Here are 10 facts about Americans and Facebook, based on Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019:
1Around seven-in-ten U.S. adults (69%) use Facebook, according to a survey conducted in early 2019. That’s unchanged since April 2016, but up from 54% of adults in August 2012.
With the exception of YouTube – the video-sharing platform used by 73% of adults – no other major social media platform comes close to Facebook in terms of usage. Around four-in-ten U.S. adults (37%) say they use Instagram, while smaller shares say they use Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp.
Partisan divides in the United States are as wide as they’ve ever been in the modern political era. But what about the large share of Americans who identify as independents?
A recent Pew Research Center report took a detailed look at these Americans. Among other things, it illustrated that independents have lower levels of political participation and are demographically different from those who affiliate with a party – and that their views are often as divided as those of self-identified partisans.
Here are six facts about political independents:
1Nearly four-in-ten U.S. adults (38%) identify as politically independent, but most “lean” toward one of the two major parties. Only 7% of Americans overall don’t express a partisan leaning, while 13% lean toward the Republican Party and 17% lean toward the Democratic Party.
As of the end of 2017, 96 out of 167 countries with populations of at least 500,000 (57%) were democracies of some kind, and only 21 (13%) were autocracies. Nearly four dozen other countries – 46, or 28% – exhibited elements of both democracy and autocracy. Broadly speaking, the share of democracies among the world’s governments has been on an upward trend since the mid-1970s, and now sits just shy of its post-World War II record (58% in 2016).
To track the spread of democracy around the globe, we used the ratings contained in the Center for Systemic Peace’s Polity IV dataset. Polity is a widely used resource in political science that analyzes and codes how political authority is gained and used in every fully independent state with a population of 500,000 or more (167 of the world’s 200 or so sovereign states in the current version).
Exposure to false or incorrect information is a key concern for people in 11 emerging economies, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Many social media users report being regularly exposed to misinformation when using the platforms. In most countries surveyed, more than a quarter of social media and messaging app users say they frequently encounter this sort of content, and majorities in 10 of the 11 countries say they see it at least occasionally.
About two-in-ten Americans (21%) say they have ever spoken with or been interviewed by a local journalist, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Among those who have, the likelihood varies by personal characteristics.
About 23% of whites have had this kind of interaction, compared with 19% of blacks and 14% of Hispanics, according to the survey, conducted Oct. 15-Nov. 8, 2018, among nearly 35,000 U.S. adults.
Older Americans are also more likely to have had personal contact with a local journalist: A quarter of U.S. adults ages 65 and over have done so, compared with 17% of those ages 18 to 29. (This may not come as a surprise: Since the question asked whether Americans have “ever” spoken to a local journalist, older adults have had more time – and a greater chance – to interact with a local reporter.)
These women, all seeking the same high political office, became mothers at different points in their careers – some while they were starting out in politics and others long before that.
Roughly half of Americans (51%) say it’s better for a woman who wants to reach high political office to have children before entering politics, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey on gender and leadership. About a quarter (26%) say it would be better to wait until she is well-established in her political career, while 19% say it would be better for a woman not to have children at all if she plans to seek higher office.
Views are different when it comes to leadership positions in the business world. About a quarter of Americans (23%) say it’s better for women who want to reach top executive jobs in business to have children early in their careers, 41% say they should wait and 34% say it’s better for them not to have children at all.
Church taxes are sometimes cited as one of a number of reasons for the decline in levels of religious commitment in Western Europe. Indeed, with mandatory church taxes linked to church membership and many Christians in the region already inclined to leave their faith, the added cost of the tax may be yet another incentive for people to step away.
But, in general, those countries that have a mandatory church tax aren’t any less religious than nations that don’t have such a tax, according to an analysis of a new Pew Research Center survey of Western Europe.
Among the 15 Western European countries we surveyed, six have mandatory taxes for members of the largest churches to help finance their activities – Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. While most registered Christians (and in some countries, members of other religious groups) in these countries are required to pay the tax, they have the option of not paying by deregistering from their church.
Here are some key findings about American mothers and motherhood from Pew Research Center reports:
1Women are more likely now to become mothers than they were a decade ago, and this is particularly the case among highly educated women. The share of women at the end of their childbearing years (ages 40 to 44) who had ever given birth was 86% in 2016, up from 80% in 2006. This was similar to the share who were mothers in the early 1990s.
Over the past 20 years, highly educated women have experienced particularly dramatic increases in motherhood. In 2014, 80% of women ages 40 to 44 with a Ph.D. or professional degree had given birth, compared with 65% in 1994.
The shares of women who were mothers also rose among those with bachelor’s or master’s degrees during this period, while rates of motherhood remained steady for women with less than a bachelor’s degree, at 88%.
2Women are becoming mothers later in life. The median age at which women become mothers in the U.S. is 26, up from 23 in 1994. While this change has been driven in part by declines in births to teens, delays in motherhood have continued among women in their 20s. In 1994, more than half (53%) of women in their early 40s had become mothers by age 24; by 2014, this share had fallen to 39%.
Thirty years after the debut of the World Wide Web, internet use, broadband adoption and smartphone ownership have grown rapidly for all Americans – including those who are less well-off financially. But even as many aspects of the digital divide have narrowed over time, the digital lives of lower- and higher-income Americans remain markedly different.
Roughly three-in-ten adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year (29%) don’t own a smartphone. More than four-in-ten don’t have home broadband services (44%) or a traditional computer (46%). And a majority of lower-income Americans are not tablet owners. By comparison, each of these technologies is nearly ubiquitous among adults in households earning $100,000 or more a year.
Higher-income Americans are also more likely to have multiple devices that enable them to go online. Roughly two-thirds of adults living in high-earning households (64%) have home broadband services, a smartphone, a desktop or laptop computer and a tablet, compared with 18% of those living in lower-income households.
While U.S. Jews have a strong attachment to Israel, they are divided in their assessment of Trump’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Roughly four-in-ten (42%) say they think Trump is favoring the Israelis too much, while a similar share (47%) say he is striking the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians. The rest either say he is favoring the Palestinians too much (6%) or they don’t know (4%).
By comparison, Christians in the United States are more likely to say Trump is striking the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians (59%) than to say Trump favors the Israelis too much (26%). Among evangelical Protestants, 72% say they think Trump strikes the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians, and just 15% say Trump favors the Israelis too much.
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.