germany, more people name the issue as a problem facing their country than any other (34% and 38%, respectively). And while only a minority of people are concerned in most countries, they do tend to be vocal. Immigration issues, often raised by far-right parties, have rocked coalitions in Germany, and been front and center in recent elections in Italy and Sweden.

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Topics: Western Europe, Immigration Attitudes, Europe, Immigration, National and Cultural Identity

Oct 19, 2018 12:01 pm

5 charts on global views of China

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a summit on China-Africa cooperation in Beijing, China. (Lintao Zhang/Pool/Getty Images)

In the 40 years since China began opening its doors to more market-oriented economic policies, the country has experienced explosive growth that many refer to as nothing short of a miracle. The nation’s growing influence has been felt on every continent, and people have taken note that China continues to play an ever-larger role in world affairs. But more power brings more expectations and accountability, and in our most recent survey many people around the globe say they want an alternative to China as the world’s leading power.

1Globally, people differ in how positively or negatively they view China. Across the 25 countries polled in a recent Pew Research Center survey, a median of 45% have a favorable view of China, while 43% hold an unfavorable view. Majorities or pluralities in 12 countries give China positive marks, with favorable attitudes most prevalent in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. In the United States, 38% have a favorable opinion of China, a slight decrease from 44% in 2017, while nearly half expressed unfavorable attitudes.

Mixed enthusiasm for China across the world2Consensus that China plays a bigger role in the world todayA global median of 70% say China plays a more important role in the world than it did 10 years ago. Russia is a distant second in this assessment, with only 41% saying that country is more important than it was a decade ago. A median of only 31% believe the U.S. plays a more important role than it did a decade ago – less than half of the share who say this of China. Only 8% of those surveyed say China plays a less important role than it did a decade ago, the lowest share across the seven countries tested. In the U.S., 72% believe China is more important now than it was a decade ago, while only 31% of Americans say the same about their own country. Read More

Topics: Non-U.S. Political Leaders, China, International Governments and Institutions, Asia and the Pacific, Country Image