Oct 18, 2018 11:01 am

‘Defining the universe’ is essential when writing about survey data

(Alexander Spatari via Getty Images)

The answer to almost any survey question depends on who you ask.

At Pew Research Center, we conduct surveys in the United States and dozens of other countries on topics ranging from politics and religion to science and technology. Given the wide range of people we speak to for our polls – and the many issues we ask them about – it’s important to be as clear as possible in our writing about exactly who says what.

In research circles, this practice is sometimes called “defining the universe” – that is, clearly identifying the population whose attitudes we’re studying, whether those people are police officers in the U.S., Christians in Western Europe or some other specific group. This kind of clarification can go a long way toward ensuring that readers interpret survey results correctly.

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Topics: Polling, Research Methods

Oct 17, 2018 9:00 am

Nearly six-in-ten Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases

Abortion has long been a contentious issue in the U.S., and it is one that sharply divides Americans along partisan, ideological and religious lines.

Public views of abortion: 1995-2018Today, a 58% majority of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37% think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. These views are relatively unchanged in the past few years. The latest Pew Research Center political survey finds deep disagreement between – and within – the parties over abortion. In fact, the partisan divide on abortion is far wider than it was two decades ago.

Explore an interactive look at attitudes on abortion.

By a wide margin (59% to 36%), Republicans say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. In 1995, Republicans were evenly divided (49% legal vs. 48% illegal).

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Topics: Abortion, U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, Religion and U.S. Politics

Oct 16, 2018 10:45 am

Want to understand U.S. immigration? We’ve got an email course for you

Immigration is a rich, complex topic that is front and center in public debates. If you combed through the Pew Research Center archives, you’d find that we have published hundreds of reports and blog posts about immigration in recent years.

Want to know more about immigration to the U.S.?

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Perhaps you would like to have a better understanding of immigration, or maybe you would like to know what the latest research has found. The question is: Where do you begin? You probably don’t have time to read thousands of pages of our research, and our latest publications focus on what’s new, not necessarily the big picture.

If what you’re really looking for is a shortcut study guide to what Pew Research Center knows about immigration, we have good news!

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Topics: Immigration Trends, Global Migration and Demography, Immigration

Oct 15, 2018 12:05 pm

Republicans and Democrats are optimistic about the future of their parties as midterms near

Less than a month before the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans and Democrats hold positive outlooks about the future of their respective parties, and in both cases these views are more positive than they were a year ago.

Both Republicans and Democrats optimistic about future of their partiesThree-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they are optimistic about the future of the Republican Party, up 16 percentage points from September 2017, when 59% felt this way, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 24-Oct. 7 among 10,683 adults on the American Trends Panel.

The current level of optimism among Republicans is similar to what it was immediately following Donald Trump’s election in December 2016 (79%).

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Topics: Congress, U.S. Political Parties, Political Attitudes and Values, 2018 Election

Oct 15, 2018 7:14 am

Key facts about Latinos in the 2018 midterm elections

Latinos vote at a polling station in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The number of Hispanic eligible voters has grown, while midterm election voting has remained flatMore than 29 million Latinos are eligible to vote nationwide in 2018, making up 12.8% of all eligible voters – both new highs, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data.

The pool of eligible Hispanic voters has steadily grown in recent years. Between 2014 and 2018, an additional 4 million Hispanics became eligible voters (U.S. citizens ages 18 and older). Much of this growth has been driven by young U.S.-born Hispanics coming of age. Since 2014, around 3 million have turned 18. Other sources of growth include Hispanic immigrant naturalizations – among Mexicans alone, 423,000 became U.S. citizens from 2014 to 2017 – as well as residents of Puerto Rico moving to one of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, especially Florida.

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Topics: Hispanic/Latino Vote, Voter Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Voter Participation, Demographics, Race and Ethnicity

Oct 12, 2018 7:00 am

Hispanic voter registration rises in Florida, but role of Puerto Ricans remains unclear

A polling station at Miami Beach City Hall on Aug. 13. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Note: Updated statewide Hispanic voter registration totals that reflect final book-closing numbers have been published here.

In Florida, Latino voter registration has grown somewhat faster than during previous midterm election cycles

The number of Hispanic registered voters in Florida has increased 6.2% since the 2016 presidential election, to a record 2.1 million people. This is slightly faster growth than during the 2014 and 2010 midterm cycles, which saw 4.6% and 5.2% increases over the prior presidential election year, respectively, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Florida state government data.

Hispanics now make up a record 16.4% of Florida’s registered voters, up from 15.7% in 2016. The number of Hispanic registered voters has grown more than three times as fast as the overall number of registered voters in the past two years (6.2% growth vs. 1.8% growth, as of Aug. 31). Floridians had until Oct. 9 to register to vote, so the number of registered voters for this midterm cycle is likely to have increased further since August. (While the growth in Hispanic voters this year exceeds that of the past two midterm election years, it still trails the growth in recent presidential election years.)

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Topics: Hispanic/Latino Vote, Voter Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Demographics, Voting Issues

Oct 11, 2018 12:01 pm

How social media users have discussed sexual harassment since #MeToo went viral

The #MeToo hashtag first went viral on Twitter a year ago this month. Although the social movement of the same name existed beforehand, the hashtag was popularized on Oct. 15, 2017, when actress Alyssa Milano urged victims of sexual abuse to share their stories on Twitter in the wake of accusations of misconduct against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein.

Amid ongoing discussions about sexual harassment in the workplace and beyond, here are five findings about how these issues have been discussed on Twitter and other social media outlets in the past year:

1The #MeToo hashtag has been used more than 19 million times on Twitter from the date of Milano’s initial tweet through Sept. 30 of this year, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of publicly available English-language tweets. That works out to an average of 55,319 uses of the hashtag per day. The day with the single-greatest number of mentions was Sept. 9, when Leslie Moonves, chairman and chief executive of CBS, resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

The #MeToo hashtag has been used roughly 19 million times on Twitter in the past year, and usage often surges around news events2Personal stories and prominent celebrities have been key topics in #MeToo tweets. The Center conducted a separate analysis of five time periods with a high volume of English-language #MeToo tweets to examine how often three specific topics were mentioned in connection with the hashtag. The topics were: Twitter users sharing personal stories of harassment; users talking about the entertainment industry or celebrities in their tweets; and users discussing national politics or politicians. Some 15% of tweets across these specific time periods mentioned celebrities or the entertainment industry more broadly, while 14% referenced personal stories or narratives. A smaller share of these tweets (7%) mentioned politics or specific politicians. (The high-volume time periods in this analysis do not necessarily correspond with the above graphic. An individual tweet could mention one or more of these topics, and the tweets that mentioned multiple topics were counted in each relevant category. See methodology for more details on this analysis.)

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Topics: Online Communities, Discrimination and Prejudice, Social Media, Gender, Social Networking, Work and Employment

Oct 11, 2018 8:20 am

Recent Chinese dealings with faith groups reflect a pattern of government restrictions on religion

Police patrol as Muslims leave after morning prayers at a mosque in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. (Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

While the Chinese government asserts that it protects religious freedom, a series of annual Pew Research Center reports on religious restrictions around the globe have detailed government efforts aimed at maintaining strict control over religious beliefs and practices in the country. Two recent events have brought this into focus: China’s agreement with the Vatican on how bishops are appointed, and restrictions China has placed on predominantly Muslim ethnic Uighurs.

China has long wrangled with the Vatican over naming of bishops in an effort to maintain state control over the church. That dispute was back in the news last month when the Vatican agreed to accept the legitimacy of seven bishops who had been appointed by the Chinese government, breaking with its longstanding policy of not recognizing bishops unless they have been selected by the pope. Some Catholics and others have criticized the agreement for ceding to China too much control over church matters.

The deal with the Vatican comes at a time when China also has come under fire for reportedly detaining at least 1 million Uighurs in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang province. The government, however, denies the allegations and says their actions in Xinjiang are necessary to combat religious extremism and separatism.

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Topics: China, Religion and Government, Restrictions on Religion, Asia and the Pacific

Oct 10, 2018 3:00 pm

The real value of a $15 minimum wage depends on where you live

Where paychecks stretch the most, least in the U.S.The movement for a $15-an-hour minimum wage got a boost earlier this month when Amazon – which has drawn criticism for its pay practices and working conditions – announced it would raise its base pay for all U.S. workers to $15 an hour. The new minimum wage takes effect Nov. 1 and will affect some 250,000 full- and part-time employees, as well as the 100,000 or so seasonal workers Amazon expects to hire in the next few months, according to the company. (The raises will be offset, at least in part, by the phasing out of bonuses and stock awards for hourly workers.)

How much of a real improvement those workers will see in their daily lives, however, depends very much on where they live. Local living costs vary widely in the United States, and Amazon has more than 150 warehouses, sorting centers, distribution centers and other facilities scattered across the country. A $15 hourly wage yields $17.10 worth of purchasing power for a worker at Amazon’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, warehouse, for example, but only $13.57 for a worker at the warehouse in Kent, Washington, a Seattle suburb about 20 miles south of the company’s headquarters. Read More

Topics: Economic Policy, Business and Labor, Work and Employment, Economics and Personal Finances, Income

Oct 10, 2018 9:30 am

7 facts about American Catholics

Parishioners worship during Mass at St. Paul Cathedral, the mother church of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, on Aug. 15. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The Catholic Church is larger than any other single religious institution in the United States, with over 17,000 parishes that serve a large and diverse population. In spite of its size and influence, the church in recent decades has faced a number of significant challenges, from a decline in membership to a shortage of priests to continuing revelations that some Catholic clergy sexually abused minors and (in many cases) that their superiors covered up these actions.

Here are seven facts about American Catholics and their church:

1 There are roughly 51 million Catholic adults in the U.S., accounting for about one-fifth of the total U.S. adult population, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. That study found that the share of Americans who are Catholic declined from 24% in 2007 to 21% in 2014.

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Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Christians and Christianity, Religious Affiliation