Jan 3, 2018 1:57 pm

New estimates show U.S. Muslim population continues to grow

Muslims at a 2017 prayer service celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Muslims at a 2017 prayer service celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Recent political debates over Muslim immigration and related issues have prompted many people to ask how many Muslims actually live in the United States. But coming up with an answer is not easy, in part because the U.S. Census Bureau does not ask questions about religion, meaning there is no official government count of the U.S. Muslim population.

Still, based on our own survey and demographic research, as well as outside sources, Pew Research Center estimates that there were about 3.45 million Muslims of all ages living in the U.S. in 2017, and that Muslims made up about 1.1% of the total U.S. population.

Muslims in the U.S. are not as numerous as the number of Americans who identify as Jewish by religion, according to our estimate. At the same time, our projections suggest that the U.S. Muslim population will grow much faster than the country’s Jewish population. By 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the nation’s second-largest religious group after Christians. And by 2050, the U.S. Muslim population is projected to reach 8.1 million, or 2.1% of the nation’s total population — nearly twice the share of today. Read More

Topics: Muslims and Islam, Religious Affiliation, Muslim Americans

Jan 2, 2018 2:00 pm

Meditation is common across many religious groups in the U.S.

(Aleksander Rubtsov/Getty Images)
(Aleksander Rubtsov/Getty Images)

In popular culture, meditation often is associated with Eastern spirituality and its secular offshoots, such as mindfulness. But substantial shares of Americans of nearly all religious groups – as well as those who have no religious affiliation at all – say they meditate at least once a week.

Americans tend to say they meditate regularly (40% do so at least weekly) or rarely, if at all (45% seldom or never do). There’s not much middle ground – only 8% say they meditate once or twice a month and only 4% say they do so several times a year. But these figures vary widely among different U.S. religious groups.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many Buddhists and substantial numbers of Hindus say they meditate regularly, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. Indeed, two-thirds of Buddhists and one-third of Hindus in the survey say they meditate at least once a week. (An earlier Pew Research Center survey of Asian Americans, which was conducted in several Asian languages and included a different question about meditation, produced a much smaller estimate of the share of Buddhists who meditate regularly.)

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Topics: Religious Beliefs and Practices

Jan 2, 2018 7:02 am

‘Particularly good days’ are common in Africa, Latin America and the U.S.

If you live in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America or the United States, you are more likely than people in other regions of the world to say you’re having a particularly good day.

For the past several years, Pew Research Center’s annual Global Attitudes Survey has started with the following question: “How would you describe your day today – has it been a typical day, a particularly good day or a particularly bad day?” In 2017, we asked this question of nearly 42,000 people in 38 countries around the globe.

Although most people worldwide described their day as typical (median of 62%) and relatively few described it as particularly good (median of 30%), people in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America were more likely to view their day positively. Roughly half of Africans (median of 49%) and Latin Americans (48%) surveyed said their day was particularly good. Other regions – especially Europe (73%) – overwhelmingly described their day as typical; only 22% of Europeans said their day was good. Read More

Topics: Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Life Satisfaction, Lifestyle

Dec 28, 2017 11:30 am

Key trends shaping technology in 2017

In the past year, Pew Research Center has explored a range of tech-related topics in the news – from online harassment to fake news to net neutrality.  Here are some key findings from our research on these and other technology issues.

Online harassment

Lawmakers, advocates and social media companies have been looking into ways to curtail online harassment in the wake of high-profile cases concerning cyberbullying and online threats. A January 2017 survey found that online harassment is a fairly common feature of online life: 41% of Americans said they have experienced some form of it, and among those ages 18 to 29, the share was 67%.

A majority of the public – 79% – said online platforms have a responsibility to step in when harassing behavior takes place on their sites. Just 15% said these services should not be responsible for the abusive content users post or share on their sites. Read More

Topics: Online Communities, Social Media, Internet Activities, Emerging Technology Impacts, Technology Adoption, Future of the Internet, Politics Online

Dec 28, 2017 6:58 am

10 things we learned about gender issues in the U.S. in 2017

Allegations about sexual misconduct by prominent men in politics, entertainment, media and other industries have reverberated across the United States in recent months, drawing attention to issues of gender equality in the workplace and in broader American society. As 2017 comes to a close, here are 10 key findings about gender issues that are in the news today, drawn from Pew Research Center surveys conducted over the course of the year.

1Women and men in both political parties believe recent sexual harassment allegations primarily reflect widespread societal problems. Two-thirds of Americans  overall (66%) attribute the allegations mainly to widespread problems in society, while just 28% of adults attribute them mainly to incidents of individual misconduct, according to a survey conducted in November and December. While majorities of men and women and Democrats and Republicans see the allegations as reflective of societal problems, women are more likely than men to hold this view (71% vs. 60%). Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are also somewhat more likely to say this than Republicans and Republican leaners (70% vs. 61%).

2About one-in-five employed women in the U.S. (22%) say they have been sexually harassed at work. In a survey conducted in July and August – before the spate of recent misconduct allegations and the rapid spread of the #metoo social media campaign – 22% of employed women said they have experienced sexual harassment on the job, compared with 7% of employed men. Some more recent surveys by other organizations (using somewhat different question wording) have placed the figure higher: In an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted Nov. 13 to 15, for example, 35% of women said they have personally experienced sexual harassment or abuse from someone in the workplace.  Read More

Topics: Gender, Family and Relationships

Dec 26, 2017 12:05 pm

17 striking findings from 2017

Pew Research Center studies a wide array of topics both in the U.S. and around the world, and every year we are struck by particular findings. Sometimes they mark a new milestone in public opinion; other times a sudden about-face. From an increase in Americans living without a spouse or partner to the impact of Donald Trump’s presidency, here are 17 findings that stood out to us in 2017:

1 Partisan divides dwarf demographic differences on key political values. The average gap between the views of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents across 10 political values has increased from 15 percentage points in 1994 to 36 points today. Two decades ago, the average partisan differences on these items were only slightly wider than differences by religious attendance or educational attainment, and about as wide as differences across racial lines. Today, the partisan gaps far exceed differences across other key demographics.

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Dec 19, 2017 2:02 pm

Far more Americans say there are strong conflicts between partisans than between other groups in society

Americans are far more likely to say there are strong conflicts between Democrats and Republicans in U.S. society today than to say the same thing about blacks and whites, the rich and the poor, and other social groups.

An overwhelming majority (86%) of Americans say conflicts between Democrats and Republicans are either strong or very strong, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. By comparison, 65% of Americans see strong or very strong conflicts between blacks and whites, and 60% see them between the rich and the poor.

The share of Americans who say there are very strong conflicts between Democrats and Republicans (64%) is more than twice as large as the share who see very strong conflicts between blacks and whites (27%), and between the rich and the poor (29%).

Americans are considerably less likely to see strong conflicts between two other sets of people: those who live in cities and those who live in rural areas, and those who are young and those who are older. Among U.S. adults, 37% see strong or very strong conflicts between people in cities and people in rural areas; a similar share (35%) see strong or very strong conflicts between young and older people. Most Americans either don’t see conflicts between these two groups of people or say the conflicts are not very strong.

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Topics: Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties

Dec 19, 2017 9:00 am

8% of Americans say they own a drone, while more than half have seen one in operation

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Drones are catching on as consumer goods. As of mid-2017, 8% of Americans say they own a drone and 59% say they have seen one in action, according to a Pew Research Center survey. But while drones – that is, aircraft without on-board human pilots – are more prevalent than they were a few years ago, many have reservations about where and under what circumstances their use should be allowed.

The survey shows modest differences in rates of ownership by gender and age. Slightly more men (11%) than women (6%) say they own a drone, as do more people ages 18 to 49 (12%) compared with those 50 and older (4%).

Americans vary in how they react to the sight of a drone nearby and what rules they think should be applied to them.

Asked how they would feel if they saw a drone flying close to where they live, relatively large shares of Americans say they would be curious (58%) or interested (45%). At the same time, around one-in-four (26%) say they would be nervous, and around one-in-ten say this would make them feel angry (12%) or scared (11%).

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Topics: Emerging Technology Impacts, Science and Innovation, Technology Adoption

Dec 19, 2017 6:59 am

Most Americans see value in steering children toward toys, activities associated with opposite gender

FGorgun/Getty Images
(FGorgun/Getty Images)

Parents navigating the toy aisle this holiday season may notice that some retailers and manufacturers have moved away from marketing toys specifically toward boys or girls. While this recent trend has drawn some criticism, most Americans say it’s good for parents of young boys and girls to encourage their children to play with toys and participate in activities that are typically associated with the opposite gender.

About three-quarters of the public (76%) says it is a somewhat or very good thing for parents to steer girls toward boy-oriented toys and activities, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in August and September. A smaller share, but still a majority (64%), says parents should encourage boys to play with toys and participate in activities usually associated with girls. Across genders, generations and political groups, more say girls should be encouraged to play with toys and participate in activities that break with gender norms than say the same about boys, and this is particularly the case among men, older adults and Republicans.

Solid majorities of women say it’s a good thing for parents to encourage girls (80%) and boys (71%) to play with toys or participate in activities that are typically associated with the other gender. Among men, however, there is a 16-percentage-point gap between those who say this is a good thing when raising girls (72%) and those who say the same about raising boys (56%).

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Topics: Gender, Social Values, Lifestyle

Dec 18, 2017 9:30 am

5 facts about Christmas in America

Christmas tree ornaments

Wherever Americans stand on holiday-time debates on issues ranging from what’s depicted on Starbucks cups to public displays of religious symbols, it’s hard to disagree that Christmas is still a big part of many people’s lives.

Just in time for the holidays, here are five facts about Christmas in America and how people celebrate it:

1 Nine-in-ten Americans (90%) — and 95% of Christians — say they celebrate Christmas, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. While these figures have generally held steady in recent years,  the role of religion in Christmas celebrations appears to be declining. Today, 46% of Americans say they celebrate Christmas as primarily a religious (rather than cultural) holiday, down from 51% who said this in 2013, with Millennials less likely than other adults to say they celebrate Christmas in a religious way. A majority of U.S. adults (56%) also say religious aspects of Christmas are emphasized less in American society today than in the past, though relatively few are bothered by this trend.

2 When they go to the store, which greeting do Americans prefer: “merry Christmas” or “happy holidays”? For some, this can be a sensitive question, but an increasing number of Americans do not seem to have strong feelings either way. About half of Americans (52%) now say it doesn’t matter how stores greet their customers over the holidays, up from 46% in 2012. About a third (32%) choose “merry Christmas” – down considerably from the 42% who said this five years ago. Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to say they prefer “merry Christmas.”

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Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices