Black Americans have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, accounting for a disproportionate share of COVID-19 deaths. At the same time, they stand out from other racial and ethnic groups in their attitudes toward key health care questions associated with the outbreak. In particular, black adults are more hesitant to trust medical scientists, embrace the use of experimental medical treatments and sign up for a potential vaccine to combat the illness, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
Nationally, black Americans account for about 13% of the U.S. population but 24% of the coronavirus deaths for which racial or ethnic information was available as of June 2, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
The disparity is particularly wide in some states. In Kansas and Wisconsin, black people account for 6% of each state’s population but 29% and 26% of deaths, respectively – the biggest proportional disparities out of the states for which demographic data on coronavirus deaths is available. In Missouri, blacks account for 12% of the population but 37% of deaths. In eight states overall, the black share of coronavirus deaths is at least twice as high as the black share of the population.
Public health experts have offered a mix of explanations for these disparities. They include higher rates of preexisting health conditions that increase the risk of complications from the coronavirus; social and economic factors that contribute to health risk; and long-standing inequities in health care access and outcomes for black Americans compared with other racial and ethnic groups. Read More →
Days of protests across the United States in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the custody of Minneapolis police have brought new attention to questions about police officers’ attitudes toward black Americans, protesters and others. The public’s views of the police, in turn, are also in the spotlight. Here’s a roundup of Pew Research Center survey findings from the past few years about the intersection of race and law enforcement. Read More →
Many Americans are anticipating changes in the global balance of power and the importance of international cooperation even as the coronavirus outbreak continues to rage across the United States and around the world, according to three recent Pew Research Center surveys. Americans are divided in their outlooks, mainly along ideological lines, but are more united on opinions relating to China’s place in the world.
Here are four key findings on how Americans view the reshaping of international relations from surveys of U.S. adults conducted from March to May 2020. Read More →
President Donald Trump this week signed an executive order aimed at discouraging social media companies from censoring posts. The order follows a decision by Twitter earlier in the week to add fact-checking labels to two of Trump’s tweets, even as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he doesn’t believe internet companies should fact-check political speech.
Amid the back-and-forth between Twitter and perhaps its most high-profile user, here are some fast facts about Americans’ attitudes toward social media companies, based on Pew Research Center surveys of U.S. adults fielded before the current controversy. Read More →
Americans’ anxieties about privacy extend to the realm of digital romance. Some 30% of U.S. adults say they have ever used a dating app or site, and among them, a majority (57%) report being either very or somewhat concerned about how much data such services collect about them.
Older online daters tend to be more worried about this type of data collection than their younger counterparts. About half (48%) of online dating users ages 18 to 29 say they are very or somewhat concerned about data collection, while larger majorities of older users express concern. Online dating users 50 and older are especially likely to be “very” concerned about data collection. There are also modest differences by gender among online daters, with women more concerned than men.
Personal experiences with and beliefs about online dating also tie in with people’s concerns about data collection. Groups who are more concerned about data collection include those who have had negative experiences with online dating, those who believe online dating has had a mostly negative impact on dating and relationships, and those who believe privacy violations are very or somewhat common on dating sites or apps.
About three-in-ten U.S. adults (28%) say they are very confident that they would know what steps to take to check the accuracy of news and information about the coronavirus outbreak. A slightly smaller portion (22%) say they are not too or not at all confident, while the largest share – around half (49%) – express some confidence. These findings come from a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 20 to 26 among 10,139 adults who are part of the Center’s American Trends Panel.
Americans’ confidence in checking COVID-19 information aligns closely with their confidence in checking the accuracy of news stories more broadly. In early 2019, 29% of Americans said they were very confident that they would know what steps to take to check the accuracy of news stories (regardless of the specific subject matter), and 24% said they were not too or not at all confident. Again, the largest share (46%) said they were somewhat confident. Read More →
The coronavirus outbreak has taken the lives of nearly 100,000 Americans. Yet since the start of the outbreak, the death toll has been concentrated in a just a few places – mostly large metropolitan areas, especially the New York City area.
The places hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak – which have relatively large shares of ethnic and racial minorities and residents living in densely populated urban and suburban areas – are almost all represented by congressional Democrats.
A new Pew Research Center analysis of data on official reports of COVID-19 deaths, collected by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, finds that, as of last week, nearly a quarter of all the deaths in the United States attributed to the coronavirus have been in just 12 congressional districts – all located in New York City and represented by Democrats in Congress. Of the more than 92,000 Americans who had died of COVID-19 as of May 20 (the date that the data in this analysis was collected), nearly 75,000 were in Democratic congressional districts.
Pew Research Center conducted this analysis to understand how the geographic impact of the coronavirus outbreak corresponds with the political geography of the United States. For this analysis, we relied on official reports of deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.
This analysis required congressional-district-level estimates of the number of deaths attributed to COVID-19. To generate these estimates, researchers used the available county-level figures (collected and reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University). However, many counties are divided across two or more congressional districts. In cases where a county is divided across multiple congressional districts, the deaths in that county were proportionally assigned to the congressional districts the county falls into based on the share of its population that falls into each district (using the Geocorr tool from the Missouri Census Data Center).
The estimates provided in this report are subject to several sources of error. In addition to the mismatch between county geography and congressional districts, there may be significant differences between the true number of deaths due to COVID-19 and the official reported counts of those deaths. There may also be variation across the states in the quality and types of data reported.
Relatively few Americans say they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, but many more believe they may have been infected or say they personally know someone who has been diagnosed.
Only 2% of U.S. adults say they have been officially diagnosed with COVID-19 by a health care provider, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. And 2% say they have taken a blood test that showed they have COVID-19 antibodies, an indication that they previously had the coronavirus. But many more Americans (14%) say they are “pretty sure” they had COVID-19, despite not getting an official diagnosis. And nearly four-in-ten (38%) say they’ve taken their temperature to check if they might have the disease. Read More →
In a campaign season profoundly disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, about half of U.S. adults say they are fairly closely or very closely following news about the candidates for the 2020 presidential election. That is somewhat smaller than the share who were following news about the presidential candidates a few months ago, and substantially smaller than the share now following news about the COVID-19 outbreak.
With Election Day six months away, 52% of Americans are paying fairly close or very close attention to news about the presidential candidates, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 20-26 as part of the American News Pathways project. Back in a Feb. 18-March 2 survey, a modestly larger share (59%) said they were following news about the candidates fairly closely or very closely. That period included the South Carolina Democratic primary, which appears to have been a turning point for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Both measures are somewhat lower than a similar measure asked on the phone in April 2016, when 69% of Americans reported that they were following candidate news at least fairly closely. But all these figures are far smaller than the overwhelming majority of Americans (87%) who say they are following news about the coronavirus outbreak fairly closely or very closely, according to the April survey. The findings underscore the extent to which the pandemic has come to dominate media coverage and public attention.
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.