As COVID-19 cases have surged in the United States, young adults face a weakening labor market and an uncertain educational outlook. Between February and June 2020, the share of young adults who are neither enrolled in school nor employed – a measure some refer to as the “disconnection rate” – has more than doubled, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by Pew Research Center. Most of the increase is related to job loss among young workers.
At the beginning of 2020, the share of Americans ages 16 to 24 who were “disconnected” from work and school mirrored rates from the previous year. But between March and April, the share jumped significantly, from 12% to 20%. By June 2020, 28% of youths were neither in school nor the workplace.
While not the highest on record, June’s 28% disconnection rate – which translates into 10.3 million young people – is the highest ever observed for the month of June, dating back to 1989 when the data first became available. This trend is one indicator of the difficulties young people are facing as they transition into adulthood during a global pandemic.
As 2020 census workers begin knocking on the doors of millions of U.S. households that have not returned their census questionnaires, four-in-ten U.S. adults who have not yet responded say they would not be willing to answer their door, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Among those who say they have not participated in the census, 40% say they would not be willing to talk to a census worker who came to the door; 59% say they would be at least somewhat willing. Those who have not responded to the census so far, according to the survey, are disproportionately likely to be from groups the census has struggled to count accurately in previous decennial census collections, including the Black and Hispanic populations.
The survey of 4,708 U.S. adults, conducted online June 16 to 22, finds that 76% say they or someone else in their household already responded to the census. Among the rest, 14% say their household has not responded and 10% are unsure. (The survey share who say they participated in the census is higher than the official Census Bureau response rate. See “How we did this” below for details.)
Since the first census of the United States in 1790, counts that include both citizens and noncitizens have been used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives, with states gaining or losing based on population change over the previous decade. If unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. were removed from the 2020 census apportionment count – which the White House seeks to do – three states could each lose a seat they otherwise would have had and three others each could gain one, according to a Pew Research Center analysis based on government records.
If unauthorized immigrants were excluded from the apportionment count, California, Florida and Texas would each end up with one less congressional seat than they would have been awarded based on population change alone. California would lose two seats instead of one, Florida would gain one instead of two, and Texas would gain two instead of three, according to analysis based on projections of Census Bureau 2019 population estimates and the Center’s estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population.
Most Americans (71%) have heard of a conspiracy theory circulating widely online that alleges that powerful people intentionally planned the coronavirus outbreak. And a quarter of U.S. adults see at least some truth in it – including 5% who say it is definitely true and 20% who say it is probably true, according to a June Pew Research Center survey. The share of Americans who see at least some truth to the theory differs by demographics and partisanship.
Educational attainment is an especially important factor when it comes to perceptions of the conspiracy theory. Around half of Americans with a high school diploma or less education (48%) say the theory is probably or definitely true, according to the survey, which was conducted as part of the Center’s American News Pathways project. That compares with 38% of those who have completed some college but have no degree, 24% of those with a bachelor’s degree and 15% of those with a postgraduate degree.
Our latest analysis shows that the share of adults who live in middle-income households varies widely across the 260 metropolitan areas examined, from 39% in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to 67% in Ogden-Clearfield, Utah. The share of adults who live in lower-income households ranges from 16% in Ogden-Clearfield to 49% in Las Cruces. The estimated share living in upper-income households is greatest in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California (34%) and the smallest in El Centro, California (7%).
Lower-income adults, already under significant financial pressure, have been especially vulnerable to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 29-May 5, 2020. The survey found that 36% of lower-income adults and 28% of middle-income adults said they had lost a job or taken a pay cut due to the coronavirus outbreak, compared with 22% of upper-income adults. In a Center survey conducted in April 2020, only 23% of lower-income adults said they had rainy day funds that could last three months, compared with 48% of middle-income adults and 75% of upper-income adults.
With the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths on the rise in the United States, Republicans and Democrats remain far apart in their views of the threat to public health posed by the coronavirus outbreak. More than eight-in-ten Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party (85%) say the coronavirus is a major threat to the health of the U.S. population. Republicans and Republican leaners see the disease in less serious terms: About as many Republicans say the coronavirus is a major threat to public health (46%) as say it is a minor threat (45%).
The gap between Republicans and Democrats in perceptions of the public health threat posed by COVID-19 is about the same as it was in early May, before cases surged in a number of states, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and Texas. The partisan gap was somewhat smaller during the early stages of the outbreak in the U.S. in mid-March.
Views of the economic threat posed by COVID-19 are similar across both partisan coalitions, according to the survey, conducted July 13 to 19. Overall, 86% of Americans – including 88% of Democrats and 84% of Republicans – now view the coronavirus outbreak as a major threat to the U.S. economy. Concern over the outbreak’s economic impact has remained very high since the spring, when unemployment claims surged and the country’s 11-year economic expansion came to an end.
A majority of Americans think social media companies have too much power and influence in politics, and roughly half think major technology companies should be regulated more than they are now, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that comes as four major tech executives prepare to testify before Congress about their firms’ role in the economy and society.
Overall, 72% of U.S. adults say social media companies have too much power and influence in politics today, according to the June 16-22 survey. Far fewer Americans believe the amount of political power these companies hold is about the right amount (21%) or not enough (6%).
Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats believe social media companies wield too much power, but Republicans are particularly likely to express this view. Roughly eight-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (82%) think these companies have too much power and influence in politics, compared with 63% of Democrats and Democratic leaners. Democrats, on the other hand, are more likely than Republicans to say these companies have about the right amount of power and influence in politics (28% vs. 13%). Small shares in both parties believe these companies do not have enough power.
Even before the United States was roiled by the coronavirus pandemic and protests over racial injustice, many Latinos had concerns about their own place in America with Donald Trump as president.
About half (48%) of Hispanics overall said they had serious concerns about their place in the country, according to a Pew Research Center survey of Latino adults fielded in December 2019. This was particularly true of Hispanic U.S. adults who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, 60% of whom held this view compared with 26% of Hispanics who identify as or lean Republican. Conversely, 72% of Republican Hispanics said they were confident about their place in America, compared with 36% of Democratic Hispanics.
The nation’s Latino population reached 60.6 million in 2019, accounting for about 18% of the national U.S. population. Of the nation’s 41 million Hispanic adults, roughly half are immigrants and about another 23% are the U.S.-born adult children of immigrant parents. About 62% of Latino registered voters identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 34% affiliate with or lean to the Republican Party.
The prospect of conducting the presidential election during a pandemic has prompted many states to reexamine their plans for how to conduct the election safely, including when it comes to access to early or absentee voting.
About two-thirds of Americans (65%) say the option to vote early or absentee should be available to any voter without requiring a documented reason, while a third say early and absentee voting should only be allowed with a reason, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 16-22.
Those who say documentation should be required for absentee voting were asked if COVID-19 should be considered a documented reason. Among the public overall, 19% say documentation should be required but COVID-19 should not be a valid reason; 14% say documented reasons should be required and COVID-19 should be one of them.
Social media posts from members of Congress referencing “Black lives matter” increased dramatically in the weeks following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white police officer during an arrest. There were more total mentions of the phrase “Black lives matter” and the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag from members of the 116th Congress on Twitter and Facebook between May 25 and June 14, 2020, than from all members of Congress in the five years prior.
All told, 236 members (45%) of the 116th Congress have mentioned “Black lives matter” on Facebook or Twitter dating back as far as Jan. 1, 2015 – the earliest data point in the Center’s collection of congressional social media accounts. And of those members, roughly half (121 lawmakers) mentioned these terms on social media for the first time in the three weeks following Floyd’s killing.
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.