Some of the countries where COVID-19 has been deadliest – including the United States and Italy – have populations that skew considerably older than the global average, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of United Nations data.
People who are 60 and older appear to be especially vulnerable to the virus, while children appear to be less susceptible to it. Adults younger than 60 often have been affected by COVID-19, too, but they generally have been less likely than older people to die from it.
Globally, much of the population is quite young, with a median age of about 31. (In other words, if you lined up everyone in the world by age, the people in the middle would be 31.) But median age varies considerably by region and country, as do the shares of each age group in any given place.
It’s been 50 years since the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. The event – a “teach-in on the environment” launched by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin – called attention to the aftermath of a massive oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast the prior year. The protest helped set the political stage for a decade of new regulations, including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Earth Day has since expanded across the globe, bringing citizens together – at least virtually for 2020 – to educate, mobilize and celebrate. While the event focuses on a range of environmental concerns, climate change has loomed especially large over the past decade, sometimes sparking major protests urging more action to reduce it and its effects.
This year’s Earth Day comes at a unique moment. People in many countries remain under stay-at-home orders to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and the resulting shifts in transportation, industrial activity and consumer habits are leading to a decline in carbon emissions. Whether such declines will be temporary or lasting remains unclear.
For Earth Day 2020, we take stock of U.S. public opinion about global climate change and the environment, based on recent Pew Research Center surveys.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has the backing of the overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning registered voters in the November general election contest against Donald Trump.
But after a primary campaign that saw the most diverse group of candidates in the party’s history – including six women, several black, Hispanic and Asian candidates and the first openly gay contender – 41% of Democratic registered voters say they are bothered that the likely Democratic nominee for the 2020 election is a white man in his 70s. About six-in-ten Democratic voters (59%) say this does not bother them, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Read More →
Newsroom employment at U.S. newspapers continues to plummet, falling by around half since 2008, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But a modest increase in jobs after 2014 in other news-producing sectors – especially digital-native organizations – offset some of the losses at newspapers, helping to stabilize the overall number of U.S. newsroom employees in the last five years.
The years covered in the current analysis predate the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The economic effects of the virus have led to a fresh round of layoffs, pay cuts and other changes at U.S. media outlets, especially newspapers.
From 2008 to 2019, overall newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 23%, according to the new analysis. In 2008, there were about 114,000 newsroom employees – reporters, editors, photographers and videographers – in five industries that produce news: newspaper, radio, broadcast television, cable and “other information services” (the best match for digital-native news publishers). By 2019, that number had declined to about 88,000, a loss of about 27,000 jobs.
The new coronavirus pandemic erupted in the midst of the 2020 U.S. census, creating a new set of challenges to achieving an accurate count. The Census Bureau has since delayed field operations, suspended in-person outreach events and asked Congress for an extension of legal deadlines to deliver data. The COVID-19 pandemic also sent many Americans on the move to places other than their usual residence – and they may not know where or how they should be counted.
Americans who relocated because of the coronavirus outbreak include millions of college students sent away from their dorms (or from study abroad), young adults working remotely who returned to their parents’ homes and people who fled urban areas for rural communities. The census is based on the idea that most people in the United States have a “usual residence,” and that is where they should be counted. But what does that mean for people who unexpectedly relocated due to the pandemic?
Census Bureau rules state that most people should be counted at their usual residence on Census Day, which is April 1. The census concept of “usual residence” is not based on where you vote or pay taxes or otherwise are a legal resident. It is defined as the place where you live and sleep most of the time. This idea goes back to the law that governed the nation’s first census, in 1790, which stated that people should be counted at their “usual place of abode.” Read More →
As governments around the world turn to technology to help fight the spread of COVID-19, a majority of Americans are skeptical that tracking someone’s location through their cellphone would help curb the outbreak. At the same time, the public holds mixed views on when – and if – this type of monitoring is acceptable.
Six-in-ten Americans say that if the government tracked people’s locations through their cellphone it would not make much of a difference in limiting the spread of the virus, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted April 7-12, 2020. Smaller shares of Americans – about four-in-ten – believe this type of monitoring would help a lot (16%) or a little (22%) in limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Across demographic groups, roughly half or more believe this type of tracking would have little impact on slowing the COVID-19 outbreak. Still, Democrats (46%) and independents (42%) are more likely than Republicans (31%) to say that if the government tracked people’s locations through their cellphone during the outbreak it would help at least a little to limit the spread of the virus.
The share of Americans who say global climate change is a major threat to the well-being of the United States has grown from 44% in 2009 to 60% this year. But the rise in concern has largely come from Democrats. Opinions among Republicans on this issue remain largely unchanged.
About nine-in-ten Democrats (88%, including independents who lean to the party) now consider climate change a major threat to the nation, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted March 3-29. That’s up 27 percentage points from a 2009 survey. Concern about climate change has increased among both liberal Democrats and moderate or conservative Democrats (rising 20 and 27 points, respectively).
By contrast, the 6 percentage point increase among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents since 2009 is not statistically significant. In the new survey, about three-in-ten Republicans (31%) consider climate change a major threat, while 45% say it is a minor threat and 24% say it is not a threat to the nation.
The character of the person who occupies the Oval Office matters to the vast majority of Americans. Across party lines and religious groups, roughly nine-in-ten or more say it is either somewhat or very important to have a president who lives a moral, ethical life. But Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to say it is “very” important (71% vs. 53%), according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
Fewer Americans (52%) say it’s either somewhat (32%) or very (20%) important for a president to have strong religious beliefs, even if those beliefs are different from their own. But Republicans place more of a premium on having a president who is religious: About two-thirds of Republicans (65%) say this trait is at least somewhat important, compared with four-in-ten Democrats who say this (41%).
With K-12 schools now closed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia because of the coronavirus outbreak, most parents with children in elementary, middle or high school who say their children’s school is currently closed (83%) say they are at least somewhat satisfied with the way their children’s school has been handling instruction during the closures. Still, roughly two-thirds (64%) express at least some concern about their children falling behind in school, with 28% saying they are very concerned, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Lower-income parents express more concern than those in higher-income groups about their children potentially falling behind.
The findings in this analysis are based on the 94% of parents of K-12 students who say their children’s school is currently closed. The analysis comes as education leaders warn that students’ learning may be harmed due to the widespread school closures. Read More →
At a time when many Americans believe their personal information is less secure and are concerned with how companies and the government use their personal data, a substantial share of the public has opted out of using a product or service because of privacy concerns, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 3-17, 2019.
About half (52%) of U.S. adults said they decided recently not to use a product or service because they were worried about how much personal information would be collected about them. 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.