The World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, has historically served several public health functions, including fighting communicable and non-communicable diseases. It has played a high-profile role in addressing the global spread of the coronavirus, which it characterized as a pandemic in early March. But in mid-April, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered his administration to halt U.S. funding of the organization, accusing it of making a series of consequential mistakes in its handling of COVID-19. On May 29, Trump announced that he would seek to terminate the country’s relationship with the WHO completely and redirect funds toward other world public health needs.
Amid scrutiny of the WHO, here are key facts about the organization and how Americans see it. Read More →
The COVID-19 outbreak and the economic downturn it engendered swelled the ranks of unemployed Americans by more than 14 million, from 6.2 million in February to 20.5 million in May 2020. As a result, the U.S. unemployment rate shot up from 3.8% in February – among the lowest on record in the post-World War II era – to 13.0% in May. That rate was the era’s second highest, trailing only the level reached in April (14.4%).
The rise in the number of unemployed workers due to COVID-19 is substantially greater than the increase due to the Great Recession, when the number unemployed increased by 8.8 million from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2010. The Great Recession, which officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, pushed the unemployment rate to a peak of 10.6% in January 2010, considerably less than the rate currently, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Read More →
As nationwide protests continue over police brutality and the death of George Floyd, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, which is often used in connection with police-related deaths of black Americans, has been used roughly 47.8 million times on Twitter – an average of just under 3.7 million times per day – from May 26 to June 7, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of publicly available tweets.
Politically, Taiwan is often a flashpoint in U.S.-China relations, caught between the two superpowers and pulled in both directions. When it comes to public views of the superpowers, there is little ambiguity: Adults in Taiwan have much more favorable views of the U.S. than mainland China and, by a wide margin, prefer closer political relations with Washington than Beijing. But when it comes to economic relations, some in the region are more willing to work with both Beijing and Washington, rather than choosing one or the other, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.
Among adults in Taiwan, favorable views of the U.S. generally come at the expense of mainland China. A plurality of 42% hold favorable views of the U.S. and unfavorable views of the mainland. Just 11% of adults in Taiwan report positive attitudes toward mainland China but not toward the U.S. Roughly a quarter voice favorable opinions of both countries, and about two-in-ten see both the U.S. and mainland China in a negative light.
Americans generally agree that immigrants – whether undocumented or living legally in the country – mostly do not work in jobs that U.S. citizens want, with a majority saying so across racial and ethnic groups and among both political parties. This is particularly true when it comes to undocumented immigrants. About three-quarters of adults (77%) say undocumented immigrants mostly fill jobs U.S. citizens do not want, while 21% say undocumented immigrants fill jobs U.S. citizens would like to have, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 29 to May 5. Read More →
The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has been unsparing in its impact on the U.S. labor market. The number of employed workers fell by 24.7 million from February to April 2020 as the outbreak shuttered many parts of the economy. With the easing of government-mandated closures in recent weeks, employment picked up by 4.1 million from April to May. But overall, job losses remain sizable, with employment decreasing by 20.6 million (or 13%) from February to May. The downturn has affected some Americans more than others, particularly Hispanic women, immigrants, young adults and those with less education.
The decrease in employment in the first three months of the COVID-19 recession is more than double the decrease effected by the Great Recession over two years. From the end of 2007 to the end of 2009, U.S. employment fell by 8.0 million, or 5%. In addition, the impact of the COVID-19 recession on several groups of workers varies notably from their experiences in the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
The Trump administration is reportedly planning to withdraw 9,500 American troops from Germany by September. The withdrawal would represent a decrease of more than 25% of the roughly 35,000 total American troops based in Germany, where the United States has had a military presence since the end of World War II.
Pew Research Center and Körber-Stiftung have conducted parallel surveys in the U.S. and Germany in recent years to learn more about the way Americans and Germans perceive the relationship between their countries. Based on these and other surveys, here are some fast facts about how people in the two nations see the importance of American military bases in Germany, as well as broader questions about security issues.
Just a month before Floyd’s death, a Pew Research Center survey found that 78% of Americans overall – but a far smaller share of black Americans (56%) – said they had at least a fair amount of confidence in police officers to act in the best interests of the public. By contrast, large majorities of white (84%) and Hispanic (74%) adults expressed at least a fair amount of confidence. These views – and the wide racial and ethnic gap in opinions – had changed little over the prior few years. Read More →
Black Americans, a group that has been hit disproportionately hard by the coronavirus outbreak, have been paying closer attention to many elements of the outbreak – and discussing it more frequently with other people – than other U.S. adults, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted before nationwide protests began over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
But black adults were much more likely than whites and somewhat more likely than Hispanic adults to frequently discuss the COVID-19 outbreak with other people. Roughly a quarter (26%) of black adults said they discuss it almost all the time, more than twice the 10% of white adults who said the same, and more than the 19% of Hispanic adults who said the same.
At Pew Research Center, we collect and analyze data in a variety of ways. Besides asking people what they think through surveys, we also regularly study things like images, videos and even the text of religious sermons.
In a digital world full of ever-expanding datasets like these, it’s not always possible for humans to analyze such vast troves of information themselves. That’s why our researchers have increasingly made use of a method called machine learning. Broadly speaking, machine learning uses computer programs to identify patterns across thousands or even millions of data points. In many ways, these techniques automate tasks that researchers have done by hand for years. Read More →
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.