There were nearly 467,000 apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2018, the most for any calendar year since at least 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the most recent available data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The increase was driven in part by a dramatic spike in border apprehensions of family members at the end of last year.
Despite the increase, the number of border apprehensions in 2018 remained far below the levels throughout most of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, when around 1 million or more migrants were being apprehended each fiscal year.
The situation at the southwest border has become the focus of the now nearly month-long partial federal government shutdown. President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders are at an impasse over Trump’s proposal for a wall at the border.
In the months leading up to the shutdown, there was a large increase in the number of people in family units apprehended at the border. Monthly family apprehensions subsequently hit new highs each month from September through December, according to data going back to 2012. There were nearly 17,000 family member apprehensions in September, more than 23,000 in October, about 25,000 in November and a record of more than 27,000 in December.
All told, roughly 163,000 family members were apprehended last year – more than three times as many as in 2017, and the highest number since at least 2012.
As the longest federal government shutdown in the nation’s history continues, it’s not just around the nation’s capital that government workers have been affected. The majority of federal workers live and work far from Washington, with substantial numbers found in congressional districts scattered across the country – and represented by both Democratic and Republican members of Congress.
Looking at all current members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the average number of federal workers is roughly the same in districts represented by Democratic representatives (10,800) as it is in districts represented by Republican members (10,400), according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data. (Similarly, there is little partisan difference in the median number of federal workers represented.)
The analysis is based on the total number of federal government employees by congressional district, but data are not available at the congressional district level to break the numbers down by those who are and are not furloughed. State-level analyses of federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown have found that, along with the Washington, D.C., area, several rural states – including Montana and Alaska –have been significantly affected by the shutdown.
Ukraine is an overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian nation, with nearly eight-in-ten adults (78%) identifying as Orthodox (compared with 71% in Russia), according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey of much of the country (some contested areas in eastern Ukraine were not surveyed). This is up from 39% who said they were Orthodox Christian in 1991 – the year the officially atheist Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine gained its independence. With roughly 35 million Orthodox Christians, Ukraine now has the third-largest Orthodox population in the world, after Russia and Ethiopia.
In addition, Orthodox Christianity is closely tied to Ukraine’s national and political life. Roughly half of all Ukrainians (51%) say it is at least somewhat important for someone to be Orthodox to be truly Ukrainian. The same is true for Russia, where 57% say being Orthodox is important to being truly Russian. In both countries, about half (48% in each) say religious leaders have at least some influence in political matters, although most Ukrainians (61%) and roughly half of Russians (52%) would prefer if this were not the case.
There were more than 14,000 certified organic farms in the United States in 2016, according to the latest available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This represents a 56% increase from 2011, the earliest comparable year. And while California remains king when it comes to the number of organic farms, several other states saw dramatic growth in organic farming over this time, particularly in the South.
As the number of organic farms has increased, so too have sales of certified organic products: U.S. farms and ranches sold nearly $7.6 billion in certified organic goods in 2016, more than double the $3.5 billion in sales in 2011.
The ongoing shutdown of large parts of the federal government – now at 18 days and counting – has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers either furloughed or working without pay indefinitely, reduced staffing at national parks to skeleton levels, and closed down popular museums. It’s also squeezed the daily flood of data from federal agencies down to a trickle, affecting everyone from investors and farmers to researchers and journalists.
Figuring out which of the government’s data streams will continue to flow and which have been stoppered is complicated, not least because some agencies were fully funded before last month’s budget negotiations reached a stalemate, and thus have been able to keep operating. Here’s a look at what data are and are not available during the shutdown, from what we’ve been able to find out via agency release schedules and planning documents, third-party calendars, and our own reporting. Bear in mind that, based on past experience, scheduled data releases may be delayed because of information-gathering backlogs even after the budget impasse is resolved and agencies fully reopen. Read More →
The share of Americans who use ride-hailing services has increased dramatically. Today, 36% of U.S. adults say they have ever used a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in fall 2018. By comparison, just 15% of Americans said they had used these services in late 2015, and one-third had never heard of ride-hailing before.
Ride-hailing use has increased across most demographic groups, but adoption figures continue to vary by age, educational attainment and income level. For example, roughly half of Americans ages 18 to 29 (51%) say they have used a ride-hailing service, compared with 24% of those ages 50 and older. Those whose annual household income is $75,000 or more are roughly twice as likely as those earning less than $30,000 to have used these services (53% vs. 24%). And over half of adults with a bachelor’s or advanced degree (55%) say they have used these services, compared with 20% of those who have a high school diploma or less.
Ridership also varies substantially in different types of communities. While 45% of urban residents and 40% of suburban residents have used a ride-hailing app, only 19% of Americans living in rural areas have done so. (This survey categorized Americans as urban, suburban or rural based on their own description of their community type.)
Notably, adoption gaps between urban and rural Americans are present even within groups that collectively use ride-hailing services at high rates. For example, among Americans who earn $75,000 or more annually, urban residents are more than twice as likely to have used these services as high-income individuals living in rural communities (71% vs. 32%). Substantial urban-rural differences also exist among Americans with a college degree and among those ages 18 to 29.
These differences could be related to the fact that ride-hailing services are less widespread in rural areas. This survey did not specifically ask if people knew whether ride-hailing services were available in their community, but a separate Center survey conducted earlier this year found that rural residents were significantly more likely than those living in other areas to say access to public transportation is a major problem where they live.
Ride-hailing companies have made efforts to expand their services to rural and remote areas. But lower population density, long travel distance and relatively low incentives for drivers are often cited as potential hurdles.
Donald Trump made fighting crime a central focus of his campaign for president, and he cited it again during his January 2017 inaugural address. His administration has since taken steps intended to address crime in American communities, such as instructing federal prosecutors to pursue the strongest possible charges against criminal suspects. Here are five facts about crime in the United States.
1Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the past quarter century. The two most commonly cited sources of crime statistics in the U.S. both show a substantial decline in the violent crime rate since it peaked in the early 1990s. One is an annual report by the FBI of serious crimes reported to police in approximately 18,000 jurisdictions around the country. The other is an annual survey of more than 90,000 households conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which asks Americans ages 12 and older whether they were victims of crime, regardless of whether they reported those crimes to the police.
Using the FBI numbers, the violent crime rate fell 49% between 1993 and 2017. Using the BJS data, the rate fell 74% during that span. (For both studies, 2017 is the most recent full year of data.) The long-term decline in violent crime hasn’t been uninterrupted, though. The FBI, for instance, reported increases in the violent crime rate between 2004 and 2006 and again between 2014 and 2016.
The new Congress is slightly more religiously diverse than its predecessor, but it remains overwhelmingly Christian, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of congressional data collected by CQ Roll Call.
For the first day of the 116th Congress, here are five facts about the religious affiliation of members of Congress:
1The religious composition of the new Congress is very different from that of the U.S. adult population. While the number of self-identified Christians in Congress has ticked down slightly, Christians as a whole – and especially Protestants and Catholics – are still overrepresented in proportion to their share in the general public. But by far, the largest difference between the U.S. public and Congress is in the share of people who are unaffiliated with a religious group. In the general public, 23% say they are atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” In Congress, just one person says she is religiously unaffiliated – Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., who was recently elected to the Senate after three terms in the House.
While Slovakia is majority Catholic (63%), around seven-in-ten Czechs (72%) are religiously unaffiliated – the highest share of unaffiliated adults in 34 European countries surveyed by the Center. In addition, far more people in Slovakia than in the Czech Republic say they believe in God (69% and 29%, respectively).
Guns are deeply ingrained in American society. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and around three-in-ten American adults personally own a gun. Most of these gun owners say the right to own firearms is essential to their own personal sense of freedom.
At the same time, gun violence – from big-city murders to mass shootings – has spurred debate in Congress and state legislatures over proposals to limit Americans’ access to firearms. Counting murders and suicides, nearly 40,000 people died of gun-related violence in the United States in 2017, the highest annual total in decades.
Here are seven key findings about Americans’ experiences with and attitudes toward guns, drawn from recent Pew Research Center surveys and other data sources.
1Three-in-ten American adults (30%) say they personally own a gun, and an additional 11% say they live with someone who does, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in March and April 2017. Whether or not they personally own a gun, Americans have broad exposure to firearms: Nearly half of U.S. adults (48%) grew up in a household with guns, nearly six-in-ten (59%) have friends who own guns and around seven-in-ten (72%) have fired a gun at some point in their lives – including 55% of those who have never personally owned a gun.
Among Americans who own a gun, nearly two-thirds (66%) say they own more than one, including 29% who own five or more. A large majority of gun owners (72%) own a handgun or pistol, while 62% own a rifle and 54% own a shotgun. About three-quarters of gun owners (73%) say they could never see themselves not owning a gun.
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.