Jun 9, 2015 3:10 pm

A look at popes and their encyclicals

Popes and Encyclicals Since Leo XIII

It’s not surprising that Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on climate change has already generated a lot of attention in the media and elsewhere, given the stature of his office and his sky-high popularity – not to mention the politically polarizing nature of the subject matter.

The upcoming encyclical, which is scheduled to be released on June 18, is the first by a pope to directly address an environmental issue. Francis’ only previous encyclical, Lumen Fidei (“The Light of Faith”), was issued on June 29, 2013, and concerned the nature of religious faith. Read More

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Energy and Environment

Jun 9, 2015 11:45 am

Where Europe stands on gay marriage and civil unions

Same-Sex Marriage in Europe

More than two-thirds of the 20 countries around the world that have legalized same-sex marriage are in Europe. Yet two of the biggest Western European states – Germany and Italy – do not allow gays and lesbians to wed. And all Central and Eastern European countries continue to ban gay marriage.

Nearly 15 years after the Netherlands became the world’s first country to allow same-sex marriage, Ireland last month became the first nation to do so via popular vote, with 62% of voters casting ballots in favor of the change. Read More

Topics: Europe, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

Jun 8, 2015 1:20 pm

Scientists more worried than public about world’s growing population

Total World Population

Over the course of history, many scientists and activists have raised alarm about population numbers that only increase every year.

When the English scholar Thomas Malthus published An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, the number of people around the world was nearing 1 billion for the first time. “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man,” he wrote then. Read More

Topics: Demographics, International Threats and Allies, Population Projections

Jun 4, 2015 10:17 am

Will California ever become a majority-Latino state? Maybe not

California reached a milestone in 2014 when it became only the third U.S. state where white non-Hispanics were outnumbered by another racial or ethnic group. At about 15 million, Hispanics for the first time constituted California’s largest racial or ethnic group, according to the state’s Department of Finance.

No Latino Majority Now Projected in California Before 2060However, it could be a half-century (or longer) before Hispanics become a full majority in California, if that demographic milestone is reached at all, according to scaled-back state population projections published by the state Finance Department.

Under projections published in 2007, the state’s Hispanic population was expected to reach 31 million in 2050, or 52.1% of all Californians. But according to updated projections released late last year, Hispanics are now expected to number 23.7 million in 2050, or 47.6% of all Californians. That pushes the prospect of a Hispanic demographic majority further into the future – perhaps to sometime after 2060.

Read More

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration Trends, Population Projections

Jun 3, 2015 2:31 pm

Supreme Court could reshape voting districts, with big impact on Hispanics

Districts with the Fewest Eligible Voters Are Mostly in Texas and California

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take up a Texas case that challenges the way nearly every U.S. voting district – from school boards to Congress – is drawn. The case, in essence, asks the court to specify what the word “person” means in its “one person, one vote” rule. The outcome of the case could have major impacts on Hispanic voting strength and representation from coast to coast. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Vote, Supreme Court, Voter Demographics

Jun 3, 2015 10:01 am

Ratings of Muslims rise in France after Charlie Hebdo, just as in U.S. after 9/11

The attack on the Paris offices of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo in January was the most devastating terrorist incident in France since the Algerian War more than five decades ago. Two French-born Muslim brothers affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula carried out the attack, killing 12 people and injuring 11 more.

French Views of Muslims, 2014-15In the aftermath, there has been considerable debate in France about the extent of radicalization among the country’s nearly 5 million Muslims, and more broadly about the role of Islam in a country famous for its secularism. However, there has been no backlash against Muslims in French public opinion. In fact, attitudes toward Muslims have become slightly more positive over the past year.

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 76% in France say they have a favorable view of Muslims living in their country, similar to the 72% registered in 2014. Meanwhile, the percentage with a very favorable opinion of Muslims has increased significantly, rising from 14% last year to 25% today. Attitudes toward Muslims tend to be more positive on the political left in France, but ratings improved across the ideological spectrum.

Read More

Topics: Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Restrictions on Religion, Western Europe

Jun 3, 2015 7:00 am

Facebook’s deal with publishers a stark reminder of digital ad gulf

The past few weeks have seen major attempts by the news industry to find creative ways to survive in a digital age, particularly when it comes to advertising, which has been upended by the rise of technology giants like Facebook and Google. In April, Vox Media announced it would open up Chorus, its content management system, to advertisers. It was reported last week that Politico is building Politico Focus, a department devoted to working with advertisers to develop content. And Vox Media just acquired technology news site Re/code, whose successful conference business offers a potential source of revenue beyond advertising.

Top 5 Companies' Share of Digital Display Ad Revenue Stays the Same, 2013-2014

In this uncertain environment, Facebook’s debut of Instant Articles caught the industry’s attention for its offer of revenue potential, faster load times and other upsides for publishers in exchange for allowing Facebook to host their content. As publishers contemplate the risks and rewards presented by Instant Articles, a hard look at the digital publishing business shows the degree to which Facebook, more than any other single company, is where the digital display ad money is, especially when it comes to mobile. While the social media company grows its share of the market, the U.S. news industry continues to struggle in its quest for digital revenue. Read More

Topics: Advertising, Digital Media, Media Economics, Newspapers, Social Media, State of the News Media

Jun 2, 2015 4:00 pm

5 key findings about how Europeans view the economy and EU

Opinion of Economy, EU on the RiseIn the wake of Europe’s recession and currency crisis, support for the European Union and the belief that European economic integration was good for one’s country had declined precipitously across Europe, reaching a low point in 2013.

But this year, European public opinion is looking more upbeat. Favorable views of the EU and faith in a single, shared market are generally rebounding in the major EU member states, according to a new six-nation survey by the Pew Research Center.

However, the euro crisis has left a challenging political legacy: the rise of Eurosceptic political parties – those critical of a unified Europe – on both the left and the right. Here are five key takeaways from our report on current economic and political attitudes in Europe:

Read More

Category: 5 Facts

Topics: Economic Policy, Europe, Jews and Judaism, Muslims and Islam, Political Party Affiliation, Race and Ethnicity, World Economies

Jun 2, 2015 1:55 pm

Interfaith marriage is common in U.S., particularly among the recently wed

Marrying within the faith is still common in the United States, with nearly seven-in-ten married people (69%) saying that their spouse shares their religion, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. But a comparison of recent and older marriages shows that having a spouse of the same religion may be less important to many Americans today than it was decades ago.

Interfaith MarriageOur Religious Landscape Study found that almost four-in-ten Americans (39%) who have married since 2010 have a spouse who is in a different religious group. By contrast, only 19% of those who wed before 1960 report being in a religious intermarriage.

Many of these recent interfaith marriages are between Christians and the religiously unaffiliated (sometimes called “nones”). Of all U.S. adults married since 2010, almost one-in-five (18%) are in marriages between a Christian and a religiously unaffiliated spouse. This is true for only 5% of those who married before 1960. Read More

Topics: Intermarriage, Marriage and Divorce, Religion and Society, Religious Affiliation, Religious Beliefs and Practices

Jun 1, 2015 2:30 pm

The darkest side of online harassment: Menacing behavior

Forty percent of adult internet users have personally experienced some kind of online harassment, most of it involving things like name-calling or attempts to embarrass someone.

Online HarassmentBut there are also more menacing forms of harassment, such as physical threats. That was the focus of a decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned the conviction of a man who had made violent threats on Facebook against his estranged wife.

The case involved a Pennsylvania man who had written posts on the social media site saying that he wanted to slit the throat of his estranged wife. The argument pitted prosecutors against free-speech advocates over whether the man’s posts constituted a “true threat” or whether it was “protected speech” under the First Amendment. Read More

Topics: Internet Activities, Social Media