The population of Puerto Rico stood at 3.2 million in 2018, its lowest point since 1979 and down sharply from 2017, when hurricanes Maria and Irma hit the island, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The 3.9% decline in 2018 represents the largest year-to-year drop since 1950, the first year for which annual data is available.
Three years after Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be a major U.S. political party’s nominee for president, a historic high of six women are running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. But how do Americans feel about the prospect of a woman in the White House? And what barriers do they see for women in politics?
A Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2018, before any of the current contenders announced their candidacy, found that more than four-in-ten Americans (45%) said they personally hoped a woman would be elected president in their lifetime. About half of all women (51%) said they personally hoped this would happen, compared with 38% of men.
Overall, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents were more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to say they hoped a woman would be elected president in their lifetime (63% vs. 24%). But Democratic women were particularly likely to say this (68% vs. 56% of Democratic men). And in a survey conducted this spring, Democratic women were more likely than Democratic men to express enthusiasm at the prospect of the party’s nominee being a woman.
As the next round of the Democratic presidential debates approaches, Democrats are largely united in the belief that the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. However, they are internally divided over how this should be achieved.
Overall, 53% of Americans say it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, while 44% say the government does not have this responsibility. The share saying the government is responsible for ensuring all Americans have health care coverage has declined from 60% in September 2018.
Republicans and Democrats continue to hold opposing views on whether or not it is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure health care coverage. While about eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (81%) say the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health coverage, a similar share of Republicans and Republican leaners (77%) say the government does not have this responsibility.
Those who say the government is responsible for making sure all Americans have health coverage are divided over how health insurance should be provided. While 27% of adults support a single national government program, a similar share (24%) say universal health care should be provided through a mix of private insurance companies and government programs.
As smartphones and other mobile devices have become more widespread, 28% of American adults now report that they go online “almost constantly,” up from 21% in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8 to Feb. 7, 2019.
Overall, 81% of Americans say they go online on a daily basis. That figure includes the 28% who go online almost constantly, as well as 45% who say they go online several times a day and 9% who go online about once a day. Some 8% go online several times a week or less often, while 10% of adults say they do not use the internet at all.
Congressional leaders and the White House recently agreed on a two-year spending deal that would raise the national debt limit. The deal, which still must be approved by the full Congress, would increase federal spending and suspend the debt ceiling until after the 2020 presidential election.
With federal spending and debt back in the news, it’s a good time for an update of our primer on the U.S. national debt, the debt limit and interest payments on the nation’s credit line:
1The federal government’s total debt stands at $22.023 trillion as of the end of June, according to the Treasury Department’s monthly reckoning. Of this amount, nearly $22 trillion is subject to the statutory debt ceiling, leaving just $25 million in unused debt capacity.
The majority of Baby Boomers (U.S. adults born 1946 to 1964) are still in the labor force, and the oldest among them are staying in the labor force at the highest annual rate for people their age in more than half a century. In 2018, 29% of Boomers ages 65 to 72 were working or looking for work, outpacing the labor market engagement of the Silent Generation (21%) and the Greatest Generation (19%) when they were the same age, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of official labor force data.
The modern high rate of older Boomers staying in the labor force is attributable to both Boomer women and men. Throughout adulthood, Boomer women have been more likely to be in the labor force than earlier generations, paving the way for their high labor force participation at the ages of 65 to 72 (25%). At the same time, 34% of Boomer men ages 65 to 72 were in the labor force in 2018. Older men have not participated in the labor force at that rate since the early 1970s.
Looking at younger Baby Boomers, 66% of adults ages 54 to 64 were in the labor force in 2018. Though surpassing the Silent and Greatest generations when they were the same age, that is not a modern record since a similar portion of this age group was in the labor force during the Great Recession.
Every year since 2004, Pew Research Center has issued an assessment of the state of the news media, tracking key audience and economic indicators for a variety of sectors within the U.S. journalism industry. Here are some key findings about the state of the industry in 2018:
1U.S. newspaper circulation reached its lowest level since 1940, the first year with available data. Total daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) was an estimated 28.6 million for weekday and 30.8 million for Sunday in 2018. Those numbers were down 8% and 9%, respectively, from the previous year, according to the Center’s analysis of Alliance for Audited Media data. Both figures are now below their lowest recorded levels, though weekday circulation first passed this threshold in 2013.
Digital circulation for daily newspapers is harder to track. It did rise in 2018, though not enough to fully reverse the overall decline in circulation.
Revenue from circulation was steady in 2018, but ad revenue for newspapers fell 13%, according to an analysis of Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Though some national publications have seen growth in revenue and in digital subscriptions over the past few years, the newspaper sector overall continues to face challenges.
As former Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller prepares to testify before Congress, nearly two-thirds of Americans – including, for the first time, a majority of Republicans – say they are confident he conducted a fair investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The public is far less confident that the Trump administration is taking action to prevent Russia from influencing future U.S. elections. About half of Americans (46%) are very or somewhat confident that the administration is making a serious effort to block future Russian influence, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Republicans’ views of Mueller’s investigation, which were generally negative over the probe’s two-year course, are much more positive now that it has been completed. Six-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents now say they are confident in the fairness of the investigation. In January, just 39% of Republicans said they were confident Mueller was conducting a fair inquiry.
Many Americans say that religion is very important in their lives. But how much do people in the U.S. actually know about their faith tradition – or about religions besides their own?
A new report from Pew Research Center tries to answer this question by asking U.S. adults 32 fact-based questions about a variety of religious topics. The survey includes questions about the Bible and Christianity, as well as atheism, agnosticism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Respondents also were asked about religious demographics.
The average U.S. adult is able to answer slightly fewer than half of the religious knowledge questions correctly (14.2 of the 32). But the survey finds that Americans’ level of knowledge varies based on who is answering the questions.
Here are key findings from the report:
Before you read this
Test your religious knowledge by taking an interactive quiz. The short quiz includes some questions recently asked in the nationally representative survey that forms the basis of this report. After completing the quiz, you can see how you did in comparison with the general public and with people like yourself.
1Most Americans are familiar with some of the basics of Christianity, and even know a few facts about Islam. But fewer get questions right about Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism. Eight-in-ten U.S. adults know that in the Christian tradition, Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus – rather than the Crucifixion, the Ascension to heaven or the Last Supper. A similar share know the Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that there is one God in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And six-in-ten know that Ramadan is an Islamic holy month and that Mecca is Islam’s holiest city. However, just one-quarter of Americans know that Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year. Roughly one-in-five Americans (18%) know that the “truth of suffering” is part of Buddhism’s four “noble truths,” and 15% correctly identify the Vedas as Hindu texts. Read More →
Many Americans see declining levels of trust in the country, whether it is their confidence in the federal government and elected officials or their trust of each other, a new Pew Research Center report finds. And most believe that the interplay between the trust issues in the public and the interpersonal sphere has made it harder to solve some of the country’s problems. This research is part of the Center’s ongoing focus on issues tied to trust, facts and democracy. Here are some of the key takeaways from these findings:
1Americans think the public’s trust has been declining in both the federal government and in their fellow citizens. Three-quarters of Americans say that their fellow citizens’ trust in the federal government has been shrinking, and 64% believe that about peoples’ trust in each other.
When asked a separate question about the reasons why trust has declined in the past 20 years, people offer a host of reasons in their written answers. Those who think there has been a decline of trust in the federal government over these two decades often see the problem tied to the government’s performance: 36% of those who see the decline cite this. Some worry the government is doing too much, others say too little, and others mention the government doing the wrong things or nothing at all. Respondents also cite concerns about how money has corrupted it and how corporations control the political process. President Donald Trump and his administration are mentioned in 14% of answers, and a smaller share lays the blame on Democrats. Additionally, 10% of those who see decline lay fault at the feet of the news media.
Those who think interpersonal trust has declined in the past generation offer a laundry list of societal and political problems, including a sense that Americans on the whole have become more lazy, greedy and dishonest. Some respondents make a connection between what they think is poor government performance – especially gridlock in Washington – and the toll it has taken on their fellow citizens’ hearts. Overall, 49% of adults think interpersonal trust has been tailing off because people are less reliable than they used to be. Read More →
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.