Organizations that advocate for legal abortion often frame it as a women’s rights issue. But in many European countries and the United States, women do not differ significantly from men in their views about abortion, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from 34 European nations and the U.S.
In Europe, regardless of the overall support for legal abortion, women and men in 27 of the 34 countries surveyed do not differ significantly in their views about whether abortion should be legal. For example, roughly three-quarters of women and men in Germany say this (76% and 77%, respectively). The same is true in countries with lower overall support for legal abortion, like Greece, where 45% of both adult men and women say abortion should be legal.
This pattern holds in the U.S., where 60% of women and 57% of men favor legal abortion.
In a handful of European countries, women and men do differ in their views on abortion, although not always in the same direction. For example, in countries including Armenia and Lithuania, women are more likely than men to say abortion should be legal. By contrast, Portuguese and Norwegian women are less likely than men to say abortion should be legal.
Pew Research Center takes the pulse of Americans and people around the world on a host of issues every year. We explore public opinion on topics ranging from foreign policy to cyberbullying, as well as demographic trends, such as the emergence of the post-Millennial generation and changes in the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Here are 18 of this year’s standout findings, taken from our analyses over the past year.
1Post-Millennials – today’s 6- to 21-year-olds, also known as Generation Z – are on track to be the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet. A bare majority of post-Millennials are non-Hispanic white (52%), while a quarter are Hispanic. And while most post-Millennials are still pursuing their K-12 education, the oldest members of this generation are enrolling in college at a significantly higher rate than Millennials were at a comparable age.
Americans are becoming less reliant on physical currency. Roughly three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) say they make no purchases using cash during a typical week, up slightly from 24% in 2015. And the share who say that all or almost all of their weekly purchases are made using cash has modestly decreased, from 24% in 2015 to 18% today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that comes as some businesses experiment with becoming cashless establishments.
About seven-in-ten U.S. parents younger than 50 (71%) say it’s unlikely they will have more children in the future – and among childless adults in the same age group, about four-in-ten (37%) say they don’t ever expect to become parents, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in July and August.
Among parents under 50, four-in-ten say they’re not likely to have more kids in the future because they just don’t want to, while 30% point to some other reason for not expecting to have more kids, according to the survey. Among childless adults under 50, meanwhile, around a quarter (23%) say they’re unlikely to have children in the future because they just don’t want to, while 14% name some other reason for not expecting to have kids.
Parents ages 40 to 49 stand out as being far more likely than those under 40 to say they don’t expect to have more children. About nine-in-ten parents ages 40 to 49 (91%) say they are unlikely to have more children in the future, compared with 56% of parents younger than 40. Three-in-ten childless adults in this younger age group say they are unlikely to become parents someday (there are too few childless adults ages 40 to 49 in the sample to analyze them separately).
Rural Americans are more likely than people in urban and suburban areas to say access to good doctors and hospitals is a major problem in their community. Nearly a quarter (23%) of Americans in rural areas say this, compared with 18% of urbanites and 9% of suburbanites, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year.
One factor that may contribute to this view is that getting to a hospital is a longer trip – both in distance and time – for people in rural areas than those in suburbs and cities. Rural Americans live an average of 10.5 miles from the nearest hospital, compared with 5.6 miles for people in suburban areas and 4.4 for those in urban areas, according to a new Center analysis. Taking local traffic patterns into account, that works out to a travel time of 17 minutes for people who live in rural communities, 12 minutes for those in suburban areas and 10 minutes for those in urban areas.
The analysis plots the distance from the nearest acute care facility for a representative sample of more than 10,000 U.S. adults included in the Center’s American Trends Panel. (In this analysis, community types are self-described; that is, survey respondents are asked whether they live in a rural, suburban or urban area.)
After bottoming out in 2011, incomes are rising for American households – and those headed by a Millennial (someone age 22 to 37) now earn more than young adult households did at nearly any time in the past 50 years, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new census data.
The growth in household incomes among young adults has been driven in part by Millennial women, who are working more – and being paid more – than young women were in previous years.
Incomes of households headed by 54- to 72-year-olds, Baby Boomers today, are at record levels, while those of current Generation X households (ages 38 to 53) are about the same as the peak earnings of similarly aged households in the past.
The median adjusted income in a household headed by a Millennial was $69,000 in 2017. That is a higher figure than for nearly every other year on record, apart from around 2000, when households headed by people ages 22 to 37 earned about the same amount – $67,600 in inflation-adjusted dollars. (A recent study by the Federal Reserve, which also looked at Millennials’ income, used a different methodology and data source.)
Social media sites have surpassed print newspapers as a news source for Americans: One-in-five U.S. adults say they often get news via social media, slightly higher than the share who often do so from print newspapers (16%) for the first time since Pew Research Center began asking these questions. In 2017, the portion who got news via social media was about equal to the portion who got news from print newspapers.
Overall, television is still the most popular platform for news consumption – even though its use has declined since 2016. News websites are the next most common source, followed by radio, and finally social media sites and print newspapers. And when looking at online news use combined – the percentage of Americans who get news often from either news websites or social media – the web has closed in on television as a source for news (43% of adults get news often from news websites or social media, compared with 49% for television).
As the number of international migrants reaches new highs, people around the world show little appetite for more migration – both into and out of their countries, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 27 nations conducted in the spring of 2018.
Across the countries surveyed, a median of 45% say fewer or no immigrants should be allowed to move to their country, while 36% say they want about the same number of immigrants. Just 14% say their countries should allow more immigrants. (Those who said no immigrants should be allowed volunteered this response.)
In Europe, majorities in Greece (82%), Hungary (72%), Italy (71%) and Germany (58%) say fewer immigrants or no immigrants at all should be allowed to move to their countries. Each of these countries served as some of the most popular transit or destination countries during Europe’s recent surge in asylum seekers. (In several countries, most disapprove of how the European Union has handled the refugee issue.)
People in other countries around the world hold views similar to those in Europe. Large majorities in Israel (73%), Russia (67%), South Africa (65%) and Argentina (61%) say their countries should let in fewer immigrants. In every country surveyed, less than a third say their nation should allow more immigrants to enter.
When Republicans lost their House majority in this year’s midterm elections, the toll was especially high among GOP moderates, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.
Among the Republican House incumbents who lost their re-election campaigns, 23 of 30 were more moderate than the median Republican in the chamber. No Democratic incumbents running for re-election in the House lost their seats. (This analysis excludes the election in New York’s 27th Congressional District, where votes are being recounted. Incumbent Republican Rep. Chris Collins ran for re-election against Democrat Nate McMurray.)
Have you smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your life? Have you practiced yoga in the past year? On average, how many hours of sleep do you get in a day?
At face value, these questions are not directly related to the topics Pew Research Center is most committed to studying. Yet our researchers have been periodically asking questions like these for years. Why? These are examples of benchmarking questions, which the Center uses as a check to ensure that our surveys are accurate.
Why and how we use benchmarking questions
Determining the accuracy of a survey requires some sort of objective standard against which the survey can be compared. In election polls and other measures of voting intent, the standard is the outcome of the election. But for surveys that don’t ask about elections or voting intent, researchers need to find another way to benchmark their findings. This is often done with the help of other surveys – usually large, expensive, government surveys conducted with great attention to data quality.
Pew Research Center surveys occasionally include questions about economic, demographic and lifestyle characteristics for which government statistics are available as a benchmark. This not only helps us check the accuracy of our findings, it also helps us study how surveys themselves can be better conducted.
Take, for example, a Pew Research Center study from last year that examined what low response rates – many potential respondents being contacted but far fewer of them participating – mean for the accuracy of telephone surveys. To help answer this question, the study compared the results of a telephone survey by the Center with those of high-response, benchmark surveys by the federal government to see what, if any, differences existed.
The report found that Pew Research Center surveys were closely aligned with federal surveys on key demographic and lifestyle benchmarks. Across 14 questions about personal traits, the average difference between the government estimate and the Center’s telephone survey estimate was 3 percentage points. Differences on individual questions ranged from 0 to 8 points. The largest was on a measure asking respondents about their health status: The government found that 59% of people rated their health as very good or excellent, while the Center’s telephone survey found 51% doing so.
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.