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Pew Research Center Analyzes Life in 2023
by
Posted On September 5, 2023
NewsBreaks often covers recent surveys and reports from Pew Research Center, “a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.” Its website has 12 main topic sections, each showcasing the latest research, which is collected in reports, fact sheets, or other formats that extrapolate respondents’ answers to cover the entire U.S. (or other) population. There is a summary page that includes the methodology for how the information was collected and a link to download and read the full report.

The following are some of the latest reports and other analyses from 2023. Not every topic section is represented; some reports overlap topics.

Here are NewsBreaks’ other roundups of Pew Research Center’s research: October 2017 | March 2018 October 2018 | March 2019 October 2019 | March 2020 | December 2020 | June 2021 | December 2021 | July 2022 | March 2023 January 2024

Politics & Policy

The Aug. 16 report, “For Most U.S. Gun Owners, Protection Is the Main Reason They Own a Gun,” reveals that 72% of U.S. gun owners have one for protection, and 88% of gun owners don’t worry about having one in their home. They are likely to say they feel safer owning a gun (81% of gun owners say this), although 71% of gun owners say they “enjoy” having a gun. When looking at the full U.S. population, 32% have a gun. Demographics of ownership haven’t changed much in recent years—residents of rural areas are more likely to own guns than those in the suburbs or urban areas, and Republicans and Republican-leaners are more likely than Democrats and Democrat-leaners to own a gun.

Another gun-related report, from June 28, is “Gun Violence Widely Viewed as a Major—and Growing—National Problem.” It finds that 62% of U.S. adults expect that the level of gun violence will increase over the next 5 years, 31% expect it to stay the same, and 7% say it will decrease. There is about a 50-50 split on gun ownership making us safer: 49% say owning guns increases safety by allowing people to protect themselves, and 49% say it reduces safety because it gives too many people access to guns and increases misuse. As for gun control, 58% say laws should be stricter, 26% say they are right as is, and 15% say they should be less strict. Policies with majorities of support are preventing mentally ill people from buying guns (88%), increasing the minimum purchase age to 21 (79%), banning high-capacity magazines (66%), and banning assault-style weapons (64%).

On June 21, “Inflation, Health Costs, Partisan Cooperation Among the Nation’s Top Problems” showed that the list of top problems facing the U.S. includes inflation (the top concern for 77% of Republicans), the affordability of healthcare, drug addiction, gun violence (the top concern for 81% of Democrats), and the ability of Republicans and Democrats to work together. Other problems discussed in the report include climate change (64% of Democrats and 14% of Republicans say it’s a big problem) and illegal immigration (70% of Republicans and 25% of Democrats say it’s a big problem).

International Affairs

The July 27 report, “China’s Approach to Foreign Policy Gets Largely Negative Reviews in 24-Country Survey,” notes that across 24 countries surveyed, a median of 67% of adults have “unfavorable views” of China, and 28% have favorable views. The criticisms of China include that it doesn’t contribute to global peace and stability (a median of 71% think this), it doesn’t take other countries into account in its foreign policy (76% think this), and it interferes in the affairs of other countries (57% think this).

The July 19 report, “Most Asian Americans View Their Ancestral Homelands Favorably, Except Chinese Americans,” features another angle on China: 52% of Asian American adults have unfavorable views of the country. Asian Americans tend to have favorable views of the U.S.—78% do, with 44% having “very” favorable views—as well as of Japan (68% favorable), South Korea (62%), and Taiwan (56%). Only 37% have favorable views of Vietnam and of the Philippines, and 33% have favorable views of India. Asian Americans typically have favorable views of their specific country of origin.

The U.S.A. is A-OK, says a report from June 27. “International Views of Biden and U.S. Largely Positive” shows that across 23 surveyed countries, 54% have confidence in the U.S. president. A median of 59% think favorably of the U.S., with about 70% feeling this way in Poland, Israel, South Korea, Nigeria, Japan, and Kenya. “Overwhelmingly, people believe the U.S. interferes in the affairs of other countries—a median of 82% say it does this a great deal or fair amount—but most also believe the U.S. contributes to peace and stability around the world,” the report’s summary notes.

Immigration & Migration

The May 23 analysis is “71% of Asian Restaurants in the U.S. Serve Chinese, Japanese or Thai Food,” which comes from data collected by the SafeGraph data company. It shows that 12% of all U.S. restaurants serve Asian food, and of those, about 70% serve just three countries’ cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food. Chinese food is the most common, at 39% of Asian restaurants. Each U.S. state has Chinese, Japanese, and Thai restaurants; 73% of all U.S. counties have at least one Asian restaurant. There are fewer Indian and Filipino restaurants, at 7% and 1% of all Asian restaurants, respectively.

On May 18, Pew Research Center published “5 Facts About Arabic Speakers in the U.S.” They are: 1) The number of Arabic speakers in the U.S. has increased dramatically since 1980, 2) Immigrants account for around two-thirds of those who speak Arabic at home in the U.S., 3) About half of all Arabic speakers in the U.S. (53%) live in just five states, 4) The Detroit region has the most Arabic speakers of any U.S. metro area, and 5) About two-thirds of Arabic speakers (66%) are proficient in English, up from 54% in 1980. 

The April 21 summary, “How Temporary Protected Status Has Expanded Under the Biden Administration,” shares that since the 2021 inauguration, the Biden administration has expanded the number of immigrants who are eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) because their home countries are unsafe to return to. This status gives them permission to live and work in the U.S. for a limited time. Now, about 670,000 people from 16 countries (Afghanistan, Cameroon, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen) are either currently registered for TPS or are eligible for it. “The Biden administration recently renewed TPS eligibility for over 280,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan. The administration also recently extended, designated or redesignated TPS protections for an estimated 135,000 eligible immigrants from Ethiopia, Haiti, Somalia and Yemen,” Pew Research Center states. These TPS protections are in place until at least June 2024.

Age & Generations

On May 22, Pew Research Center issued a statement on how it would cover generations going forward, saying the following:

Pew Research Center has been at the forefront of generational research over the years, telling the story of Millennials as they came of age politically and as they moved more firmly into adult life. In recent years, we’ve also been eager to learn about Gen Z as the leading edge of this generation moves into adulthood.

But generational research has become a crowded arena. The field has been flooded with content that’s often sold as research but is more like clickbait or marketing mythology. There’s also been a growing chorus of criticism about generational research and generational labels in particular.

After an assessment, Pew Research Center came up with the following best practices:

  • We’ll only do generational analysis when we have historical data that allows us to compare generations at similar stages of life. 
  • Even when we have historical data, we will attempt to control for other factors beyond age in making generational comparisons. 
  • When we can’t do generational analysis, we still see value in looking at differences by age and will do so where it makes sense. 
  • When we do have the data to study groups of similarly aged people over time, we won’t always default to using the standard generational definitions and labels.

On the same day, Pew Research Center published “5 Things to Keep in Mind When You Hear About Gen Z, Millennials, Boomers and Other Generations,” which notes the following considerations readers should keep in mind:

  1. Generational categories are not scientifically defined.
  2. Generational labels can lead to stereotypes and oversimplification.
  3. Discussions about generation often focus on differences instead of similarities.
  4. Conventional views of generations can carry an upper-class bias.
  5. People change over time.

The piece concludes, “Our recommendation is for readers to bring a healthy dose of skepticism to the generational discussions they see. Readers should also hold media and research organizations that focus on generations—including Pew Research Center—to a high standard.”

On May 23, “Young Adults in the U.S. Are Reaching Key Life Milestones Later Than in the Past” showed, “Adults who are 21 are less likely than their predecessors four decades ago to have reached five frequently cited milestones of adulthood: having a full-time job, being financially independent, living on their own, getting married and having a child. By the time they are 25, however, today’s young adults are somewhat closer to their predecessors in 1980 on two of these milestones: having a full-time job and financial independence.” Looking at 21-year-olds, as of 2021 (the year with the most recently available data), 39% were working full-time versus 64% in 1980. However, college enrollment has increased: 48% of 21-year-olds are in college versus 31% in 1980. In 1980, 32% of 21-year-olds were married, while in 2021, 6% were. For 25-year-olds, 66% worked full-time in 2021 versus 73% in 1980, and 22% were married in 2021 versus 63% in 1980.

The May 25 survey summary also looks at young adults: “Young Workers Express Lower Levels of Job Satisfaction Than Older Ones, but Most Are Content With Their Job.” It shows that U.S. workers ages 50–64 and ages 65 and older have positive assessments of their job, at 55% and 67%, respectively. However, 51% of workers ages 30–49 and 44% of workers ages 18–29 feel the same. “Still, young workers express general contentment with many aspects of work that the survey asked about, such as their relationships with colleagues and their daily assignments,” notes Pew Research Center. This survey only counts workers who are not self-employed.

The June 28 analysis, “A Record-High Share of 40-Year-Olds in the U.S. Have Never Been Married,” looks at Census Bureau data to show that as of 2021, 25% of 40-year-olds have never been married. In 1980, 6% of 40-year-olds had never been, and in 2010, 20% had never been. More men than women have never married by that age, and Black 40-year-olds are more likely than Hispanic, Asian, or white 40-year-olds to have never married. In 2022, 22% of these adults were living with a romantic partner. And 25% of these 40-year-olds were married by age 60 (as of 2001; that percentage may have changed by now).

Gender & LGBTQ

Almost 1 in 5 Stay-at-Home Parents in the U.S. Are Dads,” from Aug. 3, says that in 2021, 18% of U.S. parents were not employed for pay; 26% were mothers and 7% were fathers. Between 1989 and 2021, the share of stay-at-home mothers went down from 28% to 26%, and the share of stay-at-home fathers went up from 4% to 7%. The most common reasons given in 2021 were because they were taking care of the home or family (79% of mothers said this) or because they were ill or disabled (9% of mothers). The other reasons included that they were students, that they were unable to find work, or that they were retired. For fathers, 34% said in 2021 that staying at home was due to illness or disability, and 23% said they were taking care of the home or family. Fathers cited the same other reasons—they were retired (13%), they couldn’t find work (13%), or they were a student (8%).  

Staying with information about fathers, Pew Research Center released “Key Facts About Dads in the U.S.” on June 15. It aggregates data from various studies to reveal the following facts:

  1. Dads overwhelmingly view being a parent as an important aspect of their personal identity. …
  2. Most of dads’ time with their kids is spent playing or providing care. …
  3. The more children a couple has, the more likely the husband is to be the family breadwinner. …
  4. Most Americans say it’s best for children when their mom and dad both focus equally on work and taking care of their kids and home. …
  5. Fathers are more likely than mothers to feel judged by their spouse or partner for how they parent their children. …
  6. Dads place a high priority on their children becoming honest, ethical and hardworking adults. …

On June 13, “How People in 24 Countries View Same-Sex Marriage” analyzed a survey of 24 countries. “[S]upport for legal same-sex marriage is highest in Sweden, where 92% of adults favor it, and lowest in Nigeria, where only 2% back it,” the summary notes. In countries where it is legal, same-sex marriage has majorities of support, including in the U.S. (63% of adults support it), in Canada (79% do), and in Western Europe: 89% in the Netherlands do, 87% in Spain, 82% in France, 80% in Germany, and 73% in the U.K. It is not legal in Italy, but 74% of adults support it. In Eastern Europe, 41% of adults in Poland support it, and 31% of adults in Hungary do; it’s not legal in either country. It’s legal in Mexico, where 63% of adults support it. As for South America, 67% in Argentina do, and 52% in Brazil do; same-sex marriage is legal in both countries. Here’s how it breaks down in the Asia-Pacific region: 75% in Australia (legal) and 74% in Japan (not legal) support same-sex marriage, and 53% in India are supportive (legality is currently being decided by India’s Supreme Court). In South Korea, 40% support it, and in Indonesia, 5% support it. As for Africa, it’s only legal in South Africa, where it’s opposed by 58%. In Kenya, support is at 9%. The last country noted is Israel, where 56% are opposed to same-sex marriage.

Family & Relationships

On July 7, “About Half of U.S. Pet Owners Say Their Pets Are as Much a Part of Their Family as a Human Member” reported that 62% of Americans own a pet, and 35% have more than one. The survey shows that 97% of U.S. pet owners think of their pets as “part of their family,” and 51% of pet owners say their pets “are as much a part of their family as a human member.” Pew Research Center notes that the percentage of pet owners who see their pets as family members equivalent to humans “doesn’t vary notably by age, race or ethnicity.” The noted differences are that 57% of women say pets are family members versus 43% of men, 64% of families with low incomes say this versus 46% of middle-income and 43% of high-income families, and 61% of urban dwellers say this versus 50% of rural dwellers and 47% of people in the suburbs. “Unmarried pet owners and those who do not have children younger than 18 at home are the most likely to consider their pets to be as much a part of their family as a human member,” Pew Research Center states. The difference between dog and cat owners is narrow—53% of dog owners say this, compared to 48% of cat owners.

Economy & Work

The survey result from Aug. 10, “More Than 4 in 10 U.S. Workers Don’t Take All Their Paid Time Off,” shows that 46% of U.S. workers who receive paid time off (for vacation, minor illnesses, doctor’s appointments, etc.) take less time than they are offered. This is especially true for upper-income workers (51% take less time), while 45% of middle-income and 41% of lower-income workers say this. Those with a bachelor’s or higher degree take less time off than those with less education—51% and 41%, respectively. Two more comparisons: 52% of salaried workers take less time than they’re allotted versus 39% of hourly workers, and 54% of managers say this versus 42% of nonmanagers. The reasons the survey respondents gave for not taking all of their time off are “they don’t feel they need to take more” (52% say this), “they’d worry about falling behind at work” (49%), and “they’d feel badly about their co-workers taking on additional work” (43%).

The Aug. 2 analysis is “Majority of Americans Prefer a Community With Big Houses, Even If Local Amenities Are Farther Away.” It states that 57% of U.S. adults would prefer to live somewhere with houses that “are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores and restaurants are several miles away” as opposed to a town with smaller houses, but schools, stores, and restaurants are within walking distance. Republican and Republican-leaners tend to want larger and farther-apart houses (72% versus 43% of Democrats and Democrat-leaners). Adults ages 30 and older also prefer larger and farther-apart houses (61% of ages 30–49 and 63% of ages 50–64), as well as adults with some college experience or less education (61% versus 53% of those with a bachelor’s degree and 45% of those with a postgraduate degree).

About a Third of U.S. Workers Who Can Work From Home Now Do So All the Time,” from March 30, shows that 35% of workers who have jobs that can be done remotely work from home every day. “This is down from 43% in January 2022 and 55% in October 2020—but up from only 7% before the pandemic,” Pew Research Center notes. And 41% of people with jobs they can do from home have a hybrid schedule, i.e., “working from home some days and from the office, workplace or job site other days,” up from 35% in January 2022. For hybrid workers, 63% say their employer requires them to work in person a certain number of days per week or per month; 59% work from home 3 or more days a week, and 41% work from home 2 days or fewer. If they had a choice, 34% of people who work from home most of the time would do it all of the time. Pew Research Center finds that 61% of U.S. workers have jobs they aren’t able to do from home.

Science

The Aug. 18 analysis, “Growing Share of Americans Favor More Nuclear Power,” reveals that 57% of U.S. adults “favor more nuclear power plants to generate electricity,” up from 43% in 2020. But solar power and wind power are more popular sources, with 82% and 75% favoring each, respectively. “All three energy sources emit no carbon,” Pew Research Center notes. Nuclear power expansion is popular with both Democrats and Republicans: 50% of Democrats and Democrat-leaners favor it, along with 67% of Republicans and Republican-leaners.

Why Some Americans Do Not See Urgency on Climate Change,” the report from Aug. 9, has the results of interviews with 32 U.S. adults “who see less urgency to address climate change … including some who do not believe there’s evidence that the Earth is warming.” Pew Research Center explains, “Unlike much of our work on climate change, these interviews are not representative of all U.S. adults; rather, they are designed to provide deeper insight into the motivations and views of those most skeptical about climate change.” The following are some of the insights gleaned from the interviewees:

  • Climate change is seen as part of Earth’s natural cycles and humans play a small role.
  • Climate scientists are valued for their expertise, but also seen as potentially having an agenda; media outlets are not trusted sources of climate information.
  • Government’s role is to help protect the environment without restricting individual freedoms.
  • The role of ordinary citizens is to recycle and not be wasteful.

On July 20, Pew Research Center looked at attitudes toward space exploration in “Americans’ Views of Space: U.S. Role, NASA Priorities and Impact of Private Companies.” This report shows that about 70% of U.S. adults say it is essential for the country to continue to be a world leader in space. Majorities of both parties think this. NASA remains a critical component of this strategy, with 65% saying it should continue to be involved in space exploration. As for space tourism, 55% of U.S. adults think people will routinely travel in space in the next 50 years, although only 35% would want to orbit Earth in a spacecraft. “In 2019, the U.S. established Space Force as a separate branch of the military,” Pew Research Center says, and “44% think the U.S. will definitely or probably fight against other nations in space in the next 50 years.” Although 65% of American believe there is intelligent life on other planets, 58% don’t think we’ll discover it in the next 50 years.

Internet & Technology

What Americans Know About AI, Cybersecurity and Big Tech,” from Aug. 17, is the result of nine questions on digital knowledge asked of about 5,000 U.S. adults. They answered a median of five correctly; topics included cybersecurity practices, major technology companies, AI, and federal online privacy laws. For cybersecurity practices, 87% could correctly identify which of a list of four passwords was most secure, 67% knew that the purpose of cookies is to track visits and activity on a site, and 48% could correctly identify an example of two-factor authentication from a series of pictures. For major technology companies, 80% knew Elon Musk runs Tesla and, at the time, Twitter; 77% knew Facebook changed its company name to Meta. For AI, 42% knew that a deepfake is a seemingly real but actually fake image, video, or audio; 32% knew that large language models such as ChatGPT “produce answers based on word patterns and relationships they previously learned from text pulled from the internet.” For federal online privacy laws, 23% knew that the U.S. does not have a national privacy law setting “common standards for what companies can do with all of the data their products and services collect”; 21% knew that websites in the U.S. are prohibited from collecting personal data from minors younger than 13.

News Habits & Media

The report from June 15 is “A Profile of the Top-Ranked Podcasts in the U.S.” It looks at 451 of the top-ranked podcasts in the U.S. and finds that there isn’t a single topic that is the main focus of more than a quarter of the list. True crime makes up 24% of the top-ranked podcasts, with the next-most-common topics politics and government (10%); entertainment, pop culture, and the arts (9%); and self-help and relationships (8%). And 12% of podcasts don’t fit into any of those topics—including fictional radio stories and teams playing Dungeons & Dragons—while 20% discuss multiple topics, many in a talk show format.


Brandi Scardilli is the editor of NewsBreaks and Information Today.

Email Brandi Scardilli

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