Jan 26, 2018 11:30 am

The share of Americans who leave Islam is offset by those who become Muslim

Like Americans in many other religious groups, a substantial share of adults who were raised Muslim no longer identify as members of the faith. But, unlike some other faiths, Islam gains about as many converts as it loses.

About a quarter of adults who were raised Muslim (23%) no longer identify as members of the faith, roughly on par with the share of Americans who were raised Christian and no longer identify with Christianity (22%), according to a new analysis of the 2014 Religious Landscape Study. But while the share of American Muslim adults who are converts to Islam also is about one-quarter (23%), a much smaller share of current Christians (6%) are converts. In other words, Christianity as a whole loses more people than it gains from religious switching (conversions in both directions) in the U.S., while the net effect on Islam in America is a wash.

A 2017 Pew Research Center survey of U.S. Muslims, using slightly different questions than the 2014 survey, found a similar estimate (24%) of the share of those who were raised Muslim but have left Islam. Among this group, 55% no longer identify with any religion, according to the 2017 survey. Fewer identify as Christian (22%), and an additional one-in-five (21%) identify with a wide variety of smaller groups, including faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, or as generally “spiritual.”

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Topics: Muslims and Islam, Religious Affiliation, Muslim Americans

Jan 24, 2018 2:07 pm

Key facts about black immigrants in the U.S.

The United States has long had a sizable black population because of the transatlantic slave trade beginning in the 16th century. But significant voluntary black migration is a relatively new development – and one that has increased rapidly over the past two decades. Here’s a closer look at the small, yet growing, black immigrant population in the U.S.:

1The black immigrant population has increased fivefold since 1980. There were 4.2 million black immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016, up from just 816,000 in 1980, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Since 2000 alone, the number of black immigrants living in the country has risen 71%. Now, roughly one-in-ten blacks (9%) living in the U.S. are foreign born, according to 2016 American Community Survey data, up from 3% in 1980. (Immigrants make up 10% of the black population in the March 2016 Current Population Survey.)

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Topics: Immigration, Race and Ethnicity

Jan 23, 2018 12:31 pm

Migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean sent a record amount of money to their home countries in 2016

(Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images)
(Romeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images)

Remittance flows decreased worldwide for a second consecutive year in 2016, the first back-to-back decline in over three decades, according to recently released data from the World Bank. Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean, however, rose to a record high.

Globally, migrants sent an estimated $574 billion to their home countries in 2016, a 1.4% drop from 2015. But in Latin America and the Caribbean – together making up a region where many people say economic conditions are bad – remittances rose to $74.3 billion, a 7.4% increase from the previous year ($69.2 billion). Europe was the only other region in the world to see an increase, and it was a much smaller one (up 0.9%).

Remittances are funds or other assets sent by migrants via formal channels such as banks. The total amount of money transferred is likely significantly larger than what is reported, because these estimates do not include the transfer of other assets, such as gifts, or informal monetary transfers. (The World Bank reports only remittances sent via formal channels.)

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Topics: World Economies, Migration, Latin America, Economics and Personal Finances

Jan 23, 2018 7:00 am

Americans see both good and bad in trends that are changing the workplace

Among the trends reshaping the U.S. workplace, more Americans see outsourcing of jobs, more immigrant workers and imports as negative rather than positive forces when it comes to their livelihoods, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in August and September 2017.

But U.S. workers also see a bright side in some trends, with more Americans citing the growing emphasis on diversity, the increase of women in the workforce and more U.S.-made products being sold abroad as positive rather than negative. Views on the automation of jobs through new technology are divided.

Among Americans who are employed or have been looking for work, increased outsourcing of jobs to other countries tops the list of trends they say have hurt their job or career. Three-in-ten say this is the case, compared with roughly one-in-five (22%) who say the same about the growing number of immigrants working in the U.S. and 20% who blame a rise in imports. Overall, however, majorities say these factors haven’t made much difference in their job or career.

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Topics: Business and Labor, Work and Employment

Jan 22, 2018 7:00 am

American religious groups vary widely in their views of abortion

More than four decades after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, most Americans (57%) are supportive of legal abortion, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. But a substantial minority (40%) says abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and within some U.S. denominations and religious groups, this figure is much higher.

For instance, most Jehovah’s Witnesses (75%) and Mormons (70%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to the 2014 Religious Landscape Study, a survey of more than 35,000 Americans in all 50 states. The same holds true for members of some evangelical churches, including the Pentecostal denominations Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) (77%) and Assemblies of God (71%), as well as America’s largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (66%). Indeed, among all those who are part of the evangelical tradition, nearly twice as many say they oppose legal abortion as support it (63% to 33%).

By comparison, only 35% of those who are part of the mainline Protestant tradition say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, with 60% in support of keeping abortion legal. Members of the Episcopal Church (79%) and the United Church of Christ (72%) are especially likely to support legal abortion, while most members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the mainline Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (65%) also take this position.

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Topics: Abortion, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Social Values

Jan 19, 2018 3:00 pm

Public backs legal status for immigrants brought to U.S. illegally as children, but not a bigger border wall

The American public has clear-cut opinions on both issues at the center of the current debate on immigration policy. A large majority (74%) favors granting permanent legal status to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children, but 60% oppose a proposal to “substantially expand the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico” – a longtime goal of President Donald Trump.

When the two policies are taken together, 54% of Americans both favor granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and oppose greatly expanding the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 10-15.

There are substantial partisan differences in opinions about both policies: About nine-in-ten (92%) Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children should be granted permanent legal status. Republicans and Republican leaners favor this approach as well, though by a much more modest margin: 50% support this, while 40% are opposed.

This question addresses all unauthorized immigrants who meet this description and does not specifically mention those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), whose fate has emerged as a key issue in last-minute congressional negotiations aimed at avoiding a government shutdown.

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Topics: Unauthorized Immigration, Immigration Attitudes, Immigration Trends, Immigration

Jan 19, 2018 7:00 am

Very liberal or conservative legislators most likely to share news on Facebook

The most ideological members of Congress shared news stories on their Facebook pages more than twice as often as moderate legislators between Jan. 2, 2015, and July 20, 2017, according to a new Pew Research Center study that examined all official Facebook posts created by members of Congress in this period.

The analysis included links to national news websites that members of Congress linked to at least 25 times overall in the time studied.

Members of Congress with very conservative or very liberal voting records shared news links in about 14% of all their posts. But members with more moderate ideology scores shared links to news stories in just 6% of their posts. (Ideology measures are derived from an analysis of congressional roll call votes compiled by Voteview.com. Moderate members were defined as those with scores in the middle 20% of Voteview’s DW-NOMINATE measure, while very liberal or conservative members had scores in the 10% most liberal and 10% most conservative ends of the measure.)

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Topics: Congress, Social Media, Political Polarization, Data Labs

Jan 18, 2018 12:00 pm

Naturalization rate among U.S. immigrants up since 2005, with India among the biggest gainers

Youdelyn Momperemier, originally from Haiti, becomes an American citizen during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Hialeah, Florida, on Jan. 12. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Youdelyn Momperemier, originally from Haiti, becomes an American citizen during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Hialeah, Florida, on Jan. 12. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Most of the United States’ 20 largest immigrant groups experienced increases in naturalization rates between 2005 and 2015, with India and Ecuador posting the biggest increases among origin countries, according to Pew Research Center estimates of immigrants eligible for U.S. citizenship.

This trend came during a period when the total number of naturalized immigrants in the U.S. increased from 14.4 million in 2005 to 19.8 million in 2015, a 37% increase.

By 2015, eligible immigrants from India had one of the higher naturalization rates (80%) due to a 12-percentage-point increase in its naturalization rate since 2005. Only eligible immigrants from Ecuador (68% in 2015) had as large an increase. This is a bigger increase than for U.S. immigrants overall, among whom naturalization rates jumped from 62% in 2005 to 67% in 2015. (Eligible immigrants from Vietnam, 86%, and Iran, 85%, had the highest naturalization rates of any group in 2015.)

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Citizenship, Immigration

Jan 18, 2018 10:00 am

Is U.S. fertility at an all-time low? It depends

U.S. fertility rates have reached another record low, at 62.0 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age, according to the most recent government figures. To some, this is cause for hand-wringing, as concerns arise that low fertility will spell problems for the nation’s economy; while others, concerned about limited natural resources, may look positively on the decline.

But aside from this debate, the question remains: Is this really a record low? The short answer is: It’s complicated.

That’s because there are different ways to measure fertility. Three of the most commonly used indicators of fertility are the general fertility rate (GFR); completed fertility; and the total fertility rate (TFR). All three reflect fertility behavior in slightly different ways – respectively, in terms of the annual rate at which women are presently having kids; the number of kids they ultimately have; or the hypothetical number they would likely have based on present fertility patterns.

None of these indicators is “right” or “wrong,” but each tells a different story about when fertility bottomed out.

The latest report from the National Center for Health Statistics used the general fertility rate to show that U.S. fertility in 2016 was at an all-time low. For every 1,000 women of childbearing age – typically defined as ages 15 to 44 – there were 62.0 births.

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Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Population Trends, Research Methods

Jan 17, 2018 12:00 pm

Half of Americans think young people don’t pursue STEM because it is too hard

Teaching assistant Camille Lombard talks with students Bijan Ameli, left, and Mike Feigenbaum in a chemistry class at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 2015. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Teaching assistant Camille Lombard talks with students Bijan Ameli, left, and Mike Feigenbaum in a chemistry class at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 2015. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

When Americans are asked why more students don’t pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), they are most likely to point to the difficulty of these subjects, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. About half of adults (52%) say the main reason young people don’t pursue STEM degrees is they think these subjects are too hard.

Policymakers and educators have long puzzled over why more students do not pursue STEM majors in college, even though those who have an undergraduate degree in a STEM field of study earn more than those with other college majors – regardless of whether they work in a STEM job or a different occupation. Yet only a third of workers (33%) ages 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree have an undergraduate degree in a STEM field, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

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Topics: Science and Innovation, Education, Work and Employment