Six-in-ten Americans believe scientists should play an active role in policy debates over issues related to their expertise. But the public’s views divide along party lines, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Most Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party (73%) think scientists should take an active role in policy debates. In contrast, a majority of Republicans and Republican leaners (56%) say scientists should stay out of policy debates and instead focus on establishing sound scientific facts.
Democrats put more faith in scientists’ judgments than Republicans do. For example, 54% of Democrats say policy decisions from scientific experts are usually better than other people’s. Republicans are less convinced: Two-thirds say scientists’ policy decisions are either worse than or no different from those of other people. And while a majority of Democrats (62%) say scientists’ judgments are based solely on the facts, fewer than half of Republicans (44%) say this. Instead, a majority of Republicans (55%) think scientists’ judgments are just as subject to bias as anyone else’s judgments.
Overall, a 63% majority of Americans say the scientific method generally produces sound conclusions. But, here too, Democrats have more confidence than Republicans. Seven-in-ten Democrats see the scientific method as generally sound. A smaller majority of Republicans (55%) say the same, while 44% believe the scientific method can be used to produce any conclusion the researcher wants.
There’s a common supposition in the scientific community that people who know and understand more about science should hold more positive views about it. But the data from the Center’s survey points to a more complicated story.
The demographic profile of women who give birth in the United States is changing. This is due in part to shifting immigration patterns, but also to notable changes in birth rates among some groups, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Among immigrant women, half of all births in 2018 were to women of Hispanic origin, down from 58% in 2000. At the same time, births to Asian women accounted for about one-in-four immigrant births last year (24%), up from 19% in 2000. The share of immigrant births to black women also rose during this span, from 7% to 11%.
Much of the downturn in the share of immigrant births to Hispanics has been driven by a decline in births among Mexican-origin women. A quarter of immigrant births in the U.S. were to women of Mexican origin in 2018, compared with 42% in 2000. Not since the 1970s has the share of births to women born in Mexico dipped below 30% of all U.S. immigrant births.
While the share of immigrant births to Hispanic women has declined, Hispanics account for a growing share of births among U.S.-born women. In 2018, 17% of births to the U.S. born were to women of Hispanic origin, up from 10% in 2000. This growth was driven primarily by the rapid expansion of the U.S.-born Hispanic population as a whole: The number of Hispanic women ages 15 to 44 has more than doubled since 2000, for instance.
Well over a year before the 2020 presidential election, many social media users in the United States are already exhausted by how much political content they see on these platforms.
Some 46% of adult social media users say they feel “worn out” by the number of political posts and discussions they see on social media, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted June 3-17, 2019. This share has risen 9 percentage points since the summer of 2016, when the Center last asked this question.
Still, some social media users are ambivalent about seeing these types of posts or find them enjoyable. About four-in-ten say they don’t feel strongly about encountering these discussions, while a much smaller share (15%) say they like seeing lots of political posts on social media.
This week, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) holds its annual meeting in Miami. The meeting comes amid increased attention to the role of black journalists in the United States and recent changes to black-oriented news media organizations, such as a decision by the Chicago Defender, a black newspaper founded in 1905, to cease printing (though it will remain available online).
Pew Research Center has studied black Americans’ attitudes toward the news media – as well as their news consumption habits – for years. We have also examined minority representation within U.S. newsrooms. To coincide with the NABJ conference, here are seven key facts about black Americans and the news media:
1Black adults stand out for their trust in local news organizations. One-in-three say they have a lot of trust in the information they get from local news organizations, higher than the share of whites who say the same (27%). When it comes to national news organizations, blacks (23%) are about as likely as whites (20%) and Hispanics (24%) to express a lot of trust.
A large majority of black adults (80%) expect that national news stories will be accurate, more than the share of whites (70%) or Hispanics (71%) who say the same. Overall, 71% of U.S. adults have this expectation.
At a time of low public trust in the federal government, a majority of Americans (62%) say they have a favorable view of the Supreme Court. However, Democrats and Republicans are increasingly divided in their assessments of the court.
Today, three-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court, compared with only about half (49%) of Democrats and Democratic leaners, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The 26 percentage point difference between the two parties is among the widest it has been over the past two decades.
Republicans’ views of the court have grown much more positive over the past four years. In 2015, following the court’s end-of-term rulings upholding same-sex marriage and most of the Affordable Care Act, GOP views of the Supreme Court reached a 30-year low; just 33% had a favorable opinion. The share of Republicans with a favorable view of the court rose to 82% this past January – equaling its highest point in decades – before slipping to 75% in the most recent survey.
About one-in-seven U.S. adults (15%) say they have ever used a mail-in DNA testing service from a company such as AncestryDNA or 23andMe, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Most of them say they did so to learn more about their family origins, and a notable share say the results surprised them.
When asked about their reasons for using a mail-in DNA testing service, the vast majority of those who have done so (87%) say they wanted to learn more about where their family came from. About a third say they did so to get information about their health or family medical history (36%) and to connect with relatives they might have but didn’t know about (also 36%).
For the most part, people’s DNA test results about their family history line up with their expectations – but a substantial portion of mail-in test users view some of the findings as unforeseen.
Americans believe trust has declined in their country, whether it involves their fellow citizens’ faith in each other or their confidence in the federal government, according to a wide-ranging new Pew Research Center survey. And adults ages 18 to 29 stand out for their comparatively low levels of trust in a number of these areas.
Around three-quarters (73%) of U.S. adults under 30 believe people “just look out for themselves” most of the time. A similar share (71%) say most people “would try to take advantage of you if they got a chance,” and six-in-ten say most people “can’t be trusted.” Across all three of these questions, adults under 30 are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to take a pessimistic view of their fellow Americans.
All told, nearly half of young adults (46%) are what the Center’s report defines as “low trusters” – people who, compared with other Americans, are more likely to see others as selfish, exploitative and untrustworthy, rather than helpful, fair and trustworthy. Older Americans are less likely to be low trusters. For example, just 19% of adults ages 65 and older fall into this category, according to the survey, which was conducted in late 2018 among 10,618 U.S. adults. (You can read more here about how the study grouped Americans into low, medium and high trust categories.)
Transubstantiation – the idea that during Mass, the bread and wine used for Communion become the body and blood of Jesus Christ – is central to the Catholic faith. Indeed, the Catholic Church teaches that “the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’”
But a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most self-described Catholics don’t believe this core teaching. In fact, nearly seven-in-ten Catholics (69%) say they personally believe that during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine used in Communion “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” Just one-third of U.S. Catholics (31%) say they believe that “during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.”
Despite ongoing debates over science-related issues, Americans have broadly positive views of scientists and their work, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. But Americans are more tepid when it comes to trusting scientists’ competence, credibility and concern for the public interest – and they are largely skeptical of scientists’ transparency and accountability.
Here are five key findings about public trust in scientists, drawn from the new survey:
1Public confidence in scientists to act in the public interest has increased in recent years. Overall, 35% of Americans say they have a great deal of confidence in scientists, up 14 percentage points from 2016. Americans have about the same level of confidence in scientists as they do in the military – and more than they do in some other groups and institutions, including the news media, business leaders and elected officials.
2Half or more of Americans have positive views about each of six professional groups asked about in the survey. The public is warmest toward medical doctors: About three-quarters (74%) say they have a mostly positive view of doctors, 18% are neutral and just 8% have a negative view. Majorities also have positive opinions of medical researchers (68%), dietitians (60%), environmental health specialists (60%) and environmental researchers (57%). About half (51%) have positive overall views of nutrition researchers. Read More →
The teen birth rate in the United States is at a record low, dropping below 18 births per 1,000 girls and women ages 15 to 19 for the first time since the government began regularly collecting data on this group, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
In 2018, the birth rate among 15- to 19-year-old girls and women was less than half of what it had been in 2008 (41.5 births per 1,000). Asians and Pacific Islanders led the way over this time, followed by Hispanics, with teen birth rate declines of 74% and 65%, respectively. Rates for white and black teens fell by more than 50% over the past decade as well.
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.