Apr 9, 2018 11:00 am

5 things to know about bots on Twitter

It’s no secret that there are bots on Twitter. But how do bot accounts – which automatically create tweets without direct human oversight – actually affect the mix of content on Twitter?

A new Pew Research Center study, conducted over a six-week period in the summer of 2017, examined 1.2 million tweets with URL links to determine what share of links were posted by bots on Twitter. The study identified bots using Botometer, which learns patterns from hand-classified account data produced by trained experts.

To count how many times human and bot accounts shared links to particular websites, we wrote a computer program to follow each shared link to its destination. Then we isolated the 2,315 most commonly shared sites with meaningful content and classified the kinds of content that appear on those sites.

Here are five key takeaways from the study:

1Two-thirds (66%) of all tweeted links were shared by suspected bots. This includes links to different kinds of content around the web, ranging from adult content to commercial products and even to links that redirect internally to Twitter.com. This estimate suggests that automated accounts are more prolific than human users in sharing links on Twitter.

2Suspected bots also accounted for 66% of tweeted links to sites focused on news and current events. That’s a lower share than for sites focused on adult content (90%), sports (76%) and commercial products (73%), but higher than for sites focused on celebrities (62%), those focused on organizations or groups (53%) or internal links to Twitter.com (50%). News and current events websites include sites that produce original reporting on events in public life, those that mostly aggregate news from other sites, and those that focus primarily on commentary or discussion.  Read More

Topics: Online Communities, Internet Activities, Emerging Technology Impacts

Apr 6, 2018 7:00 am

Christian women in the U.S. are more religious than their male counterparts

A woman prays at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A woman prays at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In many parts of the world, women – especially Christian women – are more religious than men. In the United States, where seven-in-ten adults are Christian, this religion gender gap is actually greater than it is a number of other developed nations, including Canada, the UK, Germany and France.

More than seven-in-ten U.S. Christian women (72%) say religion is “very important” in their lives, compared with 62% of the country’s Christian men, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study. Roughly eight-in-ten Christian women also say they are absolutely certain God exists and that the Bible is the word of God, compared with about seven-in-ten men who say this.

Christian men and women in the U.S. also differ in their private devotional habits. For example, roughly three-quarters (74%) of Christian women say they pray at least daily, compared with six-in-ten men (60%). The gender gap in prayer is especially wide for Catholics and mainline Protestants: 67% of Catholic women say they pray every day while just 49% of men say the same. And 62% of mainline Protestant women say they pray daily, compared with 44% of men. Among the U.S. Christian traditions analyzed in this study, Mormons are the only group in which there is no prayer gender gap, with similar shares of women and men saying they pray daily (86% and 84%, respectively).

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Apr 5, 2018 2:30 pm

A record 64 million Americans live in multigenerational households

The number and share of Americans living in multigenerational family households have continued to rise, despite improvements in the U.S. economy since the Great Recession. In 2016, a record 64 million people, or 20% of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data.

Multigenerational family living is growing among nearly all U.S. racial groups, Hispanics, most age groups and both men and women. The share of the population living in this type of household – defined as including two or more adult generations, or including grandparents and grandchildren younger than 25 – declined from 21% in 1950 to a low of 12% in 1980. Since then, multigenerational living has rebounded. The number and share of Americans living in these households increased sharply during and immediately after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Since then, growth has slowed a little but has remained much more rapid than the growth before the recession.

In 2009, 51.5 million Americans (17% of the population) lived in multigenerational households, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. In 2014, 60.6 million Americans – 19% of the U.S. population – were part of multigenerational homes, according to the last major Pew Research Center analysis of this data.

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Topics: Baby Boomers, Millennials, Generations and Age, Household and Family Structure

Apr 5, 2018 11:01 am

Despite talk of ‘trade war’ with China, highest U.S. tariffs are on imports from other Asian countries

A worker walks by stacked containers at the port in Qingdao, China. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
A worker walks by stacked containers at the port in Qingdao, China. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

The ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China has led both countries to announce billions of dollars’ worth of tariffs on each other’s products. China is the largest single exporter to the U.S. – more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods entered the U.S. last year – and American tariffs on Chinese products were on the high side even before the latest round of tit-for-tat increases. But they are by no means the highest import duties the U.S. charges.

Those would be on imports from several developing South Asian nations whose exports to the U.S. are heavily weighted toward clothing and other products that the U.S. generally taxes highly. Bangladesh, for example, exported about $5.7 billion worth of goods to the U.S. last year, 95% of which were apparel, footwear, headgear and related items, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. International Trade Commission. Nearly all Bangladeshi imports were subject to U.S. duty, and the tariffs on them were equivalent to 15.2% of the total value of that country’s shipments to the U.S. – the highest such average rate among the 232 countries, territories and other jurisdictions in the ITC database.

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Topics: Economic Policy, Taxes, Globalization and Trade, World Economies, Foreign Affairs and Policy

Apr 3, 2018 12:00 pm

Millennials approach Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation in the electorate

Millennials, who are projected to surpass Baby Boomers next year as the United States’ largest living adult generation, are also approaching the Boomers in their share of the American electorate.

As of November 2016, an estimated 62 million Millennials (adults ages 20 to 35 in 2016) were voting-age U.S. citizens, surpassing the 57 million Generation X members (ages 36 to 51) in the nation’s electorate and moving closer in number to the 70 million Baby Boomers (ages 52 to 70), according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Millennials comprised 27% of the voting-eligible population in 2016, while Boomers made up 31%.

In 2016, Generation X and members of the Silent and Greatest generations (ages 71 and older) comprised 25% and 13% of the electorate, respectively. In addition, the oldest members of the post-Millennial generation (those born after 1996) began to make their presence known for the first time – 7 million of these 18- and 19-year-olds were eligible to vote in 2016 (comprising just 3% of the electorate).

The Baby Boomer voting-eligible population peaked in size at 73 million in 2004. Since the Boomer electorate is declining in size and the Millennial electorate will continue to grow, mainly through immigration and naturalization, it is only a matter of time before Millennials are the largest generation in the electorate.

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Topics: Baby Boomers, Voter Demographics, Millennials, Voter Participation, Demographics, Generations and Age

Apr 2, 2018 3:00 pm

Most Hispanic parents speak Spanish to their children, but this is less the case in later immigrant generations

(Ariel Skelley/Getty Images)
(Ariel Skelley/Getty Images)

U.S. Latinos say it’s important for future generations of Hispanics to speak Spanish, and the vast majority speak the language to their children. However, the share of Latino parents who ensure the language lives on with their children declines as their immigrant connections become more distant, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

Overall, 85% of Latino parents say they speak Spanish to their children, according to the Center’s 2015 National Survey of Latinos. Among immigrant parents, nearly all (97%) say they do this. But the share drops to 71% among U.S.-born second-generation Latino parents (those with at least one immigrant parent). And the share falls to just 49% among third or higher generation Latino parents – those born in the U.S. to U.S.-born parents.

Spanish use also declines in mixed families where one spouse or partner is non-Latino. About 92% of Latino parents with a Latino spouse or partner speak Spanish to their children. By contrast, just 55% of Latino parents with a non-Latino-partner or spouse say they speak Spanish to their children.

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Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Identity, Global Migration and Demography, Demographics, Language

Mar 30, 2018 3:01 pm

What to know about the citizenship question the Census Bureau is planning to ask in 2020

For the first time since 1950, the U.S. Census Bureau is planning to ask everyone living in the United States whether they are citizens when it conducts its next decennial census in 2020. Anticipating that some immigrants might avoid answering the question, the Trump administration wants to try using other government records to fill in missing responses.

The new question would be included at the Justice Department’s request, according to a memo by Wilbur Ross, secretary of the Commerce Department (which oversees the Census Bureau). It would supply block-level data on the citizen and noncitizen voting age population.

The Justice Department sought to include the question because it uses data about eligible voters – the citizen voting-age population – to help enforce protections for minority voters (including those who speak languages other than English) under the federal Voting Rights Act. The Justice Department now relies on data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, a sample survey that covers 2.6% of the population each year. The department wants more “scope, detail and certainty” that only the full census can provide to enforce the Voting Rights Act, Ross said.

Ross said the census form would use the same wording as what is already used in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which asks respondents to check one of five categories to describe their citizenship status. Three categories apply to people who are U.S. citizens at birth: born in the U.S., born in a U.S. territory, or born abroad with at least one U.S. citizen parent. People who say they are a naturalized U.S. citizen are asked for their naturalization year. The fifth category is “not a U.S. citizen.” The survey does not ask whether noncitizens are legally in the country.

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Topics: Global Migration and Demography, U.S. Census, Research Methods

Mar 29, 2018 2:03 pm

East Coast and Texas metros had the most H-1B visas for skilled workers from 2010 to 2016

The employment of high-skilled foreign workers with H-1B visas centered in large East Coast metropolitan areas from fiscal years 2010 to 2016. These foreign workers also made up a significant part of the workforces in several Texas metro areas, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of previously unpublished metro-level government data of H-1B visa approvals obtained through a public records request.

The H-1B visa program is the nation’s largest temporary employment visa program. About 247,900 H-1B visa approvals – 29% of the nation’s total – went to employers in the New York City metro area from fiscal 2010 to 2016 (the most recent years for which data are available at the metropolitan level). The Dallas and Washington metro areas (74,000 and 64,800 approvals, respectively) had the next-highest totals, with Boston (38,300 approvals) also among the top metro areas by this measure. The data, obtained from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, include details of those approved for an H-1B visa.

See below for an interactive table showing H-1B visa approvals, educational attainment and salaries in 68 metro areas that received 600 or more H-1B approvals from fiscal 2010 to 2016.

About this analysis

The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to hire foreigners to work for up to six years in jobs that require highly specialized knowledge, and workers’ employment may be extended if they have green card applications pending. To participate, employers first submit applications to the U.S. Department of Labor attesting that no U.S. worker would be displaced by the prospective foreign worker. The application is then reviewed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the State Department interviews the foreign worker and issues the visa.

Visas are awarded to employers on a first-come, first-served basis, with applications accepted each year beginning in April. If the number of applications exceeds an annual cap of 65,000 set by Congress during the first five business days of April, visas are then awarded through a lottery system. (An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available for advanced degree graduates of U.S. colleges and universities.) Universities and colleges, nonprofits and government research institutions are exempted from the cap; they have accounted for about 10% of H-1B visa applications since fiscal 2010.

This analysis assumes “H-1B visa approvals” refers to foreigners who receive an H-1B visa and go on to work for the employer that sponsored them in the same fiscal year.

The data on H-1B visa approvals were obtained from USCIS through a Freedom of Information Act request and were received in November 2017. Approvals that are subject to the annual cap account for nearly all (99.9%) approvals in this analysis. The FOIA data does not distinguish between approvals for initial and continuing employment. It includes employer names and employer location (city and state) but excludes worker location, which could be at the employer location or another location. This analysis assumes H-1B visa approvals are for foreigners who will work at the employer location.

The number of H-1B visa approvals used for calculating the H-1B visa approvals per 100 workers is in fiscal years. To calculate this rate, this analysis uses data from Bureau of Labor Statistics on average monthly civilian labor force (seasonally adjusted) by metropolitan area for calendar years 2010-2016.

When looking at the footprint of high-skilled foreign workers by metro area, College Station, Texas, stands far above the rest, with about 32 H-1B approvals per 100 workers. (More than 99% of the metro area’s H-1B approvals went to employees of Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., whose U.S. headquarters is in College Station.) By comparison, no other metro area had more than five H-1B approvals per 100 workers.

The San Jose, California, metro area, home of Silicon Valley, trailed the leading metro area on these measures, despite being home to some of the world’s most famous technology companies. The San Jose metro area had 22,200 H-1B approvals from fiscal 2010 to 2016, which amounted to two approvals per 100 workers.

Every April, companies file thousands of H-1B visa applications to hire foreign workers. Many of these applications come from firms in the technology and finance sectors, as well as other fields that require specialized knowledge. The U.S. government approved more than 859,600 applications in fiscal 2010-2016.

Demand for the high-skilled worker visas has boomed in recent years, and the H-1B program is now the primary way employers in the U.S. hire high-skilled foreign workers. The program could shrink under the Trump administration, which has recently placed stricter requirements on applications.

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Global Migration and Demography, Migration, Work and Employment

Mar 29, 2018 11:02 am

Why do people belong to a party? Negative views of the opposing party are a major factor

For both Republicans and Democrats, the top reason to belong to a party is a belief that its policies will benefit the country. But sizable majorities in both parties cite the other party’s harmful policies as a major factor, according to a new national survey.

And for independents who lean toward a party, negative motivations are mentioned most often – by far – as a major reason for their partisan leaning.

About three-quarters of Republicans (76%) and 72% of Democrats say a major reason for belonging to their party is that its policies are good for the country, according to the survey of 4,656 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 29-Feb. 13. Republicans (71%) are more likely than Democrats (63%) to cite the harm from the opposing party’s policies as a major reason to affiliate with their party.

Fewer cite other considerations as major reasons why they identify with their party. About half of Democrats (51%) and 45% of Republicans cite having a lot in common with other members of their party as a major reason.

Roughly a third of Democrats (37%) say a major reason for their affiliation is loyalty – that is, they have been a Democrat for as long as they can remember. Just a quarter of Republicans say the same.

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Topics: Political Party Affiliation, Political Polarization, U.S. Political Parties

Mar 28, 2018 12:01 pm

Most Poles accept Jews as fellow citizens and neighbors, but a minority do not

Some of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz, shown here, were located in Poland. (Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images)
Some of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz, shown here, were located in Poland. (Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images)

Poland recently enacted a libel law aimed at punishing those who publicly accuse the country of complicity in the Holocaust or other crimes against humanity. The new law has raised concerns that the country’s history of anti-Semitism and xenophobia in Poland could be obscured.

In today’s Poland, most adults say they are willing to accept Jews as fellow citizens, neighbors and family members, according to a Pew Research Center survey of Poland and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe conducted in 2015 and 2016. For instance, about seven-in-ten or more Poles say they would accept Jews as neighbors or fellow citizens.

At the same time, however, a sizable minority of Polish adults take the opposite position. Almost one-in-five Poles (18%) say they would not be willing to accept Jews as citizens of their country, and a similar share (20%) say they would not want Jewish neighbors. Nearly a third of Polish adults (30%) say they would not accept a Jewish person as a member of their family.

Polish views are more negative when it comes to two other minority groups in Europe: Muslims and Roma (sometimes called Romani or Gypsies, a term some consider pejorative). Roughly four-in-ten or more Polish adults say they would not want Muslims to be citizens of their country (41%), their neighbors (43%) or members of their family (55%). Likewise, at least three-in-ten Poles would not accept Roma as fellow citizens (30%), neighbors (38%) or family members (49%).

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Topics: Discrimination and Prejudice, Jews and Judaism, Religious Affiliation, Social Values, Europe