Mar 2, 2018 4:00 pm

Many Italians are deeply pessimistic ahead of general election

Party logos on display at Italy's Interior Ministry ahead of the March 4 general elections. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)
Party logos on display at Italy’s Interior Ministry ahead of the March 4 general elections. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Pessimism and disaffection are widespread among Italians ahead of the country’s general election on Sunday. In a Pew Research Center survey conducted last fall, 82% of Italians said they distrust parliament and an equal share said the national economic situation is bad. About three-quarters (77%) said politicians don’t care what people like them think, including 59% who felt that way strongly.

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Topics: Western Europe, Europe

Mar 1, 2018 4:02 pm

5 facts about U.S. evangelical Protestants

The Rev. Billy Graham preaching in 1955. (Keystone/Getty Images)
The Rev. Billy Graham preaching in 1955. (Keystone/Getty Images)

The Rev. Billy Graham, who recently died at age 99, was one of the most influential and important evangelical Christian leaders of the 20th century. From humble beginnings in rural North Carolina, Graham went on to become a world famous evangelist who drew huge crowds while, at the same time, developing close relationships with several U.S. presidents.

Graham is probably best known for the nearly six decades he spent traveling the world, preaching and evangelizing to millions in his stadium crusades. Graham also cofounded Christianity Today magazine, which remains an important chronicle of evangelical life and culture. Finally, Graham will be remembered as the “pastor to presidents;” he befriended and advised presidents from both parties, including Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

As the country remembers Graham, here are five facts about American evangelical Protestants.

1About a quarter (25.4%) of U.S. adults identify with evangelical Protestantism, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. In that survey, evangelical Protestants are identified mainly on the basis of their affiliation with evangelical denominations (such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod or the Presbyterian Church in America, to name just a few) or with nondenominational evangelical churches. Evangelical Protestantism is the nation’s single largest religious group, exceeding the size of the nation’s Catholic (20.8%), mainline Protestant (14.7%) and religiously unaffiliated (22.8%) populations.

2The evangelical Protestant share of the population has dipped slightly in recent years (from 26.3% in 2007 to 25.4% in 2014), but more slowly than the mainline Protestant and Catholic populations. Though the percentage of Americans who identify with evangelical Protestant denominations has ticked downward, the absolute number of evangelicals appears to be rising as the overall U.S. population grows. In 2014, there were roughly 62.2 million evangelical Protestant adults, up from about 59.8 million in 2007.

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Topics: Christians and Christianity, Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Religious Affiliation, Religious Leaders

Mar 1, 2018 3:00 pm

Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation

Millennials are on the cusp of surpassing Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation, according to population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. As of July 1, 2016 (the latest date for which population estimates are available), Millennials, whom we define as ages 20 to 35 in 2016, numbered 71 million, and Boomers (ages 52 to 70) numbered 74 million. Millennials are expected to overtake Boomers in population in 2019 as their numbers swell to 73 million and Boomers decline to 72 million. Generation X (ages 36 to 51 in 2016) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.

The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand its ranks. Boomers – whose generation was defined by the boom in U.S. births following World War II – are aging and their numbers shrinking in size as the number of deaths among them exceeds the number of older immigrants arriving in the country.

Because generations are analytical constructs, it takes time for popular and expert consensus to develop as to the precise boundaries that demarcate one generation from another. Pew Research Center has assessed demographic, labor market, attitudinal and behavioral measures and has now established an endpoint – albeit inexact – for the Millennial generation. According to our revised definition, the youngest “Millennial” was born in 1996This post has been updated accordingly (see note below).

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Topics: Baby Boomers, Millennials, Generations and Age

Mar 1, 2018 2:01 pm

Defining generations: Where Millennials end and post-Millennials begin

For decades, Pew Research Center has been committed to measuring public attitudes on key issues and documenting differences in those attitudes across demographic groups. One lens often employed by researchers at the Center to understand these differences is that of generation.

Generations provide the opportunity to look at Americans both by their place in the life cycle – whether a young adult, a middle-aged parent or a retiree – and by their membership in a cohort of individuals who were born at a similar time.

Michael Dimock, president of Pew Research Center

As we’ve examined in past work, generational cohorts give researchers a tool to analyze changes in views over time. They can provide a way to understand how different formative experiences (such as world events and technological, economic and social shifts) interact with the life-cycle and aging process to shape people’s views of the world. While younger and older adults may differ in their views at a given moment, generational cohorts allow researchers to examine how today’s older adults felt about a given issue when they themselves were young, as well as to describe how the trajectory of views might differ across generations.

Pew Research Center has been studying the Millennial generation for more than a decade. But as we enter 2018, it’s become clear to us that it’s time to determine a cutoff point between Millennials and the next generation. Turning 37 this year, the oldest Millennials are well into adulthood, and they first entered adulthood before today’s youngest adults were born.

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Topics: Baby Boomers, Millennials, Generations and Age

Feb 28, 2018 12:30 pm

International migration from sub-Saharan Africa has grown dramatically since 2010

Sub-Saharan African nations account for eight of the 10 fastest growing international migrant populations since 2010, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest United Nations data on the number of emigrants, or people living outside their country of birth.

The number of emigrants from each of these sub-Saharan countries grew by 50% or more between 2010 and 2017, significantly more than the 17% worldwide average increase for the same period. At the country level, only Syria had a higher rate of growth in its number of people living in other countries.

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Topics: Migration, Sub-Saharan Africa

Feb 26, 2018 6:56 am

Key facts about U.S. immigration policies and proposed changes

(From left, Scott Olson; Salwan Georges/The Washington Post; and Jessica Hill/For The Washington Post, all via Getty Images)
(From left, Scott Olson; Salwan Georges/The Washington Post; and Jessica Hill/For The Washington Post, all via Getty Images)

Nearly 34 million lawful immigrants live in the United States. Many live and work in the country after receiving lawful permanent residence (also known as a green card), while others receive temporary visas available to students and workers. In addition, roughly 1 million unauthorized immigrants have temporary permission to live and work in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status programs.

For years, proposals have sought to shift the nation’s immigration system away from its current emphasis on family reunification and employment-based migration, and toward a points-based system that prioritizes the admission of immigrants with certain education and employment qualifications. These proposals have received renewed attention under the Trump administration. Here are key details about existing U.S. immigration programs:

Family-based immigration

In fiscal 2016, 804,793 people received family-based U.S. lawful permanent residence. This program allows someone to receive a green card if they already have a spouse, child, sibling or parent living in the country with U.S. citizenship or, in some cases, a green card. Immigrants from countries with large numbers of applicants often wait for years to receive a green card because a single country can account for no more than 7% of all green cards issued annually. President Donald Trump has proposed restricting family-based green cards to only spouses and minor children. For other family members, a Senate bill would make a limited number of green cards available under a skills-based point system. Today, family-based immigration – referred to by some as “chain migration” – is the most common way people gain green cards, in recent years accounting for about 70% of the more than 1 million people who receive them annually.

Refugee admissions

The U.S. admitted 84,995 refugees in fiscal 2016, a total that declined to 53,716 in fiscal 2017 – the fewest admissions since 2007. This decline reflects a lower admissions cap. For fiscal 2018, refugee admissions have been capped at 45,000, the lowest since Congress created the modern refugee program in 1980 for those fleeing persecution in their home countries. One of Trump’s first acts as president in 2017 was to freeze refugee admissions, citing security concerns. Admissions from most countries eventually restarted, though applicants from 11 nations deemed “high risk” by the administration were admitted on a case-by-case basis. In January 2018, refugee admissions resumed for all countries.

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Topics: Unauthorized Immigration, Immigration Trends, Migration, Immigration

Feb 23, 2018 4:46 pm

In 2017, Americans narrowly opposed allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns

The recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida, has reignited a national debate about guns in America. In particular, as the conversation has focused on how to keep children safe in schools, the idea of arming some teachers has garnered attention. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that more than half of U.S. adults (55%) would oppose allowing teachers and officials to carry guns in K-12 schools, including 36% who said they would strongly oppose such a proposal. Still, a sizable minority (45%) said they favored allowing teachers to carry guns in schools.

Parents with children younger than 18 in the household were no more or less likely than non-parents to express support for allowing teachers to carry guns in schools: 46% of parents and 44% of non-parents said they would favor it. Instead, opinions divided primarily along party lines and by gun ownership status, with Republicans and those who own guns particularly likely to say they would support allowing teachers to carry guns in schools.

About seven-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (69%) said they would favor allowing teachers to carry guns in schools. In contrast, just about a quarter of Democrats and those Democratic leaners (26%) shared this view. Similarly, while a majority of gun owners (66%) said they would support this proposal, about a third of non-gun owners (35%) said the same.

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Topics: Gun Policy, Education, Violence and Society

Feb 22, 2018 4:07 pm

5 facts about blacks in the U.S.

Angel C. Dye (left) celebrates her graduation from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with her friend Renee Walter on May 13, 2017. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Angel C. Dye (left) celebrates her graduation from Howard University in Washington, D.C., with her friend Renee Walter on May 13, 2017. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

More than 40 million blacks live in the United States, making up around 13% of the nation’s population, according to 2016 Census Bureau estimatesHere are five facts about the U.S. black population today, drawn from Pew Research Center studies in the past year.

1A growing share of blacks are completing high school and college. For the first time in U.S. history, 90% of Americans ages 25 and older have completed high school, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – and the share of blacks who have done so is also at the highest level on record. In 2017, 87% of blacks ages 25 and older had a high school diploma or equivalent. Although the high school completion rate for non-Hispanic whites was higher (94%) than for blacks, the gap has been gradually shrinking. In 1993, the high school completion gap was twice as large (14 percentage points) as it is today (7 points). The share of blacks ages 25 and older who have completed four years of college or more has also roughly doubled during that span, from 12% in 1993 to 24% in 2017.

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Topics: African Americans, Race and Ethnicity

Feb 15, 2018 2:31 pm

Most immigrants arrested by ICE have prior criminal convictions, a big change from 2009

Immigrants with past criminal convictions accounted for 74% of all arrests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in fiscal 2017, according to data from the agency. The remainder were classified as “non-criminal” arrestees, including 16% with pending criminal charges and 11% with no known criminal convictions or charges.

The profile of arrestees by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations has changed considerably in the past eight years: In fiscal 2009, the earliest year with comparable data, immigrants without past criminal convictions accounted for the majority (61%) of those arrested by the agency.

Overall, the number of ICE arrests decreased sharply during that span, from 297,898 in 2009 (the year President Barack Obama came into office) to 143,470 in 2017 (when President Donald Trump took office). However, last year’s total represented a 30% increase from the year before, with most of the increase coming after Trump signed an executive order to step up enforcement.

While ICE arrests overall rose from 2016 to 2017, arrests for those without prior convictions drove the increase. The number of arrestees without known convictions increased 146% (up more than 22,000 arrests), compared with a 12% rise among those with past criminal convictions (up nearly 11,000). Still, the bulk of those arrested in 2016 and 2017 had prior convictions.

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Topics: Criminal Justice, Migration, Immigration

Feb 15, 2018 10:04 am

Q&A: The growing use of ‘voter files’ in studying the U.S. electorate

(Saul Gravy/Getty Images)
(Saul Gravy/Getty Images)

Since the rise of modern survey research three-quarters of a century ago, much of what we know about voter attitudes has been based on interviews with random samples of voters, sometimes combined with tallies of actual votes and the characteristics of voters in particular locations. But relatively new technologies and public policy changes have given pollsters, academics and other researchers – not to mention candidates and political professionals – a potentially powerful new tool for probing the electorate: digital databases that claim to cover most of the U.S. adult population.

Despite their widespread use, these national databases (commonly called “voter files”) are little known by the general public and haven’t received much scholarly attention. Pew Research Center’s Ruth Igielnik, a research associate, and Senior Survey Advisor Scott Keeter recently released an extensive study of the completeness and accuracy of commercially available voter files, which they assessed by matching participants from the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel to five different voter files. We asked Keeter and Igielnik to talk about their work, including how voter files are built and what they’re used for. Their replies have been edited for clarity and concision. Read More

Topics: Voter Participation, Research Methods