The tech landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade, both in the United States and around the world. There have been notable increases in the use of social media and online platforms (including YouTube and Facebook) and technologies (like the internet, cellphones and smartphones), in some cases leading to near-saturation levels of use among major segments of the population. But digital tech also faced significant backlash in the 2010s.
Here are 10 of the top tech-related changes that Pew Research Center has studied over the past decade:
1 Social media sites have emerged as a go-to platform for connecting with others, finding news and engaging politically. When the Center first asked U.S. adults if they ever use a social media site in 2005, just 5% said they did. Today, the share is 72%, according to a survey in early 2019.
Social media has also taken hold around the world. The Center’s spring 2017 global survey – conducted in 17 advanced and 19 emerging economies – found that a median of 53% of adults across emerging and developing countries use social media.
In the U.S. and around the world, younger adults are the most likely age group to use social media. For example, nine-in-ten Americans ages 18 to 29 report ever using a social media site, compared with 40% of those ages 65 and older.
In terms of specific platforms, YouTube and Facebook are the most widely used online platforms among U.S. adults, with roughly seven-in-ten Americans saying they use each site. The shares of adults who use Instagram and Snapchat are much smaller, but these platforms are especially popular with younger Americans. Read More →
Catholic bishops from Latin America this year have revived a debate about who should serve in the church by calling on the Vatican to allow married men to become priests in the Amazon region and to consider allowing women to serve as deacons.
Pew Research Center polled Catholics about their views on married priests in a 2014 survey of Latin America, though the question focused on whether already-ordained priests should be allowed to marry. The survey found that support varied across the region. (While the data was collected in 2013 and 2014, it is unlikely that public support has diminished.) Read More →
The past decade in the United States has seen technological advancements, demographic shifts and major changes in public opinion. Pew Research Center has tracked these developments through surveys, demographic analyses and other research. As the 2010s draw to a close, here are key ways the country looks different from 10 years ago:
From smartphones to social media, tech use has become the norm. As of 2019, nine-in-ten U.S. adults say they go online, 81% say they own a smartphone and 72% say they use social media. Growth in adoption of some technologies has slowed in recent years, in some instances because there just aren’t many non-users left, especially among younger generations. For example, 93% of Millennials (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) own smartphones, and nearly 100% say they use the internet.
Most Americans say they’re changing at least one everyday behavior to help protect the environment, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. But are Americans doing enough to make a difference? The answer, as you might expect, varies by what environmentally friendly action you’re looking at.
Take food waste, for instance, most of which is landfilled or incinerated rather than composted. Eight-in-ten Americans say they reduce their food waste for environmental reasons, although only 52% think doing so makes a big difference for the environment, according to the October survey. In fact, substantially reducing food waste would make a big dent in the amount of waste the U.S. produces: More than 40 million tons of food waste was generated in 2017, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, comprising 15.2% of all municipal solid waste – essentially, ordinary trash.
Overall, though, Americans haven’t had much success in reducing their food waste, according to our analysis of EPA data. In 2000, Americans generated 0.6 of a pound of food waste on average each day; that figure has crept higher ever since, reaching 0.69 of a pound in 2017.
About two-thirds of Americans say in the Center’s recent report that using fewer single-use plastics (such as cups, straws and bags) would make a big difference for the environment, and 72% say they themselves are using fewer disposable plastics for environmental reasons. Read More →
In 2019, at least seven states have started offering a third gender option on driver’s licenses for people who don’t identify as male or female, and at least four more plan to do so in 2020. A number of states have also added a third gender option on birth certificates. These changes follow decisions by some popular social media platforms to offer their own nonbinary gender options.
Amid these changes, about four-in-ten Americans (42%) say that when a form or online profile asks about a person’s gender, it should include options other than “man” and “woman” for people who don’t identify as either, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in fall 2018. Still, a majority (56%) says that forms should not include other gender options.
Amid increased concern about global climate change, most U.S. adults prioritize developing alternative energy sources for the country such as solar or wind power rather than increasing U.S. exploration and production of fossil fuels (77% vs. 22%). The same Pew Research Center survey finds a growing share of homeowners are considering solar panels for home use.
Just 6% of U.S. homeowners say they have already installed solar panels at home. Another 46% say they have given serious thought to adding solar panels at their home in the past year. The share of homeowners considering getting solar panels is up from 40% in 2016 and has especially increased among those living in the South Atlantic states ranging from Delaware to Florida.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), a government agency that collects and analyzes information about the energy industry, forecast earlier this year that small-scale solar, such as home rooftop panels, will add 9 gigawatts of electricity-generating capacity in 2019 and 2020, an increase of 44%. Solar power (both small- and large-scale) generated only 2% of the total electricity in the United States from October 2018 to September 2019. By comparison, natural gas generated 37% and coal generated 25% of total electricity. Read More →
Despite these transformations, the U.S. is the only country among 41 nations that does not mandate any paid leave for new parents, according to data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The smallest amount of paid leave required in any of the other 40 nations is about two months.
In comparison, Estonia offers more than a year and a half of paid leave to new parents – by far the highest benefit provided by any of the countries represented. A number of countries – Bulgaria, Hungary, Japan, Lithuania, Austria, Slovakia, Latvia, Norway and Slovenia – offer over a year’s worth of paid leave as well.
The OECD statistics classify the total amount of leave available to new parents into three categories: 1) maternity leave, available to mothers around the time of a birth or adoption; 2) paternity leave, available to fathers around the time of a birth or adoption; and 3) parental leave, which is typically available after maternity or paternity leave. In some cases, parental leave is specifically allocated for mothers only or for fathers only. In other cases, it is available to either parent. Read More →
Every week tens of millions of Americans listen as their religious leaders provide teaching, comfort and guidance from the pulpit. But what are they hearing?
Today, Pew Research Center published “The Digital Pulpit,” its analysis of a broad swath of sermons delivered in U.S. churches during an eight-week period in 2019. Years in the making, the project employs advanced – and often specially built – computational tools to identify, transcribe and analyze nearly 50,000 sermons that U.S. churches livestreamed or shared on their websites.
We spoke with Dennis Quinn, the computational social scientist on the Center’s Data Labs team who spearheaded the project, on how it came together and the special challenges that arise when religion meets big data. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and concision.
This project has been a long time in the making. How did the idea for it come about?
I was interested in big data when I came to work at the Center’s Religious Restrictions project. So I asked Alan Cooperman, our director of religion research, if he had any ideas that might benefit from a big data approach, and he immediately brought up the idea of analyzing sermons.
The fundamental question was whether this was even feasible. For instance, is there a way to get any comprehensive list of churches with their websites? That led us to Google Maps, which we used to develop a database of churches. Was there a way for computers to identify sermons on churches’ websites? That led us to develop the machine learning technology that we used to identify the pages where congregations share their sermons. Read More →
Every year, Pew Research Center publishes hundreds of reports, blog posts, digital essays and other studies on a wide range of topics, from the demographic and political changes that are reshaping the United States to the attitudes and experiences of people in dozens of other countries. At the end of each year, we compile a list of some of our most noteworthy findings.
Here are 19 striking findings from our research this year:
1Hispanics are projected to be the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the 2020 U.S. electorate, overtaking the number of black eligible voters for the first time. Hispanics are expected to account for just over 13% of eligible voters, slightly more than the share of black eligible voters.
In absolute numbers, a projected 32 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote in 2020, compared with 30 million black adults. The population of Asians eligible to vote will reach an estimated 11 million, more than double the 5 million who were eligible to vote in 2000. Asians will account for 5% of next year’s electorate. Taken together, nonwhites will account for a third of eligible voters, their largest share ever.
2The decline of Christianity is continuing at a rapid pace in the U.S. Around two-thirds of U.S. adults (65%) describe themselves as Christian, according to Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019. That’s down 12 percentage points since 2009. At the same time, the share of “nones” – religiously unaffiliated adults who describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has reached 26%, up from 17% a decade ago. Read More →
Household living arrangements – how many people share a dwelling and how these people are related – affect many aspects of daily life, from finances to what a typical dinner looks like. While household patterns are tied to many factors, including economic development, local laws and cultural norms, they also vary by religion, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of more than 20 million households in 130 countries and territories.
Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and the religiously unaffiliated around the world are distributed in different ways across household types and sizes. And there are noticeable variations among these groups within regions and even within single countries.
Here are seven key findings about the connections between living arrangements and religion, based on the new report:
1 Worldwide, Muslims live in the biggest households. The average Muslim lives in a home of 6.4 people, followed by Hindus (5.7), Christians (4.5), Buddhists (3.9), the religiously unaffiliated – also known as “nones” (3.7) – and Jews (3.7). In the 15 countries in the study that have the world’s biggest households, Islam is the largest religion in all but one (Benin), and these nations are all in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Christians and the religiously unaffiliated are the largest groups in the 15 countries with the smallest households, which are all in Europe, with the exception of South Korea. For all people, households are biggest in sub-Saharan Africa (6.9) and smallest in Europe (3.1). Read More →
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.
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