This is one in a series of posts about how different demographic groups in the U.S. have fared in the digital age.
Thirty years after the debut of the World Wide Web, internet use, broadband adoption and smartphone ownership have grown rapidly for all Americans – including those who are less well-off financially. But even as many aspects of the digital divide have narrowed over time, the digital lives of lower- and higher-income Americans remain markedly different.
Roughly three-in-ten adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year (29%) don’t own a smartphone. More than four-in-ten don’t have home broadband services (44%) or a traditional computer (46%). And a majority of lower-income Americans are not tablet owners. By comparison, each of these technologies is nearly ubiquitous among adults in households earning $100,000 or more a year.
Higher-income Americans are also more likely to have multiple devices that enable them to go online. Roughly two-thirds of adults living in high-earning households (64%) have home broadband services, a smartphone, a desktop or laptop computer and a tablet, compared with 18% of those living in lower-income households.
While U.S. Jews have a strong attachment to Israel, they are divided in their assessment of Trump’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Roughly four-in-ten (42%) say they think Trump is favoring the Israelis too much, while a similar share (47%) say he is striking the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians. The rest either say he is favoring the Palestinians too much (6%) or they don’t know (4%).
By comparison, Christians in the United States are more likely to say Trump is striking the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians (59%) than to say Trump favors the Israelis too much (26%). Among evangelical Protestants, 72% say they think Trump strikes the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians, and just 15% say Trump favors the Israelis too much.
A quarter-century after the end of apartheid, South Africans will vote in general elections on May 8 against a backdrop of pessimism over the state of their political system and persisting divisions in attitudes by race and political party.
Attitudes toward public institutions in South Africa have become more negative since the early 1990s, following the country’s first democratic elections. These attitudes were captured in a Pew Research Center survey conducted in summer of 2018 and in World Values Survey results from 1990 and 2013, periods before and after apartheid.
The elections are being held at a time when numerous allegations of corruption have characterized South Africa’s politics – most notably against the leading African National Congress (ANC) party.
Here are six facts on South Africans’ attitudes about the state of their nation before the elections:
1The majority of South Africans are dissatisfied with the state of their democracy. As of 2018, nearly two-thirds of South Africans say they are dissatisfied with their democracy. This contrasts with 2013, when 67% of South Africans said they were satisfied with the way democracy was working in their country.
There is a clear partisan split in satisfaction with the functioning of the country’s democracy. While about four-in-ten of those who see the ANC positively say they are satisfied with South Africa’s democracy, only about a quarter of those who see ANC negatively say the same. Nevertheless, majorities on both sides express dissatisfaction with the country’s democracy.
Both men and women turned out at record rates in the 2018 midterm election – mirroring historic turnout increases among other segments of the eligible voting population. Compared with 2014, voter turnout increased by double digits among both men (11 percentage points) and women (12 points).
As has been the case in the last five midterm elections dating back to 1998, women turned out to vote at slightly higher rates than men. Over half of women (55%) who were eligible to vote cast ballots in the 2018 midterms in November, as did 51.8% of men, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The 3.2 percentage point gender gap in turnout is similar to the gap in the 2014 (2.2 points), and slightly bigger than the gap in 2010 (less than 1 point).
In 2018, women made up about the same share of the electorate as they did in the previous five midterms; 53% of voters were women and 47% were men.
What is the internet? And who is an internet user? The questions may seem straightforward, but more than a decade of research in the United States and abroad suggests that some people who use the internet may not be aware that they’re doing so. Results from recent Pew Research Center surveys in the U.S. and 11 emerging economies show that confusion about what the internet is stems from two different – but related – sources.
First, many people who use smartphones are unaware that the apps and browsers on their devices involve using the internet. In the Center’s survey of emerging economies, as many as 38% of those who say they do not use the internet also indicate that they have a phone that connects to the internet. Due to differences in internet use across these countries, this group represents as much as 14% of the total adult population in South Africa, or as little as 3% in Venezuela.
Across 11 developing countries surveyed in fall 2018, one of the defining factors in people’s awareness they are using the internet is whether they have access to a home or office computer. Majorities of “unconscious internet users” (that is, those who say they do not use the internet, but do use social media, a smartphone or a feature phone) lack access to a home computer or tablet, meaning they likely visit the internet primarily through a mobile phone. In three countries, those with lower levels of education are also somewhat more likely to be unconscious internet users, though in most countries there is no relationship with educational attainment. But, while older people are somewhat less likely to use the internet, smartphones or social media than younger people, they are not more likely to be unconscious users.
Personal experiences with racial discrimination are common for black Americans. But certain segments within this group – most notably, those who are college educated or male – are more likely to say they’ve faced certain situations because of their race, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
A majority of black adults say they have been discriminated against because of their race, but this varies by education. Roughly eight-in-ten blacks with at least some college experience (81%) say they’ve experienced racial discrimination, at least from time to time, including 17% who say this happens regularly. Among blacks with a high school education or less, these shares are lower – 69% and 9%, respectively.
When asked about specific situations they may have experienced because of their race, blacks who have attended college are more likely than those without college experience to say they have faced a number of these incidents: people acting as if they were suspicious of them (71% vs. 59%), people acting as if they were not smart (67% vs. 52%) or being subjected to slurs or jokes (58% vs. 45%). Half of blacks with at least some college experience also say they have feared for their personal safety because of their race. That share drops to about a third (34%) among those with less education.
College-educated blacks are also more inclined to believe their race has negatively impacted their ability to succeed: 57% of blacks with at least some college experience believe being black has hurt their ability to get ahead, compared with 47% of those with a high school education or less.
This May 2 is the National Day of Prayer in the United States, a day Congress set aside in 1952 for Americans to turn “to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups and as individuals.” But many Americans pray every day – not just on the Day of Prayer. Indeed, out of 102 countries examined for frequency of prayer by Pew Research Center, the U.S. is unique in that it has both a high level of wealth ($56,000 per-capita gross domestic product in 2015) and a high level of daily prayer among its population (55% according to the 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study).
In every other wealthy country surveyed – that is, those with a per-capita GDP over $30,000 – fewer than 40% of adults say they pray every day. For example, in Japan, where per-capita GDP is about $38,000, roughly a third (33%) pray daily. In Norway, where per-capita GDP is about $68,000, fewer than one-in-five adults (18%) do. (It’s worth noting that the surveys did not include wealthy countries in the Arabian Peninsula, such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which might be expected to have high levels of prayer.)
More than half of U.S. eligible voters cast a ballot in 2018, the highest turnout rate for a midterm election in recent history, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The increased turnout was particularly pronounced among Hispanics and Asians, making last year’s midterm voters the most racially and ethnically diverse ever.
With enthusiasm at a record high, more than 122 million people voted in the 2018 elections, the highest in a midterm election year since 1978. Last year also marked the first time since 1982 that the voter turnout rate in midterm elections surpassed 50%. This was a stark reversal from the previous midterm year, when turnout had decreased – from 45.5% in 2010 to 41.9% in 2014. (The voter turnout rate is the share who cast a ballot among eligible voters, defined as U.S. citizens ages 18 and older. Historical data in this analysis starts in 1978, the first year the Census Bureau gathered citizenship data for its survey of voters.)
Here are key takeaways on voter turnout by race and ethnicity during the 2018 elections:
Challenges in estimating voter turnout rates with the Current Population Survey
The Census Bureau’s biannual Current Population Survey November Voting and Registration Supplement is the best postelection survey of voting behavior available because of its large sample size and its high response rates. It is also one of the few data sources that provides a comprehensive demographic and statistical portrait of U.S. voters.
(Official voting records provide actual individual-level turnout data, but they do not contain voters’ full demographic details. Pew Research Center and other organizations match voter file data to surveys, providing another high-quality source of this information.)
But estimates based on the CPS November Supplement often differ from official voting statistics based on administrative voting records. This difference has been attributed to the way the CPS estimates voter turnout – through self-reports (which may overstate participation) and a method that treats nonresponses from survey respondents as an indication that the survey respondent did not vote (which may or may not be true).
To address overreporting and nonresponse in the CPS, Aram Hur and Christopher Achen in a 2013 paper proposed a weighting method that differs from the one used by the Census Bureau in that it reflects actual state vote counts. As a result, voter turnout rates reported by the Census Bureau (and shown in this analysis) are often higher than estimates based on this alternative weighting approach.
For example, tabulations using this adjustment and reported by Michael McDonald of the University of Florida produce a Hispanic national voter turnout rate of 36.9% for 2018, 3.5 percentage points below the Census Bureau’s official estimate of 40.4%. For non-Hispanic whites, the adjusted voter turnout rate is 55.2% in 2018, 2.3 points lower than the Census Bureau estimate.
No matter the method used, voter turnout rates in 2018 were the highest for a midterm election measured using the November Voting and Registration Supplement. Under both measures, the voter turnout rate in the 2018 midterms for all the referenced racial and ethnic groups increased to historically high levels.
1All major racial and ethnic groups saw historic jumps in voter turnout. Hispanics and Asians each saw their turnout rates increase to about 40%. For both groups this was about a 13 percentage point increase over 2014, when turnout rates had declined to record lows for a midterm election year. Meanwhile, voter turnout rates for whites (57.5%) and blacks (51.4%) increased by 11.7 and 10.8 percentage points, respectively, since 2014. Voter turnout rates among all groups remained below levels typically seen in presidential election years.
Blacks have long outnumbered whites in U.S. prisons. But a significant decline in the number of black prisoners has steadily narrowed the gap over the past decade, according to new data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
At the end of 2017, federal and state prisons in the United States held about 475,900 inmates who were black and 436,500 who were white – a difference of 39,400, according to BJS. Ten years earlier, there were 592,900 black and 499,800 white prisoners – a difference of 93,100. (This analysis counts only inmates sentenced to more than a year.) The decline in the black-white gap between 2007 and 2017 was driven by a 20% decrease in the number of black inmates, which outpaced a 13% decrease in the number of white inmates.
The gap between white and Hispanic imprisonment also narrowed between 2007 and 2017, but not because of a decrease in Hispanic prisoners. Instead, the number of white prisoners fell while the number of Hispanic inmates increased slightly. At the end of 2017, there were 100,000 more white inmates than Hispanic inmates (436,500 vs. 336,500), down from an inmate difference of 169,400 in 2007 (499,800 white inmates vs. 330,400 Hispanic inmates).
Countries around the world have different systems for financially supporting religious institutions. In the U.S., direct taxpayer funding is prohibited by the Constitution, but churches receive tax exemptions. In some countries in Western Europe, by contrast, churches and other religious institutions are funded through taxes levied by the government.
Even though most Western Europeans are not very religious, and those who live in countries with a church tax can opt out of paying it, support for the tradition remains strong in the region, according to a new Pew Research Center report, based on a 2017 survey of 15 countries. The study examines public attitudes toward church taxes by comparing the views of Western Europeans who say they pay such taxes with those who have opted out.
Here are seven key takeaways from the report:
1Six of 15 surveyed Western European countries have a mandatory church tax for members of religious groups. They are Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.
While the rules for administering the tax or fee vary from country to country, each nation generally assesses a portion of the income (or taxes paid) of taxpayers who are members of the country’s larger churches. While most registered Christians – and, in some countries, members of other religious groups – must pay the tax, people have the option of avoiding the tax by deregistering from their church. The money collected usually pays for church expenses, including clergy salaries, maintaining buildings and funding church charities.
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.