The nation’s imprisonment rate is at its lowest level in more than two decades. The greatest decline has come among black Americans, whose imprisonment rate has decreased 34% since 2006.
There were 1,501 black prisoners for every 100,000 black adults at the end of 2018, according to a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the statistical agency of the U.S. Justice Department. That was down sharply from 2,261 black inmates per 100,000 black adults at the end of 2006, according to an earlier BJS study. These statistics only count inmates sentenced to more than a year in state or federal prison. They exclude inmates held in local jails and those sentenced to shorter periods of imprisonment.
Imprisonment rates have also declined for the two other major racial or ethnic groups tracked by BJS – Hispanic and white Americans – though not as much as among blacks. Between 2006 and 2018, the imprisonment rate fell 26% among Hispanics and 17% among whites. Read More →
As the coronavirus sweeps through the country, Pew Research Center has been surveying Americans to explore its impact on their lives. The surveys have revealed notable racial and ethnic differences in experiences with the illness or death of loved ones, as well as job losses and pay cuts. There is also new evidence of long-standing differences among racial and ethnic groups, in some cases tied to underlying economic, geographic and health circumstances.
Here are some key findings about race, ethnicity and the COVID-19 outbreak, drawn from surveys conducted during the first months of the crisis. Read More →
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has brought privacy and surveillance concerns to the forefront – from hacked video conferencing sessions to proposed government tracking of people’s cellphones as a measure to limit and prevent the spread of the virus. Over the past year, Pew Research Center has surveyed Americans on their views related to privacy, personal data and digital surveillance.
A solid majority of Americans say the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way journalists report the news, but they are far less certain about how the outbreak is affecting news organizations’ bottom lines, according to an April 20-26 survey conducted among 10,139 U.S. adults as part of Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways project.
About seven-in-ten U.S. adults (71%) say that as a result of the pandemic, journalists have had to change the way they report – either somewhat or a great deal. A total of 28% say journalists have not had to change how they report much or at all.
Despite reports of the outbreak’s economic toll on the news industry, the public’s sense about its impact on the financial well-being of most news organizations is far from clear. Roughly one-third (34%) of adults say they are not sure about that impact; about another third (32%) say the pandemic has hurt those organizations financially, either by a little or a lot. Equal shares say it has not had much impact financially (17%) or that it has helped news organizations’ bottom lines a little or a lot (17%). Read More →
Since the United Nations proclaimed May 3 World Press Freedom Day in 1993, the day has been used to celebrate the fundamental principles of media freedom, as well as to assess the state of this freedom and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. To mark the day, here are five charts that show how people globally see the freedom of the press. All findings are taken from Pew Research Center surveys.
Over the past several months, the coronavirus outbreak has become a global pandemic that has disrupted the lives of billions of people and left governments, businesses and even “fact tanks” like Pew Research Center struggling to adapt to a new reality.
The Center’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has included the difficult decision to suspend much of our international survey work until further notice. The reason? A majority of our surveys around the globe are still conducted face-to-face. We could not in good conscience proceed with data collection that placed interviewers, and the persons with whom they interacted, at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. (Our polling in countries where surveys are conducted by phone is continuing, as is our U.S. polling, which is conducted primarily online.)
In this age of widespread mobile phone ownership, internet access and globe-spanning communications, it may surprise some readers to learn that the Center still relies so heavily on face-to-face interviewing. The objective of our surveys is to represent an accurate cross-section of a country’s population. So, if a sizable share of people in a country do not have access to a phone, a phone survey may not be the best choice. In many countries where this is the case or access to new technologies isn’t widely available, a face-to-face approach can be a better method to collect representative data. Read More →
The internet and smartphones have long been embedded in Americans’ lives. But as the COVID-19 outbreak has led government officials to close nonessential businesses and schools and issue stay-at-home orders, many aspects of everyday life have migrated online.
Some Americans – particularly those who are younger or college educated – are finding virtual ways to connect, shop and be active during this time, according to a Pew Research Center survey that asked U.S. adults in early April about six types of online and mobile activities they may be engaging in due to the outbreak.
Roughly a third of Americans (32%) say they have had a virtual party or social gathering with friends or family, according to the April 7-12 survey. (Survey questions were posed to internet users on the Center’s American Trends Panel. Throughout this analysis, findings are reported as shares of the adult population.)
Besides turning to digital means to socialize, one-in-five Americans say they have watched a concert or a play that was livestreamed through the internet or an app. And with fitness centers, gyms and even some public parks closed, 18% of Americans say they have participated in an online fitness class or done an online workout video at home.
In addition, 17% of adults say they have attended a class online for school as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Most postsecondary schools throughout the United States have shut down their campuses and shifted to online classes.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has transformed virtually every aspect of public life in America, also has touched a very intimate part of Americans’ lives: their religious faith and worship habits.
Some Americans say their religious faith has strengthened as a result of the outbreak, even as the vast majority of U.S. churchgoers report that their congregations have closed regular worship services to the public, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Americans in historically black Protestant churches and those who describe themselves as very religious are particularly likely to say their faith has strengthened.
One-quarter of U.S. adults overall (24%) say their faith has become stronger because of the coronavirus pandemic, while just 2% say their faith has become weaker. The majority say their faith hasn’t changed much (47%) or that the question isn’t applicable because they were not religious to begin with (26%).
For some governments, the debt incurred on COVID-19 relief will add to the considerable red ink already on their ledgers before the pandemic arrived. Leading up to the crisis, government debt accounted for a large chunk of gross domestic product – or exceeded it – in dozens of countries, including some of the world’s biggest economies, according to data published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October 2019. (This analysis focuses on “gross government debt,” including intragovernmental debt. It excludes private debt held by businesses and individuals.)
Abortion remains a contentious issue among U.S. Christians. But when millions of churchgoers file into the pews each week, what do they really hear? A new Pew Research Center analysis finds that just 4% of sermons shared on U.S. church websites in the spring of 2019 discussed abortion even once – and when they did, it was rarely mentioned repeatedly. Still, pastors who broached the topic were nearly unanimous in their opposition.
Although they are relatively rare, these mentions of abortion add up over time: Christian churches that shared their sermons online posted an average of nine sermons each during the eight-week study period – and roughly one-in-five of those congregations (19%) heard at least one sermon that mentioned abortion. To arrive at these conclusions, the Center analyzed nearly 50,000 sermons shared online or livestreamed by more than 6,000 U.S. churches and delivered between April 7 and June 1, 2019 – a period that included Easter.
While the database is not representative of all U.S. Christian sermons, it offers a window into what many Americans hear each week from the pulpit. (See this report for details about how the analysis was conducted.)
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.