Most Americans are at least somewhat happy with their lives, but some have grappled with issues like loneliness and isolation, work-life balance and finding meaning and purpose. Over the years, Pew Research Center has conducted surveys in all these areas. Here are nine things we’ve learned from them about how Americans are coping with modern life:
1Most – but not all – Americans find some meaning in their job. In a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, 70% of U.S. adults said that their job or career provided them with at least some meaning, with a third (34%) saying they derived a great deal of meaning from their jobs, compared with the 29% whose jobs gave them little or no meaning. And when asked in a separate 2017 survey to describe in their own words what makes their lives feel meaningful, around a third of Americans (34%) mentioned their job or career. Those who did tended to be more satisfied with their lives than others, regardless of their education or income.
Black History Month, which is celebrated every year in February, honors the achievements of black Americans throughout history. It’s also a time to reflect on larger themes of identity and community. Findings from Pew Research Center surveys conducted in recent years show that most black adults feel that they are part of a broader black community in the United States and see their race as important to how they think of themselves.
About three-quarters of black adults say that being black is extremely (52%) or very (22%) important to how they think about themselves, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey. By comparison, about six-in-ten Hispanic (59%) and 56% of Asian adults say being Hispanic or Asian, respectively, is extremely or very important to their identity. Only 15% of white adults see race as a central piece of their identity. The share of black adults who say their race is central to their identity varies by age – adults younger than 30 deem race a less important part of their identity than do their older counterparts.
Roughly half of Americans (48%) say it is acceptable for DNA testing companies to share customers’ genetic data with law enforcement agencies to help solve crimes, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted June 3-17, 2019. Fewer – a third – say this is unacceptable, while 18% are unsure.
These findings come at a time when the use of at-home DNA testing kits has raised concerns about whether consumers understand and are comfortable with the use of their data by police. The Department of Justice recently announced guidelines allowing federal investigators to use data gathered by commercial DNA testing websites in criminal investigations.
Several mail-in DNA testing services such as AncestryDNA, 23andMe and MyHeritage market their products to Americans so they can trace their family history. This survey finds that 16% of Americans have ever used a mail-in DNA testing service like these. Read More →
President Donald Trump has added Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, to a list of countries whose residents face restrictions on travel into the United States. With the new policy set to take effect on Feb. 22, here are some fast facts about Nigeria and its immigrants in the U.S., based on previously published Pew Research Center studies.
Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world, with 206 million people. By 2100, it is projected to be the world’s third most populous country – ahead of the U.S. – with 733 million people, according to United Nations estimates. Nigeria is expected to add more people than any other country during that span.
As President Donald Trump gears up to deliver his 2020 State of the Union address, evaluations of his signature foreign policies generally are negative around the world, according to a new analysis of a spring 2019 Pew Research Center survey. Similar to the lack of confidence that many people outside the United States express in Trump’s performance as a world leader, respondents in many countries disapprove of his international policymaking.
Majorities in most of the 33 non-U.S. countries surveyed disapprove of the U.S. increasing tariffs on imported goods from other countries (median 68% disapproval), its withdrawal from international climate change agreements (66%), and its construction of a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico (60%). Trump’s position of allowing fewer immigrants into the U.S. and his administration’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal also are met with negativity: Across all countries surveyed, medians of 55% and 52%, respectively, disapprove of these steps.
The political views and primary candidate preferences of Democrats on Twitter differ from those who are not on the platform, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January.
The 29% of Democrats who use the platform are more liberal and less inclined to say the party should elect a candidate who seeks common ground with Republicans than are Democrats who are not on Twitter. They also express different preferences for who should be party’s 2020 nominee.
A 56% majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who use Twitter describe their political views as liberal or very liberal. This share is substantially larger than the 41% of non-Twitter Democrats who describe themselves in this way.
Differences between Democrats on and off Twitter extend beyond ideology. About two-thirds of Democrats who do not use Twitter (65%) say it is more important for a Democratic candidate to seek common ground with Republicans, even if it means giving up some things Democrats want. A smaller share of Twitter-using Democrats (54%) take this view; 45% prefer a candidate who will push hard for policies Democrats want, even if it makes it much harder to get some things done.
In addition to these attitudinal gaps, preferences for who should be the party’s 2020 nominee differ between those who are on Twitter and those who are not. Democrats on Twitter are 11 points less likely to name Joe Biden as their first choice for the nomination than Democrats who are not on Twitter. By contrast, candidates such as Elizabeth Warren (+8) and Bernie Sanders (+7) receive higher levels of support among Twitter-using Democrats than among those who are not Twitter users. For Biden and Warren, differences in support between Twitter users and non-users hold even after accounting for factors such as age, education and political ideology.
Sanders does particularly well among Democrats on Twitter who say they are not registered to vote or are unsure of their registration status: 40% in this group name Sanders as their first choice for the nomination. Similarly, Yang’s support among unregistered Democrats who use Twitter is 10 points higher than it is among those who don’t use the platform. Read More →
As Democratic presidential candidates campaign to win their party’s nomination, there is still some uncertainty about how voters from various religious groups will cast their ballots. When November rolls around, however, early indications are that preferences by religion will be familiar – and closely linked to each group’s party leanings.
On the whole, among registered voters who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, Protestants and Catholics are most likely to name Joe Biden as their first choice, according to a national survey Pew Research Center conducted in January.
Religiously unaffiliated Democrats lean more toward Bernie Sanders, with self-described atheists and agnostics especially more likely to name Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as their preferred choice. Read More →
After months of campaigning, debating, polling, fundraising and eating fried food, Democratic presidential candidates face their first real-world test on Feb. 3, when Iowa voters have their say in the state’s caucuses. Here’s a rundown of important things to know about Iowa and its first-in-the-nation vote.
What is a caucus, and how is it different from a primary?
While primaries are run much like general elections – lots of polling places, a secret ballot, many hours to vote – Iowa’s caucuses are more like neighborhood meetings. Starting at 7 p.m. in each of the state’s 1,678 voting precincts (and, new this year, 99 satellite locations in Iowa, around the country and overseas), Democratic voters will gather, debate issues and candidates with each other, and eventually cluster in “preference groups” to elect delegates to their county conventions. The precinct caucuses kick off a process which, several months from now, will result in 41 delegates being chosen to represent Iowa at the Democratic National Convention. The whole caucus process, which can take more than an hour, is nicely illustrated here.
Iowa’s Democratic caucuses are open only to registered party members, not unaffiliated voters or those registered as Republicans or with other parties. However, people can register or change their party affiliation on caucus night if they want to participate.
This year, Latinos are expected for the first time to be the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority in a U.S. presidential election, with a record 32 million projected to be eligible to vote. They will account for 13.3% of all eligible voters. However, the number of Latino eligible voters is still far below the 60 million Latinos who live in the country. (Explore our interactive maps and tables to see Latino eligible voters by state and congressional district.)
Latino eligible voters – U.S. citizens ages 18 and older – could play a larger role in this year’s Democratic Party primary season. A majority (56%) live in states that will hold Democratic primaries and caucuses on or before Super Tuesday (March 3), up from 29% in 2016. Nationally, 62% of Latino registered voters identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party while 34% say the same about the Republican Party.
How we did this
For this project, we examined the geographic distribution of Latino eligible voters across states and congressional districts. The term “eligible voters” refer to persons ages 18 and older who are U.S. citizens. The analysis is based on microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the 2000 U.S. decennial census, all provided through Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) from the University of Minnesota.
Here are five facts about the geography of Latino voters for the upcoming 2020 presidential election: Read More →
There is a growing need for high-skill workers in the American workplace, and this has helped to narrow gender disparities in the labor market, a new Pew Research Center report finds. Increasingly, U.S. employers are in pursuit of workers who are adept in social skills, like negotiation and persuasion, and who have a strong grounding in fundamental skills, such as critical thinking and writing. Jobs attaching greater importance to analytical skills, such as science and mathematics, are also adding workers at a brisk pace. Women have been in the forefront of meeting these challenges, and this has been to their benefit.
How we did this
The American workplace has seen a rising need for high-skill workers in recent decades. This report examines the impact of the changing landscape for job skills on gender disparities in the U.S. labor market.
The analysis is based on job skills and preparation data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET), specifically Version 23, released August 2018, and Version 5.1, released November 2003. O*NET analysts rate the importance of 35 skills related to job performance in individual occupations. For the purposes of this analysis, we grouped these into five major families of job skills: social, fundamental, analytical, managerial and mechanical. Occupations were then assigned to one of four skill tiers based on the importance rating of each of the five major skills, ranging from least important to most important.
Examples of occupations in which each of the five skills is most important, or is in greatest need, in 2018 are as follows: social skills – sales managers; fundamental skills – lawyers; analytical skills – physicists; managerial skills – chief executives; and mechanical skills – industrial machinery mechanics. Occupational employment and wage data are from the Current Population Survey (CPS). For more information about the analysis, see the methodology section of this report.
1Women are in the majority in jobs that draw most heavily on either social or fundamental skills. In 2018, women made up 52% of employment in jobs in which either social or fundamental skills are most important – such as legal, teaching and counseling occupations (up from roughly 40% in 1980). Women also greatly raised their share of employment in occupations in which analytical skills are of greatest importance – such as accounting and dentistry – from 27% in 1980 to 42% in 2018. The increase in the share of women in these high-skill occupations was much greater than the increase in their share of employment overall, from 43% in 1980 to 47% in 2018.
2The growing presence of women in higher-skill occupations helped to narrow the gender wage gap. As women surged into higher-skill occupations in recent decades, they experienced more rapid wage growth than men. A rising level of education among women was also a contributing factor. From 1980 to 2018, the average hourly wage of women increased 45%, from $15 to $22, compared with an increase of 14% for men, from $23 to $26 (wages expressed in 2018 dollars). Thus, the earnings of women as a ratio of the earnings of men increased from 0.67 to 0.85, a narrowing of the gender wage gap from 33 cents to the dollar in 1980 to 15 cents to the dollar in 2018. 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.
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