Oct 13, 2015 12:00 pm

Digital romance: How teen boys and girls differ

Thanks to texting and social media, teens today have many more ways to reach out to a crush than in the analog days of using the family telephone and passing notes in the hallways.

But according to a recent Pew Research Center report, some romantic traditions remain the same. The most common way for teenage boys to ask someone on a date is to ask a girl in person rather than via text message.

Girls More Likely Than Boys to Wait for Someone to Ask Them OutAnd nearly half (47%) of teen girls say they usually wait for someone to ask them out first, compared with only 6% of boys. Girls are also much less inclined than boys to ask someone out, whether in person (35% girls vs. 69% boys) or via text message (20% vs. 27%).

Overall, our report on teen romance found boys and girls have a lot in common when it comes to asking someone out by calling on the phone, messaging on a social networking site or getting one of their friends to do the asking. But there were a few gender differences worth noting.

Social media is an important venue for connecting with someone and deepening romantic relationships, but this is especially true for teen boys. Among teens with relationship experience who use social media, 65% of boys say platforms like Facebook or Instagram make them feel more connected with what’s happening in their significant other’s life, compared with 52% of girls. Boys (50%) are also more likely than girls (37%) to say social media makes them feel more emotionally connected to their romantic partner. Read More

Topics: Family and Relationships, Teens and Technology, Teens and Youth

Oct 12, 2015 12:00 pm

5 facts about Democrats

Republicans and Democrats have debates scheduled through next March as candidates on both sides seek to nail down their parties’ presidential nominations. As background, we’ve published five facts about Republicans. Here are five facts about today’s Democrats.

1More Democrats Identify as LiberalDemocrats have become more liberal in recent years. The share of Democrats who describe their political views as liberal has increased over the past 15 years. In surveys conducted this year, 41% of Democrats describe themselves as liberal, 35% say they are moderates and 21% say they’re conservative. In 2000, 43% were moderate, 27% liberal and 24% conservative.

This trend falls in line with how the nation has become more polarized at both ends of the ideological spectrum. Our polarization survey last year found that the share of Democrats and Democratic leaners who hold consistently liberal views (as well as the share of Republicans and Republican leaners who have consistently conservative attitudes) has increased over the past 2o years. Today, 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican, and 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat.  Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: 2016 Election, Political Attitudes and Values, Presidential Approval, U.S. Political Parties

Oct 8, 2015 2:30 pm

Working on Columbus Day? It depends on where you live


Fewer than half of U.S. states give their employees Columbus Day as a paid holiday.

Depending on where you live and whom you work for, Columbus Day may be a paid day off or no different from any regular Monday.

Columbus Day is one of the most inconsistently celebrated U.S. holidays. It’s one of 10 official federal holidays, which means federal workers get the day off. And because federal offices will be closed, so will banks and the bond markets that trade in U.S. government debt (though the stock markets will remain open).


Beyond that, it’s a grab bag. According to the Council of State Governments’ comprehensive “Book of the States,” only 23 states (plus the District of Columbia, American Samoa and Puerto Rico) give their workers Columbus Day as a paid holiday. Tennessee officially does so too, but curiously chooses to celebrate the occasion on a different day – the Friday after Thanksgiving. Read More

Category: Daily Number

Topics: State and Local Government

Oct 8, 2015 10:30 am

More than any other foreign language, European youths learn English

The European Union is awash with languages. There are 24 official languages in the EU and more than 60 indigenous regional or minority languages. Despite this linguistic diversity, European students study one foreign language far more than any other: English.

Roughly three-quarters (77%) of primary school students in the EU learn English as a foreign language, according to data from Eurostat. This includes all or nearly all young students in Austria, Malta, Italy, Spain and Cyprus.

Majority of Primary Students in the European Union Study English

By comparison, German and French, the next most popular foreign languages, were studied by only 3.2% and 3% of EU primary school students, respectively.

Luxembourg and Belgium, each with three official languages, have the lowest share of primary school pupils studying English as a foreign language. In both countries, students frequently study one of the official languages, typically French or German, instead of English. Read More

Topics: Education, Europe, Language

Oct 8, 2015 7:00 am

Refugee surge brings youth to an aging Europe


The ongoing surge of refugees into Europe from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other war-ravaged countries presents a striking demographic contrast: hundreds of thousands of predominantly young people trying to get into a region where the population is older than in almost any other place on earth.

FT_15.10.05_agingEuropeRegion_2_420pxEurope has been graying for decades, primarily because of longer life expectancies and low birthrates (and, in some countries, high levels of emigration by young people of child-bearing age). In 1950, according to our analysis of data from the U.N.’s Population Division, 8% of the continent’s population was 65 or older; by 1990 that share had risen to 12.7%, and this year it’s estimated to be 17.6%.

Read More

Topics: Europe, Generations and Age, Migration, Syria

Oct 7, 2015 12:30 pm

Cuban immigration to U.S. surges as relations warm

FT_15.09.30_cubans_sharpIncrease_200pxThe number of Cubans who have entered the U.S. has spiked dramatically since President Obama announced in December a renewal of ties with the island nation, a Pew Research Center analysis of government data has found. The U.S. has since opened an embassy in Havana, a move supported by a large majority of Americans, and public support is growing for ending the trade embargo with Cuba.

Cubans seeking to enter the U.S. may receive special treatment under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966. Those hoping to live in the U.S. legally need only show up at a port of entry and pass an inspection, which includes a check of criminal and immigration history in the U.S. After a year in the country, they may apply for legal permanent residence.

Overall, 27,296 Cubans entered the U.S. via ports of entry during the first nine months of the just-ended 2015 fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data obtained through a public records request. This represents a 78% increase over the same time period the previous year, when 15,341 Cubans entered. And those 2013 numbers had already increased dramatically after the Cuban government lifted travel restrictions. These totals are significantly higher than in all of fiscal 2011, when 7,759 Cubans came into the U.S.  Read More

Topics: Bilateral Relations, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Immigration Trends, Latin America, Migration

Oct 7, 2015 11:00 am

From Germany to Mexico: How America’s source of immigrants has changed over a century

Where Each State's Largest Immigrant Population Was Born

Nearly 59 million immigrants have arrived in the United States since 1965, making the nation the top destination in the world for those moving from one country to another. Mexico, which shares a nearly 2,000-mile border with the U.S., is the source of the largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States.

But today’s volume of immigrants is in some ways a return to America’s past. A century ago, the U.S. experienced another large wave of 18.2 million immigrants, hailing largely from Europe. Many Americans can trace their roots to that wave, from 1890 to 1919, when Germany dominated as the country sending the most immigrants to many of the U.S. states, although the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy were also strongly represented. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Immigration Trends

Oct 6, 2015 1:12 pm

GOP speaker hopefuls have served far less time in House than predecessors

Speakers’ Prior House ExperienceThe first wave of Republicans who set out to succeed Speaker John Boehner all had less experience serving in the House than any lawmaker who rose to speaker in modern times. But the candidates’ relatively short tenures put them in the company of many of their fellow House Republicans today, more than half of whom were elected in 2010 or later.

The initial field of GOP candidates for speaker included Reps. Kevin McCarthy of California, who is in his fifth term; Jason Chaffetz of Utah, in his fourth term; and Daniel Webster of Florida, now in his third. (Update: McCarthy announced Thursday he was dropping out of the race.)

Long years of service have been the norm for past speakers, most of whom had accumulated twice as much time in the House as today’s candidates before wielding the gavel. Boehner was not elected speaker until his 11th term in the House, nor was his immediate predecessor, Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Previous speakers with the most prior House experience include John McCormack (D-Mass.), who was the last speaker without a high school degree, with 18 terms; the recently deceased Jim Wright (D-Texas) with 17 terms; and Joe Cannon (R-Ill.), the powerful 19th-century statesman with the ubiquitous cigar, with 15 terms.

The shorter tenures of today’s Republican class continue a congressional experience gap between GOP lawmakers and Democrats, which has persisted since the 1960s and widened after the 2010 elections.  Read More

Topics: Congress, Election News, Elections and Campaigns

Oct 6, 2015 6:45 am

How abortion is regulated around the world

The regulation of abortion may vary widely from country to country, but nearly all nations – 96% – allow women to terminate their pregnancies in order to save their lives, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of 196 countries based on 2013 United Nations data. Indeed, only six countries do not allow women to receive abortions under any circumstances.

About a quarter of the countries in the analysis (50 countries, or 26%) only allow abortions to save the life of the mother. An additional 82 nations (42%) allow abortions when the mother’s life is at risk as well as for at least one other specific reason, such as to preserve a woman’s physical or mental health, in cases of rape or incest, because of fetal impairment or for social or economic reasons. And three-in-ten countries (58) allow abortions on request or for any reason, although many of these states do not allow women to terminate their pregnancies after a certain point (e.g., 20 weeks).

Explore an interactive map of worldwide abortion policies

The six countries that do not allow abortions under any circumstances are the Latin American nations of Chile, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua as well as Vatican City (represented in the U.N. by the Holy See) and Malta, both of which are in Europe.

The Vatican and Malta are exceptions to the norm in Europe, where about three-quarters of countries allow abortions for any reason (73%). France, Germany, Greece and Russia are among the 32 European nations where this is the case. Read More

Topics: Abortion, Foreign Affairs and Policy

Oct 5, 2015 5:00 pm

California legalizes assisted suicide amid growing support for such laws

In a huge victory for the right-to-die movement, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill that legalizes doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients in the nation’s most populous state. Brown’s action ends a yearlong saga prompted in part by the case of the late Brittany Maynard.

Maynard was a California native suffering from terminal brain cancer who made national headlines last year when she moved to Oregon (the first U.S. state to legally allow physician-assisted suicide) in order to be able to end her life. Before her death at age 29 on Nov. 1, 2014, she lobbied for California and other states to legalize doctor-assisted suicide, and her family has continued to advocate for the cause.

The California legislation initially stalled amid opposition from the Catholic Church and other opponents. However, it was reintroduced and passed on Sept. 11 in a special legislative session.

Increasing Support for Doctor-Assisted SuicideThe action in California comes at a time when Americans’ opinions on assisted suicide are changing dramatically, according to a Gallup survey conducted in May of this year. Roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) say doctors should be allowed by law to assist patients who are terminally ill and living in severe pain to commit suicide. That’s an increase of 10 percentage points in just one year, and 17 points over two years.

More Americans View Assisted Suicide as Morally AcceptableThe rise in support for legal assisted suicide has been especially dramatic among younger adults, like Maynard. Indeed, about eight-in-ten Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 (81%) favor such laws, a rise from 62% in a 2014 Gallup survey.

Gallup also has found that an increasing share of Americans say doctor-assisted suicide, in general, is morally acceptable. In 2015, 56% say it is morally OK, up from 45% two years prior.

Pew Research Center most recently asked Americans about their views on end-of-life medical issues – including whether a person has a moral right to end his or her own life in certain circumstances – in 2013. Most Americans said this moral right does exist in cases where a person has a disease that is incurable (56%) or when the person is suffering great pain and has no hope of improvement (62%); both figures have increased in recent decades. Read More

Topics: Church-State Law, Death and Dying, Health, Health Care, Religion and Government, Religion and Society, Religion and U.S. Politics