Nearly 14% of the U.S. population was born in another country, numbering more than 44 million people in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
This was the highest share of foreign-born people in the United States since 1910, when immigrants accounted for 14.7% of the American population. The record share was 14.8% in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the United States.
Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly agree that political leaders should be honest and ethical. There is far less common ground among partisans over whether particular leaders – including President Donald Trump – display these qualities.
In a Pew Research Center survey conducted last summer, 91% of Americans said it is essential for someone in high political office to be honest and ethical – the top attribute out of nine asked about in the survey. There were no partisan differences in this assessment: Nearly identical shares of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (90%) and Republicans and Republican leaners (91%) said this. There were partisan differences over whether several other qualities – such as maintaining a tone of civility and respect and working well under pressure – are essential for political leadership.
While partisans agree about the importance of political leaders’ honesty and ethical behavior in general, they disagree sharply when asked about honesty and ethical behavior in the context of Trump and his administration, as they have for other elected officials.
Americans have mixed expectations for the year ahead: 47% say they expect 2019 will be better than 2018, while 43% say it will be worse. Last January, the public had a more optimistic view of the coming year, with 61% saying 2018 would be better than 2017.
The Pew Research Center survey, conducted Jan. 9-14 (before the partial shutdown of the federal government ended), finds that expectations for the year ahead have declined among members of both parties.
As has been the case since Donald Trump’s election, Republicans are far more optimistic than Democrats about the coming year.
Seven-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (70%) say 2019 will be better than 2018. By comparison, just 32% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say they expect this year to be better than last year.
But members of both parties – particularly Republicans – are less optimistic than they were about 2018, when 88% of Republicans and 42% of Democrats said the year ahead would be better than the one that had just ended.
In public opinion surveys, the way questions are asked can influence the answers people give. To better understand this phenomenon, pollsters sometimes measure the degree to which different questions elicit different responses. One way they do this is through survey experiments.
In general, survey experiments involve changing some aspect of the survey experience for some respondents. While one person might see a question that uses one word or phrase, for example, another might see a question that uses a slightly different word or phrase.
The results of survey experiments provide two kinds of information for researchers. First, they help measure opinion with more nuance: By changing aspects of a survey question, researchers can measure relative differences in opinion. Second, they can help researchers design better questions by showing whether answers change if different words are used. If researchers see no major differences, they can be more confident that both kinds of questions capture the same underlying opinion.
A key to conducting survey experiments is that participants are randomly assigned to different variations of a survey; the version they see is not based on their previous answers or any other personal characteristics. This way, we can generally be confident that any differences in answers across groups of respondents are not based on each group’s particular attributes.
In a January 2019 survey, Pew Research Center asked respondents about the availability of jobs in their area. In that survey, researchers randomly assigned half of respondents to receive a version of the question that asked about “good” jobs while the other half were asked a version that didn’t include this positive qualifier.
The experiment found that respondents were more likely to say plenty of “jobs” were available in their community than they were to say plenty of “good jobs” were available (60% vs. 48%). While there are partisan differences in these views (Republicans had more positive views of job availability), both Republicans and Democrats are significantly more likely to say “jobs” are available than to say “good jobs” are.
The last Congress was the first one in more than a decade in which Republicans controlled both the House and Senate while a president of their own party sat in the White House. And while the 115th Congress was more legislatively active than its recent predecessors, the proportion of substantive to ceremonial legislation was much the same, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. congressional data.
Between its inception in January 2017 and its final day on Jan. 3, the GOP-led 115th Congress enacted 442 public laws, the most since the 110th Congress (2007-09). Of those laws, 69% were substantive (as judged by our deliberately generous criteria) – not much different from the 71% substantive share achieved by the 114th Congress, in which the Republican-controlled House and Senate faced off against Democratic President Barack Obama. (The 114th Congress passed 329 laws in total.)
Nearly a third of the laws passed by the 115th Congress were ceremonial in nature; it was the third Congress in a row in which the ceremonial share increased. Those ceremonial measures include 109 that renamed post offices, courthouses and the like – a fourth of the Congress’ total legislative output.
In our regular assessments of Congress’ legislative productivity, we’ve cast a wide net regarding what makes a law “substantive.” Basically, anything that makes a change in federal law (however tiny) or authorizes the spending of taxpayer dollars (however few) makes the cut. Besides the measures referred to above on building-renamings, we count laws as “ceremonial” if they award medals, designate special days, authorize commemorative coins or otherwise memorialize historic events. (We exclude entirely “private laws,” which typically exempt a single person from a single provision of general law.)
Whoever emerges from Venezuela’s political turmoil to rule the country will face a public that doesn’t trust its national government and continues to experience deep economic hardship and deprivation, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted from Sept. 12 to Dec. 7, 2018.
Earlier this week Juan Guaidó, leader of the National Assembly, swore himself in as interim president of Venezuela, offering a direct challenge to President Nicolás Maduro, successor to Hugo Chávez and leader of the country since 2013. Guaidó was subsequently recognized as the legitimate leader by the United States and a host of other nations. Maduro had won re-election last May amid charges of election fraud, and his administration has been besieged by a worsening economic crisis and a wave of nationwide protests.
Only a third of Venezuelans trust their national government. Among the roughly two-thirds who distrust it, nearly four-in-ten (39%) say they don’t trust it at all.
Younger Venezuelans and those with higher levels of education are slightly less likely to trust the government. Partisan differences are particularly stark. Those who identified as supporters of Maduro’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) when the poll was conducted are much more likely to trust the government than those who support other parties or have no partisan affiliation; 71% of PSUV backers trust the national government, compared with just 20% of other people.
The Latin America and Caribbean region was the world’s fastest-growing source of international migrants from 1990 through 2010. However, growth in the number of emigrants from this region has slowed dramatically in recent years – due in large part to a slowdown of people leaving Mexico, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data.
The global population of emigrants (people living outside their country of birth) from Latin American-Caribbean nations grew by 7% between 2010 and 2017, according to the analysis, which uses data from the United Nations and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is slower than the overall worldwide growth rate of 17% during the same period. Other regions, meanwhile, saw faster growth than Latin America during the period, including the Middle East and North Africa (38% increase) and sub-Saharan Africa (32%).
Even though the percentage growth of the emigrant population from Latin American-Caribbean nations has slowed, the region is still a large source of emigrants. About 37 million people from the region lived outside their country of birth in 2017, up from 35 million in 2010 and accounting for nearly 15% of the world’s more than 250 million international migrants in 2017. The Asia-Pacific region is the source of the world’s largest emigrant population (85 million), as well as the largest share of the global total (33%).
Politicians have long pursued the “Catholic vote” – a potentially big prize, given that the nation’s roughly 51 million Catholic adults constitute the largest single religious institution in the United States. But while Catholics once were more likely to vote Democratic, they have never been monolithic politically. Today, Catholics are evenly split between the two major parties and are sharply polarized, much like the broader U.S. public.
Roughly equal shares of Catholic registered voters have identified with or leaned toward the Democratic and Republican parties in recent years (47% vs. 46%, respectively). And according to exit polls, nearly identical shares of Catholics voted for Democrats (50%) and Republicans (49%) in 2018 elections for the U.S. House of Representatives. White Catholics are more likely to vote Republican, while Hispanic Catholics overwhelmingly back Democrats. (Most American Catholics are either white or Hispanic. Black and Asian Americans each make up roughly 3% of the U.S. Catholic population, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study.) Collectively, however, Catholics essentially balance themselves out at the polls on the national level.
Meanwhile, when it comes to a number of specific issues – including some on which Catholic teachings leave little room for doubt – Catholic partisans often express opinions that are much more in line with the positions of their political parties than with the teachings of their church.
Take abortion (which the Catholic Church opposes), for instance: Among Catholic Republicans and GOP leaners, 55% say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, identical to the share among all Republicans. At the same time, 64% of Catholic Democrats and Democratic leaners say abortion should be legal in all or most cases — slightly lower than the share for Democrats overall (76%). On balance, however, Catholic Democrats are more likely to favor legal abortion than to oppose it.
Partisan dynamics also are at work regarding views about climate change. Pope Francis has expressed a need to act on the issue, and like Pope Francis, eight-in-ten Catholic Democrats (along with 78% of Democrats overall) agree that the Earth is warming mostly because of human activity, such as burning fossil fuels. But just 22% of Catholic Republicans (and 24% of Republicans overall) say they believe the Earth is warming because of human activity.
Immigrants and children of immigrants account for at least 13% of all voting members of the newly sworn in 116th Congress. These lawmakers claim heritage in 37 countries – mostly in Europe, Latin America and Asia – and are overwhelmingly Democrats, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of members’ biographical information obtained from news articles, congressional offices and other sources.
There are 52 immigrants and children of immigrants serving in the House of Representatives and 16 serving in the Senate. Counting both chambers, 57 of the 68 lawmakers who are immigrants or children of immigrants are Democrats. Ten others are Republicans, and one – Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – is an independent.
November’s elections did not substantially change the share of immigrants and children of immigrants in Congress. In the last Congress, 12% of all voting members fell into this category, a slightly lower share than in the current Congress. While two immigrants and six children of immigrants from the 115th Congress are no longer serving, four of these members’ seats were filled by lawmakers who also are immigrants or children of immigrants.
A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that about half of Americans (53%) say most people in our society these days look up to men who are manly or masculine, with women more likely than men (62% vs. 43%) and Democrats more likely than Republicans (58% vs. 47%) to hold this view. About two-thirds of men who say society looks up to masculine men (68%) say this is a good thing; a narrower majority of women (56%) say the same. Views differ more widely along party lines: Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who say society values masculinity, 78% say this is a good thing, compared with 49% of their Democratic and Democratic-leaning counterparts.
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.