Nov 28, 2018 10:00 am

Teens who are constantly online are just as likely to socialize with their friends offline

Close to half of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they are on the internet “almost constantly,” and more than nine-in-ten are social media users. These highly plugged-in youth, however, are just as likely as their less-connected peers to socialize regularly with their friends in person, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data.

Teens who use the internet 'almost constantly' are as likely to socialize with their friends offline as their peers who are online less frequentlyIn fact, when taking into account both online and offline interactions, highly connected teens report more contact with their friends compared with other teens, according to the analysis, which comes amid concerns that screen time is taking away opportunities for teens and others to socialize face-to-face.

Overall, 24% of teens who report being constantly online say they meet with their friends in person outside of school every day or almost every day. That is nearly identical to the 23% of less-frequently online teens who say they see their friends almost daily. And when it comes to online interaction with their friends, 69% of teens who are online constantly say they talk to their friends online every day or almost every day, compared with 52% of teens who visit the internet less frequently.

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Topics: Teens and Technology, Social Media, Teens and Youth, Generations and Age

Nov 28, 2018 7:02 am

Key global views about issues and leaders in the spotlight at the G20 summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with President Mauricio Macri of Argentina and U.S. President Donald Trump at the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Macri will host this year’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires. (Friedemann Vogel – Pool/Getty Images)

Political leaders from 19 member countries and the European Union will gather in Buenos Aires this Friday for the annual G20 summit. As always, the agenda will feature both economics and geopolitics. U.S. President Donald Trump will attend and is expected to meet individually with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others.

Here are findings from a 2018 Pew Research Center survey that show how people around the world view some of the issues likely to be discussed at the meeting – particularly their attitudes on the economy, the future of work, and trade – as well as their opinions of world leaders who will be present.

In many countries, views of economy do not align with optimism for the future1The global economic mood has improved somewhat in recent years, but many are still pessimistic about the future. In the United States, Japan and several European nations, economic confidence has rebounded from the depths of the Great Recession. For instance, 78% of Germans believe their national economy is in good shape, compared with just 28% in 2009.

However, in many advanced economies positive assessments of current economic conditions do not translate into optimism for the future. Only 36% of Germans think that when children in their country grow up they will be financially better off than their parents. Similarly, while nearly two-thirds of Americans say economic conditions are good, only one-in-three are optimistic about the next generation’s financial prospects.

And in many nations, people are dissatisfied with the current state of their economy as well. This is certainly true in G20 host Argentina, where President Mauricio Macri has had to seek help from the International Monetary Fund and implement austerity measures in response to a sharp recession. Just 17% of Argentines say the economy is in good shape. In neighboring Brazil, which just elected the former military officer Jair Bolsonaro as president, only 9% give their economy positive marks.

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Topics: Globalization and Trade, Global Balance of Power, International Organizations, International Governments and Institutions

Nov 26, 2018 5:01 pm

Americans and Germans are worlds apart in views of their countries’ relationship

At a time of rising tensions between their countries, people in the United States and Germany express increasingly divergent views about the status of their decades-long partnership. They are divided not only on the overall state of the relationship, but also on future levels of cooperation, the importance they ascribe to each other on foreign policy and the efficacy of retaliatory tariffs. Despite these differences, people in the U.S. and Germany still find common ground on the benefits of free trade, the importance of NATO and the continued need to spend on defense, according to surveys conducted in the U.S. by Pew Research Center and in Germany by the Körber-Stiftung in September 2018.

Here are seven charts that explain the status of this complicated relationship:

Americans and Germans diverge sharply in their views of bilateral relations1Americans and Germans are worlds apart on the overall state of their relationship. In the U.S., seven-in-ten say the relationship is good, while 73% in Germany say the relationship is bad. Among Germans, this constitutes a sharp elevation in negative assessments since 2017, when 56% said the relationship was bad.

Despite their generally negative perceptions, only one-in-ten Germans say the relationship with the U.S. is very bad. Most Americans (58%), for their part, say the relationship is somewhat good, while a far smaller share (12%) say it is very good.

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Topics: Western Europe, Bilateral Relations, Globalization and Trade, Global Balance of Power, International Threats and Allies, Europe

Nov 26, 2018 11:03 am

The U.S. class divide extends to searching for a religious congregation


(Monashee Frantz/OJO Images via Getty Images)

Looking for a new religious congregation is common in the United States. In fact, about half of American adults (49%) have at some point searched for a new church or congregation.

But how likely Americans are to look for a new church varies by their education and income levels. About six-in-ten (59%) college-educated Americans have searched for a new religious congregation, compared with only 38% of those with a high school education or less, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of survey data collected in 2015. Likewise, higher-income Americans are more likely to look for a new church than those with lower incomes. This may be due in part to the fact that highly educated and affluent Americans tend to be more geographically mobile.

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Topics: Educational Attainment, Religion and Society, Wealth, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Socioeconomic Class, Education

Nov 26, 2018 7:00 am

Americans are divided over whether eating organic foods makes for better health

(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Younger adults are more inclined to say organic produce is better for healthAmericans are closely divided over the health benefits of organic produce. Some 45% of U.S. adults say organic fruits and vegetables are better for you than conventionally grown produce, compared with 51% who say that organic produce is neither better nor worse, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year. The share of U.S. adults who say that organic produce is better for one’s health declined by 10 percentage points since a 2016 survey.

However, younger people remain more likely than their older counterparts to say organics are healthier than conventionally grown food. Some 54% of those ages 18 to 29 and 47% of those ages 30 to 49 believe organic fruits and vegetables are generally better for one’s health, compared with 39% of those 65 and older who say the same. As in the 2016 survey, there are no differences among men and women on views of the healthfulness of organic foods.

These latest findings come as consumers sort through ongoing public debates over how the foods we eat can affect our health. Today, the perception of what constitutes a “healthy” diet can be in the eye of the beholder, as even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wrestles with new guidelines for which food products can legally have “healthy” printed on their labels.

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Topics: Health, Science and Innovation, Lifestyle

Nov 21, 2018 11:04 am

Millennials, Gen X increase their ranks in the House, especially among Democrats

Democratic Reps.-elect (from left) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida, Abby Finkenauer of Iowa and Sharice Davids of Kansas join with other newly elected House members for an official class photo at the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The 2018 midterm elections not only sent a record number of women to the House of Representatives – at least 102 in total, including 36 newly elected members, with a handful of races still to be called – but also significantly boosted the number of Millennials and Generation Xers in the lower chamber, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

Younger generations make up increasing shares of U.S. HouseWhen the 116th Congress convenes in January, at least 26 House members will be Millennials (i.e., born between 1981 and 1996), up from only five at the start of the current Congress in January 2017 and six just before the Nov. 6 midterms. (Pennsylvania Democrat Conor Lamb, 34, won a special election this past spring for a seat that had been vacated by Tim Murphy, a Boomer; Lamb and the five other serving Millennials all were re-elected.) More than a fifth (20) of the 91 freshmen members-elect are Millennials, and 14 of those 20 are Democrats – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, at 29 the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. (All figures in this post are as of Nov. 21, when three seats had yet to be called.)

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Topics: Congress, Millennials, Federal Government, Generations and Age, 2018 Election

Nov 21, 2018 7:00 am

When it comes to food ingredients, health-oriented eaters have a list they avoid

The United States is a nation divided when it comes to food. About half of U.S. adults (49%) are “health-oriented eaters” who say that they choose foods all or more than half the time because they are healthy and nutritious. The other half (51%) are less focused on healthy foods, saying they select foods because of their health and nutritional value about half the time or less, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

Health-oriented eaters are more likely to opt out of these food ingredientsAmericans’ food preferences are especially evident in what they don’t eat. When asked how frequently they limit consumption of foods (based on a list of 10 items), those who choose foods because they are healthy and nutritious ruled out, on average, 3.5 ingredients. By contrast, people less health-oriented in their eating restrict an average of only 1.8 of these ingredients from their diets.

About half of health-conscious eaters say they limit their intake of artificial sweeteners (53%), compared with 36% of the less health-oriented. Similarly, health-oriented eaters are more likely than their less health-conscious counterparts to limit consumption of sugar (51% vs. 26%), artificial preservatives (47% vs. 20%) and a host of other ingredients that includes artificial coloring, dairy and gluten.

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Topics: Health, Science and Innovation, Lifestyle

Nov 20, 2018 3:03 pm

Most say their family is OK with discussing politics – but it helps if the family agrees

(Evy Mages for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Most say their family is OK with talking politics, but 40% try to avoid the subjectAs Americans prepare for Thanksgiving, most U.S. adults (59%) say their family is OK with talking about politics, while 40% say they try to avoid the subject. But the willingness of families to engage in political talk is tied to their level of political agreement, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Nov. 7-13, 2018.

Overall, a majority of Americans say they have at least some common ground politically with their family. A 64% majority of Americans say most or all of their family members share their political views – yet relatively few people (22%) say “almost everyone” in their family shares their political views. About a third overall say “a few” family members (26%) or “almost no one” in their family (9%) shares their political views. (In this survey, respondents were asked about occasions when they get together with family members other than those they live with.)

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Topics: Political Attitudes and Values, Family and Relationships

Nov 20, 2018 10:03 am

Americans who find meaning in these four areas have higher life satisfaction

Discovering where people find meaning in life is a challenging task. One way is to give them an opportunity to write, in their own words, about the things that give them a sense of meaning and satisfaction with their lives. When we asked U.S. adults in a survey conducted last year, respondents mentioned many different topics, with family emerging as the most common source of meaning. But of the 30 topics that were studied, only four were universally associated with higher levels of life satisfaction: a person’s good health, romantic partner, friends and career.

Four areas of life universally associated with higher life satisfactionRegardless of age, income, religion and other demographic factors, Americans who mentioned these parts of their lives as meaningful were more likely to rate their lives as satisfying than those who did not, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of responses from 4,492 adults surveyed in September 2017.

What keeps us going

Explore the reflections of Americans on where they find meaning in life.

Respondents were asked to rate their lives on a scale of zero to 10 before providing their open-ended responses. On average, Americans rated their life satisfaction at a 6.7 on a zero-to-10 scale with a majority choosing a value between five and eight. A follow-up question asked what made their lives meaningful or kept them going.

These are the four areas where people with higher life ratings said they found a sense of meaning:

Friends. One-in-five Americans mentioned friends when describing where they find meaning in life. “Our best friends live right across the street and we see them often, our kids get along like siblings and spend almost every free minute with each other,” wrote one respondent. “We are so close to our friends that our families started planning vacations together and doing them with friends is an amazing experience.” Those who mentioned friends rated their life satisfaction 6% higher on the zero-to-10 scale than those who did not.

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Topics: Life Satisfaction, Data Labs, Lifestyle

Nov 19, 2018 10:05 am

Americans are narrowly divided over health effects of genetically modified foods

A farmer tends to a field of transgenic corn. (Andia/UIG via Getty Images)

Americans are closely divided over whether genetically modified foods are worse for one’s health than foods that are not genetically modified, according to a new Pew Research Center report.

About half of Americans think GM foods are worse for one's healthAbout half of U.S. adults (49%) say foods containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients are worse for one’s health than foods containing no GM ingredients, while a slightly smaller share (44%) thinks foods with GM ingredients are neither better nor worse for one’s health. Only 5% say GM foods are better for one’s health.

The survey finds a 10-percentage-point increase in the share of adults who say foods with GM ingredients are worse for one’s health from a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, when the share was 39%. The uptick in concern has come primarily among those with low levels of science knowledge; there has been no shift in this belief among those with high levels of science knowledge (based on a nine-item index of factual knowledge across a range of topics).

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Topics: Health, Science and Innovation, Lifestyle