The recent passage of several highly restrictive abortion bills in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Missouri has led to increased speculation about the future of abortion access in the United States. When asked about the future of abortion last December – before these states acted – about three-in-four Americans said that, in 2050, abortion will either be legal but with some restrictions (55%) or legal with no restrictions (22%), a Pew Research Center survey found.
About one-in-five said abortion will be illegal 30 years from now, with 16% saying it will be illegal except in certain cases and 5% saying it will be illegal with no exceptions.
Some of the sponsors of the state anti-abortion measures see them as potential test cases that could bring the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court and lead to a reconsideration of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion decision.
Recently arrived U.S. immigrants are a growing part of the nation’s foreign-born population, which reached a record 44.4 million in 2017. Overall, their profile differs from immigrants who have been in the country longer.
About 7.6 million immigrants have lived in the country for five years or less. They make up 17% of the foreign-born population, a share that has returned to 2010 levels after a slight dip. Recently arrived immigrants have markedly different education, income and other characteristics from those who have been in the U.S. for more than a decade. Proposed changes to U.S. immigration laws could favor highly skilled immigrants, which could further change the demographics of the nation’s foreign-born population. U.S. adults support encouraging highly skilled people to immigrate and work in the U.S., according to a 2018 survey from Pew Research Center.
Across 27 nations surveyed by Pew Research Center in 2018, people were more dissatisfied than satisfied with the way democracy is working in their country. This held especially true in a dozen countries where negative views of democracy outpaced positive by more than 10 percentage points.
The 12 countries most dissatisfied with their democracy included four – Mexico, Greece, Brazil and Spain – where eight-in-ten or more were dissatisfied with the state of democracy, and another five where six-in-ten or more expressed dissatisfaction: Tunisia, Italy, South Africa, Argentina and Nigeria. The United States was close behind, with 58% expressing unhappiness with the way democracy is functioning.
People’s views of their country’s economy were strongly linked to their views of democracy. In nine of the 12 countries most dissatisfied with democracy, at least two-thirds of those who said their country’s current economic situation is bad also were dissatisfied with democracy. (In the remaining three – Greece, Tunisia and Brazil – so few people said the economy is good that the relationship between views of the economy and of democracy could not be analyzed. In these countries, 90% or more of the public was unhappy with the economy.)
Attitudes toward elected officials also often aligned with the degree to which people were satisfied or dissatisfied with democracy. In the 12 most dissatisfied countries, majorities said the statement “elected officials care what ordinary people think” does not describe elected officials well – a view especially common in Greece (90%), Argentina (79%), Spain (79%) and Brazil (78%). In the U.S., 58% described their country as one in which elected officials do not care about the people.
Rural Americans have made large gains in adopting digital technology over the past decade, but they generally remain less likely than urban or suburban adults to have home broadband or own a smartphone.
Roughly two-thirds of rural Americans (63%) say they have a broadband internet connection at home, up from about a third (35%) in 2007, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in early 2019. Rural Americans are now 12 percentage points less likely than Americans overall to have home broadband; in 2007, there was a 16-point gap between rural Americans (35%) and all U.S. adults (51%) on this question.
As is true for the nation as a whole, mobile technology use among rural adults has also risen rapidly, with the share of those owning smartphones and tablets increasing sharply since 2011. Ownership of desktop or laptop computers, by contrast, has only slightly risen since 2008.
The gap between rural and urban adults has narrowed for some devices like traditional and tablet computers, but rural adults still remain less likely than suburban adults to own these technologies.
More than 18 years after the Netherlands became the world’s first country to allow same-sex marriage, Austria became the latest European nation to legalize the practice. The change in Austria’s marriage laws on Jan. 1, 2019, was prompted by its highest court, which in 2017 ruled that the country was discriminating against gay and lesbian couples by not allowing them full marriage rights.
Austria is the 17th European jurisdiction to legalize gay marriage. This number counts England and Wales together and Scotland as a separate entity, since those parts of the United Kingdom passed two separate pieces of legislation on same-sex marriage. Northern Ireland, the other UK constituent state, has not legalized such marriages.
The three younger generations – those ages 18 to 53 in 2018 – reported casting 62.2 million votes, compared with 60.1 million cast by Baby Boomers and older generations. It’s not the first time the younger generations outvoted their elders: The same pattern occurred in the 2016 presidential election.
Higher turnout accounted for a significant portion of the increase. Millennials and Gen X together cast 21.9 million more votes in 2018 than in 2014. (The number of eligible voter Millennials and Gen Xers grew by 2.5 million over those four years, due to the number of naturalizations exceeding mortality.) And 4.5 million votes were cast by Gen Z voters, all of whom turned 18 since 2014.
By comparison, the number of votes cast by Boomer and older generations increased 3.6 million. Even this modest increase is noteworthy, since the number of eligible voters among these generations fell by 8.8 million between the elections, largely due to higher mortality among these generations.
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.
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.