Sep 16, 2014 5:50 pm

Most of the world supports globalization in theory, but many question it in practice

Around the World, Public Has Mixed Views on Trade and InvestmentPeople across the globe are of two minds about globalization: in principle, most believe it’s good for their country; in practice many – especially those in advanced economies – are not so sure it’s good for them personally. This skepticism, especially among Americans, Japanese and some Europeans, poses serious domestic political challenges for the transatlantic and the transpacific trade deals now under negotiation, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of publics in 44 countries conducted this spring.

The good news for advocates of globalization is that people across a diverse range of advanced, emerging and developing economies overwhelmingly (a median of 81%) say that international trade and global business ties are good for their country. People also generally voice the opinion (a median of 74%) that it is beneficial for their economy when foreign companies build new factories in their country. The survey included 48,643 respondents from March 17 to June 5, 2014. Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Globalization and Trade, World Economies

Sep 16, 2014 3:25 pm

Public is sharply divided in views of Americans in poverty

While the nation’s poverty rate has dipped for the first time since 2006, the actual number of poor people (45.3 million) was not statistically different from the previous year, according to the figures released today by the Census Bureau. Poverty is an issue that deeply divides the American public when it comes to how much of a role government should play in alleviating the problems of the poor.

 Public is sharply divided in views of Americans in poverty When asked which view comes closer to their own, roughly half of the public (51%) says the “government today can’t afford to do much more to help the needy,” while 43% say “the government should do more to help needy Americans, even if it means going deeper into debt,” according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year.

There are significant divisions on this question by income. Among those with annual family incomes of $50,000 or higher, a majority (59%) say the government can’t do more to help the needy, while 36% say the government should do more. There is no statistical difference on this measure between the highest income Americans (those making at least $150,000 a year) and those who earn between $50,000 and $74,999.

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Topics: Economics and Personal Finances, Population Trends, Poverty

Sep 16, 2014 9:00 am

10 big questions the Pew Research Center has tackled in the past decade

Ten years ago, the Pew Research Center was established by The Pew Charitable Trusts to bring together several of Pew’s information initiatives. The new organization had a unique mission to offer nonpartisan, non-advocacy information to decision-makers and the public. The Center has amassed a large body of work over the past decade. For our tenth anniversary, here’s a look back at some of our most important findings.

1What does the American political landscape look like? Our long-standing work on political attitudes has tracked a growing ideological division between Republicans and Democrats. This year, our largest political survey ever revealed the two parties are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan animosity is greater – than at any point in the last two decades. This division and rancor is strongest among those who are the most engaged in the political process. And these differences influence our daily lives, including where we want to live, the kinds of neighbors we want to have and whom we would welcome into our families.

Our 2014 political typology survey divided the American public up into cohesive ideological groups based on their attitudes and political values. Curious about where you belong? Take our quiz to find out. Read More

Sep 16, 2014 7:00 am

11 facts for National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month began this week to celebrate Latinos and their culture and history. Started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, it was expanded to a month by President Ronald Reagan and enacted into law in 1988. Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica celebrated their independence days Monday followed by Mexico today and Chile on Thursday.

Here are 11 facts that look at Latinos in the U.S. by age, geography and origin groups.

1 The U.S. Hispanic population now stands at over 54.1 million, making them the nation’s second-largest racial or ethnic group. Today Hispanics make up 17% of the U.S. population, up from 5% in 1970.

2 People of Mexican origin account for two-thirds (34 million) of the nation’s Latinos. Those of Puerto Rican origin are the next largest group at 4.9 million (with another 3.5 million on the island of Puerto Rico). There are five other Hispanic origin groups with more than 1 million people each: Cubans, Salvadorans, Dominicans, Guatemalans and Colombians.

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Identity, Hispanic/Latino Vote

Sep 15, 2014 7:00 am

In its peaceful nature and uncertain outcome, Scotland’s independence vote stands out

indepedenceThis week’s referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom appears to be a lot closer than many observers had expected. That, and the fact that the Sept. 18 vote is taking place in a context free of war, chaos or political violence, makes it stand out from most of the three dozen or so other officially sanctioned independence referendums in the post-World War II era.

The spectacle of the hotly contested Scottish referendum made us wonder how it compared with other similar votes over the years. After consulting several sources — from contemporary news sources to the Library of Congress’ “Country Studies” series of backgrounders –one thing we learned was that there haven’t been all that many referendums comparable to the Scottish vote. (Our analysis extended only to officially recognized independence referendums among the 193 United Nations members or their former colonial possessions; unofficial votes and votes in non-member states and territories of disputed sovereignty weren’t examined.)

During the great era of decolonization that followed the end of the war, only a handful of nations achieved independence via a popular vote. The west African nation of Guinea represents one such instance: In 1958, France held referendums in its colonies on whether to approve the new Fifth Republic constitution, which also established a French Community to replace the decaying empire. Guinea was the only territory where voters rejected the constitution, 95.2% to 4.8%, in favor of immediate independence. (The French Community, however, didn’t last very long, with most of its members withdrawing in the early 1960s.) Bahrain became independent in 1971 following not a referendum, but a United Nations survey that concluded “the overwhelming majority” of Bahrainis favored it.

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Topics: World Elections

Sep 10, 2014 7:00 am

Indians among most likely in the world to see extremist groups as ‘major threat’

Islamic Extremists As Threat to CountryAlthough India is home to the world’s second-largest Muslim population, al-Qaeda has so far had only a limited presence in the country. But last week, India’s intelligence agencies reportedly were put on high alert after the terrorist group’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a video announcing the establishment of a new al-Qaeda branch on the Indian subcontinent and warning of additional jihadist activity in the region.

Al-Zawahiri also warned that al-Qaeda will be ramping up its efforts to recruit and train Indian Muslims to fight for the group. Al-Qaeda may hope to exploit the sometimes tense relationship between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority, which makes up 14% of the country’s population of 1.2 billion, according to a 2010 Pew Research Center estimate. In his video, al-Zawahiri specifically addresses Muslims residing in the Indian state of Gujarat, which in 2002 was the site of the worst religious riots since the partition of the subcontinent.

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Topics: Hindus and Hinduism, Muslims and Islam, Religious Extremism, Terrorism

Sep 9, 2014 10:00 am

The countries most optimistic and pessimistic about their economic future

Six years after the onset of the Great Recession, amid an uneven global economic recovery, people around the world remain wary about their economic prospects. A median of 46% across 44 countries surveyed in spring 2014 by the Pew Research Center expect their economy to improve. An equal proportion say conditions will remain the same (26%) or worsen (20%).

The public is upbeat in a handful of nations and particularly pessimistic in a number of others. These expectations are generally in line with economists’ predictions, but not always.  Read More

Topics: World Economies

Sep 9, 2014 7:00 am

The divide over ordaining women

The recent election of the Rev. Amy Butler as senior pastor of New York City’s influential and historic Riverside Church, as well as the installation of a number of other women at high-profile American congregations, has brought new attention to the theological divide among religious groups concerning the ordination of women.

where women can lead churches, ministriesWhile many major religious  denominations in the United States now allow women to pastor churches and synagogues, only 11% of American congregations were led by women in 2012, according to press reports of an upcoming National Congregations Study survey. That figure hasn’t changed since 1998. Many of the nation’s largest denominations, including Roman Catholics, Southern Baptists, Mormons (Latter-day Saints), and the Orthodox Church in America, do not ordain women or allow them to lead congregations.

Other religious groups have taken small steps in the direction of female ordination. For instance, while there currently are no women in the U.S. serving as Orthodox Jewish rabbis, a number of women recently were ordained by one Orthodox seminary as maharats, or female leaders of Jewish law, spirituality and Torah – but they will not be given the title of rabbi.  Read More

Topics: Religion and Society

Sep 8, 2014 4:16 pm

Latino vote is small in nearly all states with hot Senate races

Latino Vote, 2014 MidtermsPresident Obama has delayed any executive action on immigration policy until after this year’s midterm elections. The president noted that part of the reason for this decision was to “make sure we get it right.” Meanwhile several analysts have said that any executive action might energize conservatives and jeopardize the Senate’s Democratic majority given the number of Democrats at risk in toss-up states, most of which have few Latino voters.

Last June, the president said that he was going to do what he could before the end of the summer with his executive powers to fix the nation’s immigration system since Congress had failed to pass any immigration reform. Among the many possible actions the president has been considering is deportation relief for some of the nation’s 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants, something which Latinos said was a greater priority than creating a pathway to citizenship, according to a Pew Research Center poll of Latinos last fall.

Latinos make up 5% or less of eligible voters (U.S. citizens ages 18 and older) in eight of the nine states with toss-up Senate races (as indicated by Real Clear Politics, FiveThirtyEight and CNN). The one exception is Colorado, where Latinos are about 14% of eligible voters.  Read More

Topics: 2014 Election, Hispanic/Latino Vote

Sep 8, 2014 12:34 pm

Who makes minimum wage?

federal minimum wage over timeGiven the continuing campaigns by unions, workers, politicians and others to raise the federal minimum wage, it bears asking: Just who are minimum-wage workers, anyway?

Perhaps surprisingly, not very many people earn minimum wage, and they make up a smaller share of the workforce than they used to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year 1.532 million hourly workers earned the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour; nearly 1.8 million more earned less than that because they fell under one of several exemptions (tipped employees, full-time students, certain disabled workers and others), for a total of 3.3 million hourly workers at or below the federal minimum. Read More

Topics: Economics and Personal Finances, National Economy