Public support for the separation of church and state is widespread in Western Europe, even in countries that have a government-mandated church tax to fund religious institutions, according to a new analysis of a recent Pew Research Center study.
Majorities of adults in six countries with a mandatory church tax for members of major religious groups – Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland – agree with the statement “religion should be kept separate from government policies,” rather than favoring the alternate position that “government should promote religious values and beliefs in the country.” Majorities in several other Western European countries that don’t have a church tax also support church-state separation.
As the Center’s recent study noted, churches and (in some cases) other religious institutions in several Western European countries are funded through a mandatory tax on registered members. People can opt out of the tax by deregistering from their churches, but roughly seven-in-ten or more of respondents in the surveyed church-tax countries say they pay the tax.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans are by some measures less religious than heterosexual or straight adults, according to a new analysis of data from Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study.
For starters, gay, lesbian and bisexual adults are substantially less likely than straight adults to affiliate with a religious group. Four-in-ten (41%) identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” compared with just 22% of straight adults who say the same. (The survey asked respondents whether they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight but did not ask about other identities related to gender and sexuality.)
A similar dynamic is at work when it comes to religious service attendance, which is one of the most standard measures of religious participation. About two-in-ten bisexuals (19%) and 16% of lesbian and gay Americans say they attend religious services weekly. By comparison, 36% of straight adults attend a house of worship regularly.
LGB Americans – who make up 5% of respondents in the survey – also are much less likely to say that scripture is the word of God, with 38% of bisexuals and 33% of gays and lesbians saying this. By comparison, 61% of straight Americans see the Bible or other holy scripture as God’s word. Likewise, while about a third of gays, lesbians and bisexuals (34%) say that religion is very important in their lives, more than half of straight Americans say this (54%).
Unauthorized immigrants in the United States are better at speaking English and more educated than they were a decade ago, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on government data.
In 2016, a third of unauthorized immigrant adults were proficient in English – meaning they either spoke only English at home or rated themselves as speaking English very well – up from a quarter in 2007. And the share of unauthorized immigrants ages 25 to 64 with a college degree ticked up to 17% in 2016, compared with 15% in 2007.
Despite these gains, unauthorized immigrants remain much less likely than lawful immigrants to be proficient in English (34% vs. 57% in 2016) or hold a college degree (17% vs. 37%).
Asian Americans are the fastest-growing major racial or ethnic group in the United States. More than 20 million Asians live in the U.S., and almost all trace their roots to 19 origin groups from East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
Significant differences exist by income, education and other characteristics among the nation’s largest 19 Asian origin groups. These differences have been central to debates about how much data governments, colleges and other groups should collect about Asian origin groups, and whether it should be used to shape policies.
Here are some key differences between Asian origin groups in the U.S. and how they compare with Asian Americans overall.
1Six origin groups – Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese – accounted for 85% of all Asian Americans as of 2015. These groups together largely shape the overall demographic characteristics of Asian Americans. The remaining 13 origin groups each made up 2% or less of the nation’s Asian population. These groups have a variety of characteristics that can differ greatly from the largest groups.
Elections to the European Parliament haven’t always been the highest-profile of political contests – the twice-a-decade campaigns typically draw far fewer voters to the polls than corresponding national elections. But this week’s voting, scheduled for May 23-26 in the European Union’s 28 member countries, is being more closely scrutinized than usual. Right-wing populist parties are looking to dramatically increase their presence in the 751-seat assembly, the only directly elected piece of the EU’s complex constitutional machinery; one observer calls the vote “something of a referendum on the whole 60-year European Union experiment.”
One might expect that members of the European Parliament (or MEPs) would, by the nature of their office, generally support the goals, policies and institutions of the EU. But for as long as there’s been a directly elected Parliament there have been Euroskeptic members. (Nigel Farage, who was the prime mover behind Britain’s 2016 referendum on EU membership and now heads the Brexit Party, has been an elected MEP since 1999.)
While there are many strands of Euroskepticism throughout the EU, political observers and academic researchers often distinguish between “hard” and “soft” varieties. Hard Euroskepticism has been defined as “a principled opposition to the EU and European integration,” while soft Euroskepticism refers to opposition to specific EU policy areas or “a sense that ‘national interest’ is currently at odds with the EU’s trajectory.”
For the fourth year running, a key U.S. fertility rate has reached a record low, according to the most recent government figures. To some, this is cause for hand-wringing, as concerns arise that fewer births will spell problems for the nation’s economy; while others, concerned about limited natural resources, may look positively on the decline.
But aside from this debate, the question remains: Is this really a record low? The short answer is, it’s complicated, because there are different ways to measure fertility.
Three of the most commonly used indicators are the general fertility rate (GFR), completed fertility, and the total fertility rate (TFR). All three reflect fertility behavior in slightly different ways – respectively, in terms of the annual rate at which women are presently having kids; the number of kids they ultimately have; or the hypothetical number they would likely have based on present fertility patterns.
None of these indicators is “right” or “wrong,” but for years each measure told a different story about when fertility bottomed out. For the first time in decades, two of the three measures – the GFR and the TFR – now align, indicating that fertility hit a record low in 2018. Meanwhile, data for 2018 completed fertility is not yet available, but 2016 data indicates that it has been ticking up, not down, in recent years.
The latest report from the National Center for Health Statistics used the general fertility rate to show that for every 1,000 women of childbearing age – typically defined as ages 15 to 44 – there were 59.0 births in 2018. Like all the fertility measures discussed here, the GFR is not affected by the overall population size or the share of the population that consists of women of childbearing age. However, it is affected by changes in the age distribution among women of childbearing age; the higher the share of women in their peak childbearing years, the higher the general fertility rate will be, all else being equal (and vice versa).
Black Americans are far more likely than whites to say the nation’s criminal justice system is racially biased and that its treatment of minorities is a serious national problem.
In a recent Pew Research Center survey, around nine-in-ten black adults (87%) said blacks are generally treated less fairly by the criminal justice system than whites, a view shared by a much smaller majority of white adults (61%). And in a survey shortly before last year’s midterm elections, 79% of blacks – compared with 32% of whites – said the way racial and ethnic minorities are treated by the criminal justice system is a very big problem in the United States today.
Racial differences in views of the criminal justice system are not limited to the perceived fairness of the system as a whole. Black and white adults also differ across a range of other criminal justice-related questions asked by the Center in recent years, on subjects ranging from crime and policing to the use of computer algorithms in parole decisions.
Many Europeans will head to the polls later this month to elect a new European Parliament, the directly elected legislative body of the European Union. The voting comes as the EU faces a number of challenges, including the United Kingdom’s planned departure from the bloc and public concerns about the economy, refugees and other issues. Some observers have suggested that this year’s elections could serve as a referendum on the entire European experiment.
Here’s an overview of how Europeans in 10 EU member states feel about key institutions and issues ahead of the elections, based on data from Pew Research Center’s spring 2018 Global Attitudes Survey:
1People tend to have a more favorable opinion of the EU than of the European Parliament. Across 10 surveyed EU countries, a median of 62% see the EU favorably, compared with a median of 50% who see the European Parliament favorably. The UK and Greece stand out for their negative assessments of both. In two of the EU’s biggest countries – France and Germany – majorities have a favorable view of the EU, but views of the European Parliament are divided.
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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.
The Trump administration has announced a proposal that would grant green cards to immigrants who meet requirements related to education, age and English-speaking ability. The administration has previously proposed regulation that would deny immigrants entry to the U.S. or lawful permanent residence if they are likely to use Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) and other forms of public assistance. Here are key details about existing U.S. immigration programs:
In fiscal 2017, 748,746 people received family-based U.S. lawful permanent residence. The 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 said his legislation, when proposed, would prioritize family-based green cards to immediate family members. 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 two-thirds of the more than 1 million people who receive them annually. This share could decline to about one-third under the president’s proposal. Read More →
While ideas about religious liberty and tolerance are central to America’s founding and national story, different religious groups – including Catholics, Jews and Mormons – have suffered discrimination in the United States at various points in history. Today, Americans say some religious groups continue to be discriminated against and disadvantaged, according to an analysis of recent Pew Research Center surveys.
Most American adults (82%) say Muslims are subject to at least some discrimination in the U.S. today, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March – including a majority (56%) who say Muslims are discriminated against a lot.
Among U.S. Muslims themselves, many say they have experienced specific instances of discrimination, including being treated with suspicion, singled out by airport security or called offensive names, according to a 2017 survey of Muslim Americans.
In this year’s survey, roughly two-thirds of Americans (64%) also say Jews face at least some discrimination in the U.S., up 20 percentage points from the last time this question was asked in 2016. More say Jews face some discrimination than a lot (39% vs. 24%).
About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.