May 3, 2018 3:01 pm

The number of refugees admitted to the U.S. has fallen, especially among Muslims

Syrian refugee Baraa Haj Khalaf receives a kiss from her mother, Fattoum Haj Khalaf, in February 2017 shortly after the family had arrived at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Her daughter Sham is held by her sister Aya at right. (Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images)
Syrian refugee Baraa Haj Khalaf receives a kiss from her mother, Fattoum Haj Khalaf, in February 2017 shortly after the family had arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Her daughter Sham is held by her sister Aya at right. (Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of Muslim refugees admitted to the United States in the first half of fiscal 2018 has dropped from the previous year more than any other religious group, falling to nearly 1,800 compared with the roughly 22,900 admitted in all of fiscal 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. The low point in Muslim admissions was set in the year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The reduction in Muslim refugee admissions is part of an overall slowdown in admissions. About 10,500 refugees, including about 6,700 Christians, entered the U.S. from Oct. 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018 – far behind the 39,100 admissions at this point in fiscal 2017 (including 18,500 Muslims and 16,900 Christians). As a result of these changes, Christians account for a far larger share of refugees admitted than Muslims the first half of fiscal 2018 (63% vs. 17%). By comparison, in full fiscal 2017 Christians (47%) and Muslims (43%) were more evenly split, and in fiscal 2016 the Muslim share (46%) slightly exceeded the Christian share (44%).

The number of refugees who enter the U.S. in fiscal 2018 is expected to fall below the previous year’s total (53,700) because President Donald Trump’s administration capped admissions at 45,000 this year, the lowest since Congress created the current refugee program in 1980 for those fleeing persecution in their home countries. The slower pace of U.S. refugee admissions in fiscal 2018 is also due to the fact that the current administration restricted admissions for several months as part of a review that resulted in tougher security screening measures. Refugee admissions fully resumed in late January 2018.

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Muslims and Islam, Global Migration and Demography, Religious Affiliation, Migration, Immigration

May 3, 2018 7:00 am

Declining share of Americans would find it very hard to give up TV

(Maskot)
(Maskot)

An estimated 96.5% of U.S. households have a television. Yet only about a third of Americans say it would be “very hard” to give up their TV – substantially lower than the share of U.S. adults who say the same thing about their cellphone or the internet, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January.

Today, just 31% of Americans say it would be very hard to give up their TV, down 13 percentage points from a 2006 survey by the Center. In total, just over half of U.S. adults (55%) say their TV would be at least somewhat hard to give up.

In contrast, roughly half (52%) of cellphone owners say it would be very hard to give up their cellphone or smartphone, and a similar share of internet users (50%) say it would be very hard to give up the internet. Each represents a notable increase compared with 2006. In total, 74% of cellphone owners say it would be at least somewhat hard to give up their mobile device, and 73% of online adults say the same about the internet in general.

Although a growing share of Americans use various social media platforms, just 14% of these users say it would be very hard to give up social media entirely. That figure is largely unchanged from a survey conducted in 2014. At the same time, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be at least somewhat hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points over that time (from 28% in 2014 to 40% today).

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Topics: Technology Adoption, Generations and Age

May 2, 2018 11:32 am

America’s incarceration rate is at a two-decade low

The U.S. incarceration rate fell in 2016 to its lowest level in 20 years, according to new data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the statistical arm of the Department of Justice. Despite the decline, the United States incarcerates a larger share of its population than any other country.

At the end of 2016, there were about 2.2 million people behind bars in the U.S., including 1.5 million under the jurisdiction of federal and state prisons and roughly 741,000 in the custody of locally run jails. That amounts to a nationwide incarceration rate of 860 prison or jail inmates for every 100,000 adults ages 18 and older.

The nation’s incarceration rate peaked at 1,000 inmates per 100,000 adults during the three-year period between 2006 and 2008. It has declined every year since then and is now at its lowest point since 1996, when there were 830 inmates per 100,000 adults.

The number of inmates in the U.S. has also gone down in recent years, though not as sharply as the incarceration rate (which takes population change into account). The estimated 2,162,400 inmates who were in prison or jail at the end of 2016 were the fewest since 2004, when there were 2,136,600 inmates. The prison and jail population peaked in 2008 at 2,310,300.

A variety of factors help explain why U.S. incarceration trends have been on a downward trajectory. Crime rates have declined sharply in recent decades despite an uptick in the violent crime rate between 2014 and 2016, according to FBI data. As crime has declined, so have arrests: The nationwide arrest rate has fallen steadily in recent years and is well below where it was in the 1990s, according to BJS.

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Topics: Criminal Justice

May 2, 2018 7:00 am

Millennials stand out for their technology use, but older generations also embrace digital life

Millennials have often led older Americans in their adoption and use of technology, and this largely holds true today. But there has also been significant growth in tech adoption in recent years among older generations – particularly Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

More than nine-in-ten Millennials (92%) own smartphones, compared with 85% of Gen Xers (those who turn ages 38 to 53 this year), 67% of Baby Boomers (ages 54 to 72) and 30% of the Silent Generation (ages 73 to 90), according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center data. Similarly, the vast majority of Millennials (85%) say they use social media. For instance, significantly larger shares of Millennials have adopted relatively new platforms such as Instagram (52%) and Snapchat (47%) than older generations have.

This analysis reflects the Center’s recent decision to establish 1996 as the final birth year of Millennials, marking that generation as those who turn ages 22 to 37 this year. (Those born in 1997 or later are post-Millennials.)

Unlike with smartphones and social media, Gen Xers have outpaced Millennials in tablet ownership for several years. The gap between them now stands at 10 percentage points, as 64% of Gen Xers and 54% of Millennials say they own tablets. A majority of Gen Xers also say they have broadband service at home. Some 73% of Gen Xers have home broadband, compared with 66% of Boomers and 34% of Silents.

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Topics: Baby Boomers, Millennials, Social Media, Mobile, Technology Adoption, Generations and Age

May 1, 2018 11:32 am

Few Americans see nation’s political debate as ‘respectful’

Most Americans have negative views of the tone of political debate in their country. And a sizable majority says personal insults are “never fair game” in politics.

The public’s views of the quality of the nation’s political discourse – or the lack of it – come from a new survey of opinions about democracy in the United States.

As is the case with a number of ideals and principles related to democracy in the U.S., a majority of Americans (61%) say it is very important that the tone of debate among political leaders is respectful.

Yet as with most other ideals, few say this is actually happening. Just 25% say the following statement – “The tone of debate among political leaders is respectful” – describes the country very (6%) or somewhat well (19%). Of the 16 aspects of the political system and democracy asked about in the survey, this rating is among the lowest.

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Topics: Trust, Facts and Democracy, U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values

May 1, 2018 7:00 am

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. secondary schools have sworn officers on site – but not all the time

(Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
(Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Nearly two-thirds of public secondary schools in the United States (65%) had sworn law enforcement officers on site in the 2015-16 school year, up from 58% a decade earlier. Yet the presence of sworn officers varied considerably by factors including school size and the specific times the officers were present, according to a March report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics.

The report comes amid heightened attention to school security following the February mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The shooting, which left 17 people dead, has led to protests and school walkouts around the country. It has also sparked discussions about policy responses to prevent school shootings, including proposals to let teachers carry firearms.

While the presence of sworn officers at secondary schools has become more common over the past decade, many schools report that these officers were only present at specific times rather than throughout the entire school day, according to the report (data are for the 2015-16 school year, the most recent available). Secondary schools include middle and high schools, as well as combined schools.

Less than half (46%) of secondary schools with sworn law enforcement officers present at least once a week had officers present for all instructional hours every day; larger shares of schools said officers were present when students were arriving or leaving (88%) or at selected school activities (87%), such as science fairs or athletic events.

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Topics: Education

Apr 30, 2018 7:00 am

Women scarce at top of U.S. business – and in the jobs that lead there

Despite the advances women have made in the workplace, they still account for a small share of top leadership jobs. That’s true in the fields of politics and government, academia, the nonprofit sector – and particularly business.

Women held only about 10% of the top executive positions (defined as chief executive officers, chief financial officers and the next three highest paid executives) at U.S. companies in 2016-17, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of federal securities filings by all companies in the benchmark Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500 stock index. And at the very top of the corporate ladder, just 5.1% of chief executives of S&P 1500 companies were women.

Nor do many women hold executive positions just below the CEO in the corporate hierarchy in terms of pay and position. Only 651 (11.5%) of the nearly 5,700 executives in this category, which includes such positions as chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO), were women. Although this group in general constitutes a significant pool of potential future CEO candidates, the women officers we identified tended to be in positions such as finance or legal that, previous research suggests, are less likely to lead to the CEO’s chair than other, more operations-focused roles.

Within the 11 broad economic sectors into which the 1500 companies are divided, in no case did women make up even a fifth of CEOs or non-CEO top executives. Nor do those levels appear likely to rise much anytime soon. A 2017 survey of corporate human-resource heads at large U.S. companies found that women made up only 10% of the short-term CEO candidate pool (i.e., people who’d be considered for promotion to CEO within the next three years). Looking out further, three to five years in the future, raised the share of women in the CEO candidate pool only to 15%.

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Topics: Gender, Business and Labor, Work and Employment

Apr 27, 2018 7:00 am

About one-third of U.S. children are living with an unmarried parent

Erin Meredith of Austin, Texas, a single mother of two, paints with her daughter. The share of U.S. children living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled since 1968. (Ilana Panich-Linsman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Erin Meredith of Austin, Texas, a single mother of two, paints with her daughter. The share of U.S. children living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled since 1968. (Ilana Panich-Linsman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The share of U.S. children living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled since 1968, jumping from 13% to 32% in 2017. That trend has been accompanied by a drop in the share of children living with two married parents, down from 85% in 1968 to 65%. Some 3% of children are not living with any parents, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Most children in unmarried parent households are living with a solo mother, but a growing share are living with cohabiting parents. Overall, about one-in-five children (21%) are living with a solo mother, up from 12% in 1968. Some 7% are living with cohabiting parents, about double the share that were doing so in 1997 (the first year for which census data on cohabitation are available). The share of children living with a solo father has ticked up, and stands at 4%, up from 1% in 1968. (In this analysis, children are classified based on the parent with whom they live most of the time. Children who split their time equally between households are classified based on which household they were in at the time of the data collection.)

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Topics: Teens and Youth, Parenthood, Household and Family Structure

Apr 26, 2018 3:31 pm

Key findings on Americans’ views of the U.S. political system and democracy

Volunteers carry an American flag down Constitution Avenue during the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Volunteers carry an American flag down Constitution Avenue during the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The strength and stability of democracy has become a subject of intense debate in the United States and around the world. But how do Americans feel about their own democracy? As part of a year-long effort to study “Facts, Trust and Democracy” Pew Research Center has conducted a major survey of public views of the U.S. political system and American democracy. The survey finds that while Americans are in broad agreement on important ideals relating to democracy in the U.S., they think the nation is falling short in realizing many of these ideals.

Here are some of the survey’s other major findings:

1Democracy seen as working well, but most want “significant” changes. About six-in-ten Americans (58%) say democracy is working well in the U.S., though just 18% say it is working very well. At the same time, a majority supports making sweeping changes to the political system: 61% say “significant changes” are needed in the fundamental “design and structure” of the U.S. government to make it work in current times.

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Topics: Trust, Facts and Democracy, Democracy, Political Attitudes and Values

Apr 26, 2018 11:03 am

6 charts on how Germans and Americans view one another

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with U.S. President Donald Trump in Taormina, Italy, on May 2017. (Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel with U.S. President Donald Trump in Taormina, Italy, in May 2017. (Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in Washington this week to meet with President Donald Trump at a moment of tension in the transatlantic alliance. Discussions between the two leaders will likely feature some significant disagreements over issues such as the Iran nuclear deal, trade, climate change and military spending.

The German and American publics also have some different views about the current state of affairs between their two countries. Below are six charts on how Germans and Americans see one another and how German attitudes toward the United States have shifted in the Trump era.

1Americans think U.S.-German relations are in good shape, but Germans disagree. Roughly two-thirds of Americans say relations are good, compared with just 42% of Germans, according to polling conducted by Pew Research Center in the U.S. and by the Körber-Stiftung in Germany.

2German attitudes toward the U.S. have turned sharply negative in the Trump era. In Germany, attitudes toward the U.S. have followed a clear pattern over the past decade and a half. During the course of President George W. Bush’s two terms in office, confidence in his leadership and overall ratings of the U.S. declined among Germans amid strong opposition to key elements of Bush’s foreign policy. President Barack Obama, in contrast, was extremely well-regarded in Germany (although his ratings did decline somewhat following the National Security Agency eavesdropping scandal), and his presidency coincided with a rebound in America’s overall image. However, as our 2017 Global Attitudes Survey found, German views toward the U.S. have dropped once again since Trump’s election. Only 11% of Germans expressed confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs in 2017, down from 86% for Obama in 2016. And just 35% said in 2017 that they had a favorable opinion of the U.S., compared with 57% the year before.

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Topics: Non-U.S. Political Leaders, Global Balance of Power, International Governments and Institutions, Europe, North America, Donald Trump