In 1991, Pew Research Center’s predecessor organization, the Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press, conducted a groundbreaking survey in Europe shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We returned to the same set of countries in 2009 to explore how public opinion had changed – and are doing so again today, with the release of a new survey that explores European attitudes three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Here are 10 key takeaways from the new survey, which was conducted from May 13 to Aug. 12, 2019, among 18,979 adults in 14 European Union member nations – plus Russia, Ukraine and the United States, for comparison purposes.
1On balance, people across the former Soviet bloc nations approve of the changeover to a multiparty electoral system and free market economy. Majorities in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania and the area corresponding to former East Germany all rate these transitions favorably.
However, those in Russia are less likely to approve of the democratic and capitalist changeover. In fact, 63% of Russians agree it is a misfortune the Soviet Union no longer exists.
National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 each year, celebrates U.S. Latinos, their culture and their history. Started in 1968 by Congress as Hispanic Heritage Week, it was expanded to a month in 1988. The celebration begins in the middle rather than the start of September because it coincides with national independence days in several Latin American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica celebrate theirs on Sept. 15, followed by Mexico on Sept. 16, Chile on Sept. 18 and Belize on Sept 21.
Here are some key facts about the nation’s Latino population by age, geography and origin groups.
Depending on where you live and whom you work for, Columbus Day may be a paid day off, another holiday entirely, or no different from any regular Monday.
Columbus Day, the second Monday in October, is one of the most inconsistently celebrated U.S. holidays. It’s one of 10 official federal holidays, which means federal workers get a paid day off. And because federal offices will be closed, so will most banks and the bond markets that trade in U.S. government debt (though the stock markets will remain open).
Beyond that, it’s a grab bag. Only 21 states (plus American Samoa and Puerto Rico) give their workers Columbus Day as a paid holiday, according to the Council of State Governments’ comprehensive “Book of the States” (supplemented by Pew Research Center research). Tennessee officially does so too, but on a completely different day – the governor can, and routinely does, move the observance to the Friday after Thanksgiving, to facilitate four-day weekends. Columbus, Ohio, no longer observes its namesake’s holiday, though Columbus, Georgia, still does. And three states and the District of Columbia give their workers a paid holiday on the second Monday in October, but under another name.
The vast majority of people across 15 countries in Western Europe and in the United States say they would be willing to accept Muslims as neighbors. Slightly lower shares on both sides of the Atlantic say they would be willing to accept a Muslim as a family member.
At the same time, there is no consensus on whether Islam fits into these societies. Across Western Europe, people are split on Islam’s compatibility with their country’s culture and values, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey. And in the U.S., public opinion remains about evenly divided on whether Islam is part of mainstream American society and if Islam is compatible with democracy, according to a 2017 poll.
The vast majority of non-Muslim Americans (89%) say they would be willing to accept Muslims as neighbors, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The same survey finds that most people (79%) say they would be willing to accept Muslims as members of their family.
The United States plans to admit a maximum of 18,000 refugees in fiscal year 2020, down from a cap of 30,000 in the one that ended Sept. 30, 2019, under a new refugee admissions ceiling set by the Trump administration. This would be the lowest number of refugees resettled by the U.S. in a single year since 1980, when Congress created the nation’s refugee resettlement program.
Even before the administration’s announcement, refugee resettlement in the U.S. had dropped to historic lows during Donald Trump’s presidency, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of State Department data. As a result, the U.S. is no longer the world’s top country for refugee admissions. It had previously led the world on this measure for decades, admitting more refugees each year than all other countries combined.
The decline in U.S. refugee admissions comes at a time when the number of refugees worldwide has reached the highest levels since World War II.
Here are key facts from our research about refugees entering the United States:
The Supreme Court holds a unique place in American government. Sitting justices have lifetime tenure and can influence public policy long after the presidents who nominated them – and the senators who confirmed them – have departed. Partisans have often battled over these nominations because of the court’s ability to reshape or strike down laws favored by one side or another.
The court begins a new term on Oct. 7, taking up cases on guns, abortion and gay rights, among other issues. As the term begins, here are five facts about the Supreme Court, based on surveys and other recent research by Pew Research Center.
1The public’s opinion of the Supreme Court has rebounded after falling to a 30-year low in the summer of 2015. Around six-in-ten Americans (62%) have a favorable view of the high court and 31% have an unfavorable view, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in July. The share of Americans with a favorable view of the court is 14 percentage points higher than in July 2015, when only around half (48%) approved. The 2015 survey was conducted in the wake of a term that saw the justices uphold the Affordable Care Act and legalize same-sex marriage; it found that views of the court were strongly linked to views of these high-profile issues.
A majority of Americans are skeptical of the impact that industry funding has on scientific research and on the recommendations made by practitioners, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. The public is somewhat more positive – though still ambivalent – about the effects of government funding on research and practitioner recommendations.
Most U.S. adults (58%) say they trust scientific research findings less if they hear that the research was funded by an industry group. About a third (32%) say industry funding makes no difference in whether they trust research, while only 10% say they trust industry-funded research findings more.
The pattern is similar when it comes to trusting science practitioners’ recommendations. Around six-in-ten Americans (62%) say they trust practitioner recommendations less when they hear the practitioner received financial incentives from an industry group. Around a quarter (27%) say such incentives make no difference; 10% say they trust practitioner recommendations more under these circumstances.
The U.S. House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s interactions with the president of Ukraine comes more than two decades after the last presidential impeachment crisis – the one that engulfed President Bill Clinton in 1998 and early 1999. The circumstances – factual, political and societal – were very different back then, and so was U.S. public opinion about the push for impeachment.
A quick review of the facts: In early 1998, rumors began circulating that Clinton had had a sexual relationship with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. Clinton denied the allegations, both publicly and in a sworn deposition, but later admitted they were true. Independent counsel Kenneth Starr, whose investigation started as an inquiry into the Clintons’ financial dealings but broadened to other matters, argued that Clinton had committed perjury and obstructed justice by trying to influence the testimony of Lewinsky and other witnesses. The Republican-controlled House impeached Clinton on those charges, but in February 1999 the Senate – also led by Republicans – acquitted him.
While the Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits school-sponsored prayer in public schools, the court also has made clear that individual students have a right to pray in public settings. And, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of teens ages 13 to 17, a sizable share of students in public school are availing themselves of this right.
About a quarter of teens who identify with a religion and attend public school (26%) say they regularly pray before eating lunch at school. There are differences across religious groups, with 39% of evangelical Protestant teens, 18% of Catholic teens and 11% of mainline Protestant teens saying they often or sometimes pray before eating lunch. (The survey’s sample size was not large enough to report on the practices of teens who belong to most other religious groups.)
The survey also examined public school prayer from a different angle by asking teens whether they see other students praying before eating lunch. Around one-in-six teens in public schools (16%) say they often or sometimes see other students doing this. Teens who identify with a religion are more likely than those who self-identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” to notice this (19% vs. 9%).
Over the course of the nation’s history, there has been a slow but steady decrease in the size of the average U.S. household – from 5.79 people per household in 1790 to 2.58 in 2010. But this decade will likely be the first since the one that began in 1850 to break this long-running trend, according to newly released Census Bureau data. In 2018 there were 2.63 people per household.
Households are increasing in size mathematically because the growth in the number of households is trailing population growth. The newly released data indicates that the population residing in households has grown 6% since 2010 (the smallest population growth since the 1930s), while the number of households has grown at a slower rate (4%, from 116.7 million in 2010 to 121.5 million in 2018).
The increase in household size is significant because it could have implications for national economic growth. Rising household size reduces the demand for housing, resulting in less residential construction and less demand for home appliances and furniture. In general, it leads to a less vigorous housing sector – fewer apartment leases and home purchases, as well as less spending related to housing, such as cable company subscriptions and home accessories suppliers.
The long-running decline in American household size can be tied to at least two demographic trends. The size of immediate families has declined over time as women have had fewer children. In 1790, the total fertility rate of white women was 7.0 births (meaning a white woman had, on average, seven births in her lifetime). By 1870 it had fallen to 4.6 births, and by 1940 it stood at 2.2. For black women, the total fertility rates were 7.7 and 2.8 births for 1870 and 1940, respectively.
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.