Jul 25, 2014 7:00 am

Chart of the Week: The Great Baby Recession

recession_birthrate

The Great Recession of 2007-09 was followed by a sharp drop in the U.S. birthrate, which has yet to reverse. The birthrate in 2013 was a record-low 62.9 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, according to preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics. But just as the recession hit some states harder than others, birthrates generally declined more in states most affected by the slump.

That’s illustrated by this chart, from The Washington Post’s new Storyline project. States such as Nevada, Arizona and Florida that saw some of the biggest plunges in home values after the housing bubble burst had some of the biggest birthrate declines between 2008 and 2010. Conversely, birthrates fell only slightly in North Dakota and Alaska, states that avoided the worst of the recession due to the boom in oil and gas production.

The Post’s Jeff Guo noted (and Pew has well documented) that similar birthrate dips occurred after recessions in the 1970s and 1990s, and births likely will rebound as the economy regains its health. But as Fact Tank reported last month, the post-recession decline in births already has slowed the nation’s projected shift to a majority-minority youth population.

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Demographics, Economic Recession

Jul 24, 2014 12:06 pm

Most of the world trusts Obama over Putin to ‘do the right thing’

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin meet during the G8 summit in 2013. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin meet during the G8 summit in 2013. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The U.S.-Russia confrontation over Ukraine is getting increasingly personal at the highest levels. U.S. President Barack Obama has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to “get serious about trying to resolve hostilities within Ukraine.” And Putin has criticized President Obama’s “aggressive” and “unprofessional” foreign policy.

In the eyes of many people around the world, the leaders of Russia and the United States are the embodiment of all that is good or bad about their countries. And their public standing is a proxy for the image of their countries.

FT_obama-putin-confidenceMost of the world has greater confidence in Obama than in Putin to do the right thing in world affairs by better than two-to-one (a median of 56% to 23%), according to a 44 nation poll by the Pew Research Center, conducted this year after the winter Olympics in Russia but before the recent conflict over responsibility for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which the U.S. has blamed on pro-Russian separatists supplied with weapons by the Russian military. An earlier 21 country survey in 2012 found a similar two-to-one margin of favorability for the U.S. president. Read More

Topics: Barack Obama, Russia

Jul 24, 2014 10:03 am

Voter turnout always drops off for midterm elections, but why?

midtermTurnoutWith three-and-a-half months to the midterm elections, it’s still unclear the extent to which Republicans’ advantage in voter engagement will translate into more actual House and Senate seats. But we’ll go out on a limb on two predictions: A lot fewer people will vote this year than did in 2012, and Democrats are likely to suffer accordingly.

Voter turnout regularly drops in midterm elections, and has done so since the 1840s. In 2008, for instance, 57.1% of the voting-age population cast ballots — the highest level in four decades — as Barack Obama became the first African American elected president. But two years later only 36.9% voted in the midterm election that put the House back in Republican hands. For Obama’s re-election in 2012, turnout rebounded to 53.7%. Read More

Topics: Congress, Elections and Campaigns, Voter Participation

Jul 23, 2014 8:38 am

5 facts about the state of local TV newsrooms

The market for local television stations was bullish in 2013, driven by the growing political ad revenue and fees paid to those outlets by cable, satellite and telecommunications companies for the right to carry their programming. In 2013, about 300 full-power local stations changed hands for a combined price tag of more than $8 billion, as major companies — from the Sinclair Broadcast Group to the Tribune Company — dramatically expanded their local TV portfolios.

Staff salaries in local TV newsrooms were stagnant in 2013Despite that boom, a new survey of 1,300 local television news directors produced by RTDNA and Hofstra University paints a mixed picture of the staffing and spending patterns in local television news. The overall number of staff working in local TV newsrooms declined slightly in 2013, and salaries for on-air anchors and reporters stagnated. At the same time, news budgets were generally higher last year, and more stations than ever are now airing regular newscasts.

1Total newsroom employment was down for local television in 2013, and the biggest stations were hit the hardest. The survey identified 27,300 full-time jobs in local television news — down about 400 jobs from 2012. The steepest drop in staffing levels occurred in the 25 biggest TV markets, where the median number of full-time employees dropped by 11%. But the median staff size for all local stations in the survey was unchanged from 2012 to 2013, at 31 employees.

Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Local News, News Media Sectors, Newsroom Investment and Resources

Jul 22, 2014 9:00 am

In 30 countries, heads of state must belong to a certain religion

Most countries with religious requirements for heads of state are in the Middle East and North Africa

A new Pew Research analysis finds that 30 of the world’s countries (15%) belong to a unique group of nations that call for their heads of state to have a particular religious affiliation. From monarchies to republics, candidates (including descendants of royal monarchies) in these countries must belong to a specific religious group.

This list includes Lebanon, which requires its president to be a member of the Maronite Christian Church. On Wednesday, Lebanon’s parliament will make a ninth attempt since May at filling the office.

Read More

Topics: Religion and Government, Religion and Politics, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Restrictions on Religion

Jul 22, 2014 7:00 am

Children 12 and under are fastest growing group of unaccompanied minors at U.S. border

Ages of unaccompanied children crossing US border from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala

As the number of unaccompanied children trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has surged, the increase in apprehensions among children ages 12 and younger has been far greater than among teens, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of previously unreleased government data.

The new data show a 117% increase in the number of unaccompanied children ages 12 and younger caught at the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year compared with last fiscal year. By comparison, the number of apprehensions of unaccompanied teenagers ages 13-17 has increased by only 12% over the same time period.

Even though the growth is higher among younger children, the bulk of unaccompanied children caught at the border remain teenagers. In fiscal year 2013, nine-in-ten minors apprehended at the border were teens. This share has dropped as the number of younger children making the dangerous trip has risen dramatically: In the first eight months of fiscal year 2014, 84% were teens. Read More

Topics: Unauthorized Immigration

Jul 21, 2014 7:00 am

How statehouse reporting power compares with a state’s population

A new Pew Research Center report found a decline in the ranks of newspaper reporters covering government from some of the most important venues in the U.S.—the 50 state capitol buildings. Our data also revealed that one key indicator of the size of a statehouse press corps is state population, with eight of the 10 most populous states—California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan—ranking in the top 10 in the number of full-time reporters.

But there is another way to look at the relationship between statehouse reporting power and population. The color-coded interactive map (below) ranks states by the number of statehouse reporters for every 500,000 residents. And by that measure, the results are very different.


News Reporting Power Varies Across 50 Statehouses

Click on a state to see its number of full-time statehouse reporters per 500,000 residents

Source: Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau, Council of State Governments Book of the States 2013. Table of Data


Read More

Topics: Newsroom Investment and Resources, State and Local Government

Jul 18, 2014 10:30 am

Chart of the Week: The black-white gap in incarceration rates

incarceration1

Fifty years after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law, there still remains gaps between blacks and whites on many social and economic measures. Our Chart of the Week looks at one of them: the higher incarceration rates of black men compared with those of white men.

The above graphic from the Washington Post’s Wonkblog shows that black men in their prime working years, especially those without a high school diploma, are much more likely to be in jail than white men are.

While institutionalization rates rose for both blacks and whites from 1980 to 2000, it was especially sharp among the less educated black men – rising from 10% in 1980 for those ages 20 to 24 to 30% in 2000. In 2010, the institutionalization rate for this group dropped to 26%, but, as was the case in 2000, they were more likely to be institutionalized than they were to be employed (19% employment rate in 2010). Institutionalization and employment trends were similar, if not more dramatic, for black men with no high school diploma ages 25 to 29.

Read More

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Class

Jul 17, 2014 9:13 am

How many people of different faiths do you know?

Personal experiences with religious groups vary in the U.S., according to a new Pew Research Center surveyGiven the wide variety of faith groups in the United States, it would seem natural that most Americans know someone of a religion different from their own. With that in mind, we recently asked members of the Pew Research Center’s new American Trends Panel whether they personally know members of other religious groups.

We found that a big majority of Americans (87%) say they know someone who is Catholic – perhaps not surprising, given that as of 2012, 22% of U.S. adults were Catholic.  Somewhat fewer Americans (70%) say they know an evangelical Christian, even though nearly a third of U.S. adults (32%) describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians.

The percentage of Americans who know members of smaller religious groups varies widely, with little apparent relation to the actual size of the group. For example, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus each comprise about 1% or less of the U.S. population, but many more Americans say they know a Muslim (38%) than a Buddhist (23%) or a Hindu (22%).

Read More

Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Catholics and Catholicism, Hindus and Hinduism, Jews and Judaism, Mormons and Mormonism, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated

Jul 16, 2014 2:37 pm

U.S. evangelical Christians are chilly toward atheists – and the feeling is mutual

White Evangelical Protestants, Atheists Give Each Other Cold RatingsThe feelings that members of America’s religious groups have about one another run from warm to neutral to cold, but some of the chilliest attitudes found in a new Pew Research Center survey were between evangelicals and atheists.

We asked Americans to rate eight religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” from 0 to 100, with higher numbers indicating warmer, more positive feelings and lower numbers indicating colder, more negative feelings. On average, Catholics give atheists a rating of 38, and Protestants give them a frosty 32 – lower than either group’s ratings for Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Mormons or Muslims. White evangelical Protestants express particularly cold feelings toward atheists, with an average thermometer reading of 25.

For their part, atheists are similarly chilly toward evangelical Christians, who receive an average rating of 28 from atheists. (Respondents were asked to rate “evangelical Christians” on the feeling thermometer. White evangelical Protestants analyzed here are a subset of this group.) Overall, atheists express somewhat more positive feelings toward Catholics (47). Atheists give Hindus a relatively warm rating of 58, Jews a 61 and Buddhists a toasty 69. Granted, these groups are, like atheists, small minorities in the United States, and atheists may feel especially close to Buddhism because it often is viewed as a nontheistic religion that does not require belief in a divine creator. Some mutual warmth between atheists and Jews also is apparent: While atheists give Jews a 61, Jews give atheists a 55 – the warmest rating that atheists get from any group other than agnostics, those who claim no particular religion and atheists themselves.

While a number of religious groups harbored cool feelings toward atheists, Muslims are the only religious group that received uniformly negative ratings of 50 degrees or fewer from all the groups large enough to analyze. (The survey’s nationwide sample of 3,217 adults does not include enough Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims or Mormons to be able to tell how members of those faiths feel toward U.S. religious groups.)  Read More

Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Catholics and Catholicism, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Hindus and Hinduism, Jews and Judaism, Mormons and Mormonism, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Religiously Unaffiliated