The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges and obstacles for many Americans, but one group has been getting a lot of attention lately: moms. Much of the focus has been on the effects of school closings and child care responsibilities on mothers’ employment and labor force participation rates, with some suggesting the disruptions caused by the pandemic might have long-lasting consequences for gender equality in the workplace. In response, many prominent public figures have signed on to the Marshall Plan for Moms, which calls on Congress to recognize mothers’ unpaid labor at home through monthly stimulus checks alongside paid family leave, affordable child care and pay equity programs.
Pew Research Center surveys have highlighted some of the unique challenges facing moms during the pandemic. For example, a survey last October found that, among employed parents who were working from home all or most of the time, mothers were more likely than fathers to say they had a lot of child care responsibilities while working (36% vs. 16%). Working mothers with children younger than 12 at home were also more likely than fathers (57% vs. 47%) to say it had been at least somewhat difficult for them to handle child care responsibilities during the coronavirus outbreak.
The share of Black Americans who do not identify with any religion is increasing, as is true among Americans overall. Still, the vast majority of religiously unaffiliated Black Americans believe in God and about half pray regularly, although few attend religious services, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
And in guided, small-group discussions, unaffiliated Black adults expressed a distinction between believing in a higher power and engaging in practices common among religiously affiliated Black Americans.
The share of Americans who say they watch television via cable or satellite has plunged from 76% in 2015 to 56% this year, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. Some 71% of those who do not use cable or satellite services say it’s because they can access the content they want online, while 69% say the cost of cable and satellite services is too high and 45% say they do not often watch TV.
One year into the societal convulsions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, about a fifth of U.S. adults (21%) are experiencing high levels of psychological distress, including nearly three-in-ten (28%) among those who say the outbreak has changed their lives in “a major way.” The share of the public experiencing psychological distress has edged down slightly since March 2020 but remains elevated among some groups in the population. Concerns about both the personal health and the financial threats from the pandemic are associated with high levels of psychological distress.
The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended nearly 100,000 migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in February, the tenth consecutive month of increased apprehensions and a return to levels last seen in mid-2019.
The number of monthly apprehensions had fallen to just 16,182 in April 2020, shortly after the coronavirus pandemic forced the virtual closure of the southwestern border and slowed migration across much of the world. But apprehensions have climbed every month since then and reached 96,974 in February, according to new data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the federal agency that encompasses the Border Patrol. (It’s important to note that apprehensions refer to events, not people, and some migrants may be apprehended more than once.)
February’s apprehension total was far higher than the typical monthly figure in recent years, with the exception of a dramatic rise in 2019 during the administration of President Donald Trump. The Trump administration responded to the increased border activity with a series of new restrictions intended to deter migrants from traveling to the United States to seek asylum. Those policy changes included the “Remain in Mexico” program, which required asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their claims could be heard.
Prospects for raising the federal minimum wage, which has stood at $7.25 an hour since 2009, appear to have stalled out yet again, despite broad public support for the idea. In truth, though, for the past several years most of the real action on minimum wages has been in states, counties and cities, not on Capitol Hill. Just this past November, for example, Florida voters approved Amendment 2, which will gradually raise the state’s minimum until it reaches $15 in 2026.
A year after COVID-19 forced the first lockdowns, school and business closures and event cancellations across the country, most Americans are not optimistic about a quick return to the way things were before the outbreak. And the public is even less optimistic about when the job situation may return to its pre-pandemic level.
As the U.S. economy copes with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, a rapidly rising share of unemployed Americans find themselves out of a job despite many months of searching. Even amid signs of improvement in the U.S. labor market overall, about four-in-ten unemployed workers had been out of work for more than six months in February 2021, about double the share in February 2020. At the same time, a growing number of job seekers are becoming discouraged, leaving the labor force entirely, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
The 117th U.S. Congress took office in January, with Democrats holding narrow majorities in the House and Senate.
Apart from its political makeup, the new Congress differs from prior ones in other ways, including its demographics. Here are seven charts that show how the demographic profile of Congress has changed over time, using historical data from CQ Roll Call, the Congressional Research Service and other sources.
Black Americans stand out from other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. for their high levels of concern about the coronavirus pandemic, with 81% considering the outbreak a major threat to public health and about half (49%) seeing it as a major threat to their personal health, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in February.
About a third of Black adults (35%) are very concerned that they themselves will get the coronavirus and require hospitalization, and another 29% are at least somewhat concerned about this possibility.
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Black life expectancy has fallen 2.7 years from pre-pandemic levels, compared with one year for the overall population – a stark reminder of the virus’s disproportionate impact on Black Americans.
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.