Buddhists across Asia are preparing to celebrate the birthday of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later became known as Gautama Buddha and was the founder of Buddhism. The Buddha is believed to have been born roughly 2,500 years ago in what is today Nepal. In Asia, where most Buddhists live, different countries celebrate the occasion on different days, including April 8 in Japan, May 12 in South Korea and May 18 in India and Nepal. The holiday goes by several names, including Buddha Purnima, Vesak, Buddha Jayanti and Ikh Duichen, and is often marked by national holidays, festivals and events at Buddhist temples.
Here are five facts about Buddhists:
1Buddhists made up roughly 7% of the world’s population in 2015, but they are expected to decrease to roughly 5% by 2060. This is because Buddhists have relatively low fertility rates compared with other religious groups, and they are not expected to grow significantly due to conversions or religious switching.
2Half the world’s Buddhists live in China, according to 2010 Pew Research Center estimates. Still, they make up only 18% of the country’s population. Most of the rest of the world’s Buddhists live in East and South Asia, including 13% in Thailand (where 93% of the population is Buddhist) and 9% in Japan (35% Buddhist). Only about 1.4% of the world’s Buddhists live in countries outside of Asia.
Buddhism in Asia is a matter of both identity and practice. Scholars and journalists have documented that many people in Asian countries may engage in Buddhist (and other religious) practices without considering themselves part of any organized religion.
Indonesia’s presidential and parliamentary elections this month come at a time when a majority of Indonesians are optimistic about the state of their country’s democracy and economy, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in summer 2018.
Indonesia is the world’s largest predominantly Muslim country and the third largest democracy. And while the survey found positive feelings about its political system among Indonesians, the 2019 election is being held against a backdrop of political and economic tension. In 2017, the capital city’s former governor was jailed for blasphemy, and the religiosity of President Joko Widodo (also known as Jokowi) has been questioned by his more conservative critics. The country’s relationship with China has also taken center stage this election cycle, as accusations of foreign hacking and disapproval of bilateral trade policies have surfaced. The survey found that views of China and the United States had worsened among Indonesians since the country’s last general election in 2014.
Most Indonesian adults report voting in elections: 20% of Indonesians have voted in the past year and 71% say they have voted in the more distant past.
Here are five facts on public opinion leading up to the April 17 presidential election.
1Many Indonesians are satisfied with the state of their democracy. About two-thirds (65%) of Indonesian adults said in the 2018 survey they were satisfied with the way democracy is working in their country. This positive sentiment is similar to attitudes in 2017, when 69% of Indonesians rated the way their democracy worked positively.
However, there is a partisan split in satisfaction with democracy. Among those who hold a favorable view of the incumbent’s party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), 72% said they were satisfied with the way democracy is working in Indonesia, which is 16 percentage points higher than those who hold an unfavorable view of the PDI-P.
At least half of Indonesians hold favorable views toward all political parties surveyed. Nearly six-in-ten hold favorable views toward PDI-P, but a similar share says the same about opposing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto’s political party, the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra).
Money sent by immigrants to their home countries in sub-Saharan Africa reached a record $41 billion in 2017. This represents a 10% jump in remittances from the previous year, the largest annual growth for any world region, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of World Bank data.
The increase follows a decline in remittances to sub-Saharan Africa in 2016, when the region saw a 9% decrease over the previous year, by far the largest regional drop in the world.
Worldwide, immigrants sent a record $625 billion (in 2018 U.S. dollars) back to their home countries in 2017, a 7% increase from the previous year. Strong economic growth in many major destination regions, stabilizing oil prices and the appreciation of currencies against the U.S. dollar helped fuel the first worldwide increase in remittances since 2014, according to the World Bank. Remittances had declined in 2015 and 2016, the first back-to-back decline in remittances in over three decades.
Remittances are funds transferred by immigrants to people in their home country. The total amount of money sent is likely much larger than current estimates because only funds sent through formal channels such as banks are included. This is especially true for regions like sub-Saharan Africa, where just 40% use formal financial services and two-thirds of non-agriculture workers are part of the informal economy.
“Top 10” lists can often be helpful in displaying and illuminating data. For example, the two tables of countries with the largest Christian and Muslim populations featured here reveal differences in the concentration, diversity and projected changes in the world’s two largest religions.
The two lists show that the global Muslim population is more heavily concentrated in Islam’s main population centers than the global Christian population is for Christianity, which is more widely dispersed around the world. Indeed, about two-thirds (65%) of the world’s Muslims live in the countries with the 10 largest Muslim populations, while only 48% of the world’s Christians live in the countries with the 10 largest Christian populations.
To put it another way, more than half (52%) of the world’s Christians live in countries other than those with the 10 largest Christian populations, while this is true for just over a third (35%) of the world’s Muslims. In absolute terms, there are twice as many Christians (1.2 billion) as there are Muslims (609 million) living in countries that are not on their religion’s top 10 list. Read More →
U.S. racial and ethnic groups vary significantly in their knowledge of science-related issues, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that quizzed Americans about subjects ranging from life and physical sciences to numeracy and chart reading.
About half of whites (48%) got at least nine of 11 questions correct. In comparison, much smaller shares of Hispanics (23%) and blacks (9%) correctly answered at least nine of the questions.
On average, whites got 7.6 questions correct while Hispanics got 5.1 and blacks 3.7. English-speaking Asians got an average of 7.0 correct answers, but it’s important to note the survey was only conducted in English and Spanish. (Asians are less likely than whites and blacks, but not Hispanics, to be proficient in English.)
There were large differences by race and ethnicity across all the individual science knowledge questions in the survey. For example, 46% of whites correctly identified the main components of antacids as bases. In comparison, one-quarter of Hispanics and 16% of blacks got the correct answer on this question. And 88% of whites correctly answered that antibiotic resistance is a major concern of antibiotic overuse, while 62% of Hispanics and 53% of blacks answered this question correctly.
Substantial shares of people in three African nations – Nigeria, Tunisia and Kenya – say they plan to move to another country within five years, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2018.
Some who plan to migrate say they have taken steps to do so, such as gathering information about a destination country and saving money.
In the three African nations, two-thirds or more of all who were surveyed cite jobs, education and reuniting with family as reasons why people leave their countries. Conflict also plays a role: In Nigeria and Kenya, majorities say escaping violence is a very or somewhat important reason for why people leave the country. (See the survey’s topline for detailed results.)
In Nigeria, Africa’s most populated nation, nearly half (45%) of adults say they plan to move to another country within five years, by far the highest share among 12 countries surveyed across four continents. Meanwhile, a quarter (24%) of adults in Tunisia say they plan to leave within five years, as do 19% in Kenya. In 2017, substantial shares in Senegal, Ghana and South Africa said the same.
These findings highlight the potential for more migration from an area of the world with a fast-growing population. In recent years, many African countries have seen a sharp increase in outmigration.
Overall, 61% of U.S. adults feel that local journalists should not share their views about local issues and events, compared with 36% who say they should, according to the survey, conducted Oct. 15-Nov. 8, 2018, among nearly 35,000 U.S. adults.
Republicans and GOP-leaning independents are more than twice as likely to say local journalists should not express their views (71%) as they are to say they should express their views on local issues (28%). Democrats and Democratic leaners are more evenly divided, with 54% saying local journalists should not express their views and 44% saying they should. The partisan divide on this question is similar to one found in an earlier Pew Research Center survey that asked whether the news media in general should present the facts with some interpretation, rather than without interpretation.
The U.S. media environment has changed considerably in recent years and the local news landscape is no exception, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of nearly 35,000 U.S. adults. Just as it has nationally, the rise of digital media has reshaped local news when it comes to the information sources people turn to.
Even as the public remains deeply divided in its views of the national news media, the survey finds that most Americans believe their local news outlets are doing a good job in areas such as reporting the news accurately (71% say this), keeping an eye on local political leaders (66%) and dealing fairly with all sides (62%).
Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research at the Center, oversaw the study. In this Q&A, she discusses some of the report’s main takeaways and what the survey tells us about the connection between Americans and their local media.
In a nutshell, what does this survey find about the way Americans consume local news and how they feel about the journalists who produce it?
One overarching takeaway is that even as TV stations continue to have the widest reach when it comes to local news, digital outlets are an important part of the equation. Nearly as many Americans today prefer to get their local news online as from their TV set.
What’s more, news providers in the digital space don’t just consist of the websites of traditional news organizations. Americans are staying up to date through other kinds of digital information sources, too, ranging from local government agencies to online forums and discussion groups to community newsletters and listservs. Individually, these sources can’t compete with TV, radio and newspapers in terms of audience, but together, they’re a substantial part of the local information diet for many people.
Local news is an integral part of American communities, providing information on everything from local politics and government to local sports and schools. A new Pew Research Center survey conducted Oct. 15-Nov. 8, 2018, among 34,897 U.S. adults examines how Americans get local news and their attitudes toward their local news media. In addition to results at the national level, the scope of the survey makes it possible to search for, examine and download findings about the local news environments of 99 distinct areas across the United States through an online, interactive feature.
Two surveys conducted by Pew Research Center in 2018 shed light on how adults in India see their elected officials and their democracy – as well as how they feel about the spread of misinformation via mobile technology. Here are five key findings from the surveys as Indians prepare to cast ballots:
1Most Indian adults see politicians as corrupt and question whether elections are effective. About two-thirds (64%) say most politicians are corrupt, including 43% who very intensely hold this view, according to a spring 2018 survey by the Center. Notably, nearly seven-in-ten supporters of the two major parties contesting the election – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Indian National Congress party – share the view that most elected leaders are corrupt (69% in each party say this). On a related question, only a third of Indians think elected officials care about the opinions of ordinary people in their country.
Meanwhile, 58% of adults in India say that no matter who wins an election, things do not change very much. This again includes a majority of both BJP and Congress supporters.
Despite these negative views, Indians think their country allows other democratic values to flourish. By more than two-to-one, for example, Indians say the rights of people to express their own views are protected and that most people have a good chance to improve their standard of living. A sizable share (47%) also believes the courts treat everyone fairly.
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.