A challenging aspect of designing opinion surveys in countries with different cultures and languages is making sure we understand what people are thinking about the subject we’re studying, in their own words. So when we began our recent study of mobile phone and social media use in 11 emerging economies, we started by conducting focus groups with diverse participants in four of the countries studied: Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week announced a moratorium on executions in his state, a move that will affect 737 inmates on the largest death row in the country. The decision marks a significant change in policy, but not in practice: California is one of 11 states that have capital punishment on the books but have not carried out an execution in more than a decade.
Overall, 30 states, the federal government and the U.S. military authorize the death penalty, while 20 states and the District of Columbia do not, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, an information clearinghouse that has been critical of capital punishment. But more than a third of the states that allow executions – along with the federal government and the U.S. military – haven’t carried one out in at least 10 years or, in some cases, much longer.
California’s last execution took place in 2006. The other states that have capital punishment but haven’t used it more than a decade are New Hampshire (last execution in 1939); Kansas (1965); Wyoming (1992); Colorado and Oregon (both 1997); Pennsylvania (1999); Montana, Nevada and North Carolina (all 2006); and Kentucky (2008).
In France, home to Europe’s largest Jewish population, reports of anti-Semitic incidents rose dramatically in 2018. There were 541 cases reported last year – not as high as in some previous years, but a 74% increase from 2017, according to the country’s Ministère de l’Intérieur. And already in 2019, there have been several new high-profile anti-Semitic incidents, including swastikas being spray-painted on graves in a Jewish cemetery.
Prominent though these incidents may be, they run counter to public opinion in France. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that a majority of French adults reject negative Jewish stereotypes and express an accepting attitude toward Jews.
In the survey, conducted in France and 14 other Western European countries, the Center asked whether people agreed or disagreed with two strongly worded negative statements: “Jews always pursue their own interests and not the interest of the country they live in,” and “Jews always overstate how much they have suffered.” Roughly seven-in-ten or more French respondents either completely or mostly disagreed with these statements, while about one-in-five completely or mostly agreed with them.
To gauge the extent of anti-Jewish sentiment in another way, the survey also asked Western European adults if they would be willing to accept Jews as neighbors or members of their family. Nine-in-ten French adults said they would be willing to accept Jews as neighbors, while roughly three-quarters (76%) said they would accept Jews as members of their family. These figures are at or near the median for the 15 countries where both questions were asked. (In Germany and the United Kingdom, where reported anti-Semitic incidents rose nearly 10% and 16% last year, respectively, the shares of adults saying they would accept Jews as neighbors and relatives were somewhat similar to those in France.)
Most of the United States’ 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants live in just 20 major metropolitan areas, with the largest populations in New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on government data.
The nation’s unauthorized immigrant population is highly concentrated, more so than the U.S. population overall. In 2016, the 20 metro areas with the most unauthorized immigrants were home to 6.5 million of them, or 61% of the estimated nationwide total. By contrast, only 37% of the total U.S. population lived in those metro areas.
View detailed tables on the unauthorized immigrant population in 182 U.S. metropolitan areas.
The number of unauthorized immigrants in these 20 metros has declined sharply since 2007, when 7.7 million of them lived in these areas. These metro areas account for much of a national decline of the U.S. unauthorized immigrant population over the past decade.
By far the biggest unauthorized immigrant populations in 2016 were in the New York (1.1 million) and Los Angeles metro areas (925,000). Both metros had unauthorized immigrant populations that exceeded the statewide total in every state except California and Texas. No other metro area approached a million. Meanwhile, the smallest unauthorized immigrant populations among the top 20 areas were in Austin and Charlotte (100,000 each).
Many immigrants who have time-limited permission to live and work in the United States under a program known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) face an uncertain future as the White House seeks to end their permission to stay in the country.
Roughly 318,000 people currently have this protected status after fleeing their countries because of war, hurricanes, earthquakes or other extraordinary conditions that could make it dangerous for them to live in that country. Nearly all had been expected to lose their benefits either this year or next, although that now depends on the outcome of lawsuits challenging the government’s decision to terminate TPS benefits. Federal officials have said that TPS is meant to provide temporary rather than long-term relief.
The Department of Homeland Security said last year that it would not extend Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from six of the 10 nations that are now eligible. Of those six nations, one – Nepal – faces TPS expiration this year. TPS had been scheduled to expire this year for four others – Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador – but the government has extended it through Jan. 2, 2020, after being blocked in court. Also, immigrant advocates recently filed a separate lawsuit challenging the decision to end TPS for those from Nepal and Honduras. Only those from South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Somalia have received TPS extensions with the possibility of future extension.
In all, immigrants with Temporary Protected Status were about 3% of the 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Yet this share was higher for some countries: Immigrants with TPS accounted for about a quarter of unauthorized immigrants from El Salvador (27%) and around 13% of those from Honduras in 2016, for example. (This analysis assumes that immigrants with TPS are in the U.S. without authorization.)
The use of smartphones and social media increased rapidly in the past decade in the United States, and these digital technologies have also become common in parts of the developing world. A new Pew Research Center report analyzes public attitudes and experiences related to these technologies in 11 emerging economies – including the benefits and challenges that digital connectivity brings to people’s lives and societies.
Here are seven takeaways from the report:
1Mobile phone users see a mix of benefits and pitfalls related to their devices. Mobile phone users in each of the 11 countries surveyed are more likely to say their phone is something that frees them rather than something that ties them down. Meanwhile, a larger share of mobile phone users in seven countries believe their phone helps them save time rather than waste time – although in certain countries like the Philippines, a larger share view their phones as a time waster. People in these countries are also somewhat divided when assessing how reliant they are on their mobile device. Kenyans, South Africans, Jordanians, Tunisians and Lebanese who use a mobile phone are more likely to say their phone is something they couldn’t live without. But in the six other countries, larger shares say they don’t always need their phone.
2Majorities say mobile phones and social media have mostly been good for them personally, but somewhat less so for society. A median of 70% of adults across these 11 countries say mobile phones have been a mostly good thing for society, while a smaller share (57%) say the same of social media. A similar pattern exists when assessing how these technologies impact them personally. A median of 82% say that mobile phones have been mostly good for them in their personal lives, compared with 63% who feel this way about social media. In contrast, a median of 19% say that social media has been mostly bad for them personally, and 27% say it has been mostly bad for society. Read More →
In the United States and many other countries, religiously active people are less likely to drink alcohol than those who are not as religious. That may not be a surprise: Holy texts from the Christian New Testament to the Quran and the Hindu Dharmashastras warn against the dangers of excessive drinking and other potentially harmful “vices.” Many religious leaders, including the late Rev. Billy Graham, have urged followers to abstain from alcohol.
Despite these teachings, the relationship between religion and alcohol consumption remains a nuanced one, and not all U.S. religious groups eschew alcohol to the same degree, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2015.
Half of U.S. adults (51%) who say they attend religious services at least once a month report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, according to the survey. That compares with roughly six-in-ten (62%) among people who attend worship services less often or not at all. Similarly, only 13% of monthly attenders engaged in recent binge drinking – defined as four or more drinks on a single occasion for women and five or more for men – compared with 21% of less frequent attenders.
Over the past five years, Pew Research Center has conducted surveys in the United States using our American Trends Panel, a randomly selected, probability-based sample of U.S. adults ages 18 and older. We recruit members of the panel offline, but once recruited, participants fill out our survey questionnaires online. (Those who don’t have internet access can do so on internet-enabled tablets we provide to them.)
The initial American Trends Panel was recruited in 2014 and had a little over 5,300 participants. After additional recruitments in 2015, 2017 and most recently in 2018, the panel has grown to more than 13,500 participants. It is now the Center’s primary vehicle for conducting surveys in the U.S., with some important advantages over traditional telephone surveys, as a new report explains in detail.
In this Q&A, Nick Bertoni, the manager of the American Trends Panel, shares more about how the panel works and, more broadly, what its recent expansion means for Pew Research Center’s U.S. survey work.
How does the American Trends Panel differ from other kinds of polling?
The panel comprises an online probability sample, which means that participants take surveys online and that panel members are randomly chosen using publicly available lists of all U.S. phone numbers or mailing addresses. Essentially, all adults in the U.S. have a known chance of being selected for our panel. That’s different from online nonprobability surveys – sometimes called online opt-in samples – which are not probability-based because members are not randomly chosen from a list that covers the entire population.
Online probability samples like the American Trends Panel have become more common in the survey research world in recent years, particularly as response rates to traditional telephone surveys have declined. Our latest research shows that telephone response rates at Pew Research Center have fallen to just 6%, which means that it’s become more difficult – and more expensive – to carry out traditional, random-digit-dial phone surveys.
After stabilizing briefly, response rates to telephone public opinion polls conducted by Pew Research Center have resumed their decline.
In 2017 and 2018, typical telephone survey response rates fell to 7% and 6%, respectively, according to the Center’s latest data. Response rates had previously held steady around 9% for several years.
While the Center’s telephone survey protocol is somewhat different from those used by other organizations, conversations with contractors and other pollsters confirm that the pattern reported here is being experienced more generally in the industry.
From the 1980s until relatively recently, most national polling organizations conducted surveys by telephone, relying on live interviewers to call randomly selected Americans across the country. Then came the internet.
It has taken survey researchers some time to adapt to the idea of online surveys, but a quick look at the public polls on an issue like presidential approval reveals a landscape now dominated by online polls rather than phone polls. Pew Research Center itself now conducts the majority of its U.S. polling online, primarily through its American Trends Panel.
The fact that many public opinion surveys today are conducted online is no secret to avid poll watchers. What is not well known, however, is what this migration to online polling means for the country’s trove of data documenting American public opinion over the past four decades, on issues ranging from abortion and immigration to race relations and military interventions. Specifically, can pollsters just add new online results to a long chain of phone survey results, or is this an apples-to-oranges situation that requires us to essentially throw out the historical data and start anew?